~by Haley Lynn Gray~
As I work with my oldest daughter on completing her Girl Scout Gold Award which is the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts, I’ve been learning a lot about leadership. I see the same patterns with my younger daughter on her Silver Award, and with my boys on their activities. In short, I’m coming to the conclusion that leaders aren’t born that way. Leaders are grown, nurtured and brought up to be leaders. They may have raw drive, but the skills are something that have to be learned. The skills that they’ve developed are not innate, and have required teaching to get there. There are a lot of skills that have to be taught to leaders.
What Skills Have to Be Taught to Leaders?
- Written Communication. The most critical skill is communication, which can be subdivided out into different sub-parts. First is written communication. Unless people are on the same page, and are moving in the same direction, you have nothing. No leadership, nothing. With my oldest, the first lesson was that she needed to respond to every email from an adviser. That meant that every time someone sent her information, she needed to simply respond with a “Got It.” message. For every question, the question needed to either be answered quickly or a response saying when she’d get around to it. That also meant that for texts, she needed to respond appropriately as well, keeping in mind that her intended recipient might not be of the same generation, and that she had to spell things out. As a sub-note, thank you notes are greatly appreciated when others do things for you. Whether they are written on pretty cards, or a letter, or an email. They need to be written.
- Phone Communication. Answer your phone. Be polite. Learn to call people and be intelligible on the phone. Return calls. “May I please speak to Mrs. X”. These skills are invaluable. Being able to call someone and get the information you need is not trivially easy, and it takes time to learn. Being able to call a contractor and get him to show up to the job site and make good on a promise is great practice for influencing people to to do their jobs in life.
- Organizational Skills. This one has been a toughie. Keeping track of who is doing what, and where they are in the project is a requirement. Staying on top of them is a learned skill.
- Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills. I’m finding that people have to be taught to use their heads to come up with solutions and to solve problems. Too often, it’s easier to search the internet for an answer. The trick to being a leader is thinking of innovative solutions and using your resources around you wisely.
- Persistence. Some people have it and some don’t. I’ve found that it’s necessary to teach people to stay on top of things and to keep closing the loop to prevent things from escaping and getting away. It can be very difficult to keep closing that loop over and over again. It can seem very elementary. But that persistence and continuing to chip away at a problem will ensure that it will eventually be resolved.
I think that leadership is something that is taught. Sure, leadership is about influencing others to follow you. Without followers, there are no leaders. So how do we manage to develop those skills? Through practice, patience and persistence. Communication and Organizing, Problem Solving, and Being Persistent will all get you there.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
Connect with Haley:
- Work with Haley: http://leadershipgirl.com/work-with-haley/
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Leadershipgirl
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haleygray