The fundamental ways to improve leadership skills is his or her ability to influence people in their thoughts, words and actions. A leader specifically rallies support through the art of persuasion. The leader’s persuasive power inspires people to action towards the chosen ideas, goals and objectives.
Best Ways to improve leadership skills
There are three ways to improve leadership skills are:
- Inner Work (appeal to one’s credibility)
- Clarity of perception and expression (appeal to the intellect)
- The heart-to-heart connection (appeal to the emotions)
These are the best ways to improve leadership skills.
Inner work is one of the best ways to improve leadership skills, the power that comes from personal ethics and the pursuit of excellence. Inner work provides credibility to the leader and creates an aura of powerful presence. A simple high school science experiment of bringing a magnet towards iron filings demonstrate the power of presence: the mere presence of the magnet organizes the iron filings in perfect order.
In a similar manner, the mere presence of a leader invokes respect and inspiration. How does one cultivate this Inner work? This is possible through a strong foundation of ethical principles which is manifested as excellence in action.
Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’, conveys a profound truth: the first step in leading others is to lead oneself.
The words of one who has cultivated Inner work carry enormous weight. They have the power to deeply influence people. We behold the wisdom of such men and women with great respect and reverence; we see the beauty in them and in their work.
What they think, say and do are in perfect harmony. Others trust the words and actions of the leader once the credibility is firmly established.
In the jargon of modern management, one can say that Inner work builds personal branding. How others perceive us determines how much they respect our words. Whatever a great person does, others emulate; the great ones set the standards that others follow. The first step in leadership is, therefore, self-transformation, which is just another name for self-leadership. If we are unable to lead oneself, what hope is there to lead another?
There are three elements of self-Leadership.
- Mental equilibrium
A focused, one-pointed mind mobilizes all our mental energies into the singular task at hand. Just as water flows faster and with more force when directed into a narrow funnel, the flow of awareness gains enormous power when it is focused.
A tranquil, meditative mind conserves precious mental energy that otherwise is dissipated in the turbulent, unnecessary flow of thoughts. A tranquil mind, therefore, has access to a higher quality of thoughts that can bring creative solutions to the problems we imagine we face. Higher-quality thoughts can also be intuitive and brilliant insights can be the seeds for the next groundbreaking idea that changes the world.
Mental equipoise helps us remain centred amidst disharmony or even chaos in the surroundings.
When the mind is concurrently focused, tranquil and in equilibrium at the same instant of time, this powerful state of self-leadership.
Inner work is simply a powerful blend of ethics and excellence. When we live by these ideals, we have the potential to be shining role models and to inspire others.
Clarity of perception and expression
Clarity of perception and expression is the logical organization of goals and ideas, which provides clarity in communication. To communicate clearly, the necessary prerequisite is clarity in one’s own mind.
The heart-to-heart connection
The heart-to-heart connection is the ability to connect with others using empathy. This helps the leader to connect with people, touch their hearts and inspire them.
Clearly, one who is passionate and inspired to do their work is a thousand times more effective than one who does the work just mechanically. An enunciate systematic methods to cultivate this power of the heart-to-heart connection using four different ways to connect with people:
Clarity of perception and expression is the appeal to logic. Clarity of perception and expression builds upon the cogent, coherent and clear flow of ideas that convince the intellect. Before articulating these ideas to others, a leader must convince himself or herself first.
The leader invokes the tremendous power of the intellect. He or she is able to use this power to prove the truth of their ideas and convince others of the same. The leader also builds the necessary skills to articulate the ideas in an eloquent manner. This is the power of clarity of perception and expression; one can think of clarity of perception and expression as a dispassionate way to establish the rightness of an idea, much like a mathematician who establishes the validity of a theorem by supplying a proof.
The heart-to-heart connection
Although the clarity of perception and expression is dispassionate and appeals to the intellect, the heart-to-heart connection ignites the passion by connecting with the heart. As every politician and salesman knows, convincing the intellect alone is inadequate. Unless we touch the other’s heart, we cannot win their full support. A leader provides a space of harmony in which others are made to feel valued and appreciated.
The first step towards connecting with people at this deeper level is to respect them. To respecting another is achieved by acknowledging and honouring the divine presence in them. When we acknowledge this divine presence in another, we elevate them in our eyes, we see them as precious beings that they are.
We value them. They are not mere roll numbers or mere human resources to get some work done. Furthermore, a leader does not see another being as inferior. Each one is a divine being who is respected and appreciated, and their contribution is valued.
It is easy to respect and appreciate the divinity in others who are happy and doing good work. But what about those who are experiencing misery? Or those who make mistakes? In order to see the divine presence in them, we need to change the way we behold them in our eyes.
People into four types. I suggest four different ways to connect with them, depending on which type they belong to. The four types of people are:
1. Those who are happy,
2. Those who are sad,
3. Those who are doing good work, and
4. Those who commit mistakes.
Towards the first category of people, that is, who are happy, I suggest connecting with them through friendliness. If we are not careful, an opposite emotion, perhaps jealousy, may surface. However, jealousy disempowers us, and from this weakened position, we cannot see the divine in the other. By offering friendliness, we too become happy because we are joyful to see our friend in a happy place. From this happy place, we see everything as beautiful and divine.
For the second category, the people—those who are sad—I suggest compassion to connect with them, as friendship alone is inadequate. This is because we become sad when we see a friend in dis- tress. From a sad state of mind, we do not have the mental strength to help them overcome their misery.
Therefore, I recommend compassion toward those who are suffering. Compassion helps us to be sensitive to their condition without being affected by negative energy. As a compassionate person, we assist them in finding relief. We do not judge them or condemn them for being in a negative place (or how they got there). We simply offer a helping hand, to pull them out of their predicament.
For the third category of people, those who are doing good work, I suggest appreciation. If we are not careful, the ego may sneak up and assert itself by way of faultfinding. By appreciating them, not only do we encourage them in their good work, we allow ourselves to see the beauty in their work.
For the fourth category of people, those who are involved in committing mistakes, I suggest forgiveness, which is a way to look past their mistakes. In other words, I recommend that we do not focus on their mistakes and flaws but shine the spotlight instead on their hidden potential.
A leader sees in others what they cannot yet see in themselves. A leader helps awaken and unleash the full potential that lies dormant in them. Using these four ways to connect for the four types of people, as enunciated, the leader always remains connected with others and evokes their full potential.
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