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How to Enable the Future: 5 Leadership Skills You Need

“Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.”

 

How to Enable the Future: 5 Leadership Skills You Need
“Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer and aviator who is best known for his novella The Little Prince.

This quote is all about the essence of what leadership is: not predicting what will happen, but conditioning the circumstances for it to happen.

Although leadership is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that can be defined in many ways, the main thing it involves is influencing others and working together to achieve a common goal.

Leaders are not always born with leadership traits or characters. Rather, they are made to learn and trained to be so through disciplined hard work,  practice and feedback.

Now the question is; what are the skills that make a good leader? And how can you practice them to enable the future for yourself and others?

Here we will discuss 5 leadership skills essential for creating a positive impact in the world which are;

    • Vision
    • Communication
    • Collaboration
    • Adaptability
    • Empathy

Let’s look at each of these skills in more detail and see how you can improve them.

1. Vision: The Ability to See the Big Picture

The ability to see the big picture and have a clear sense of direction and purpose from the beginning is vision.

Vision is important for leaders to set goals, align actions, and influence the greater mass as well as to anticipate challenges and opportunities, and to create strategies to overcome them.

To develop your vision, one needs to:

Think Long-Term:

For long term thinking, don’t get bogged down by the details and the daily tasks. Instead;

    • Think about where you want to be in the future and what you want to achieve.
    • What is your mission and your vision?
    • What are your values and your principles?
    • How do you want to make a difference in the world?

Do Your Research:

Get information and data that can be useful to understand the current situation and the trends that are shaping the future. For instances;

    • What are the needs and the problems of your target people?
    • What are the best practices and the innovations in your field?
    • What are the threats and the opportunities that you face?

Be Creative:

Always use your imagination and intuition to generate new ideas and solutions. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and to think outside the box – What are the possibilities and the alternatives that you can explore? How can you create value and make an impact?

Share Your Vision:

Sharing your vision with others is an excellent way to expand your network and connect with people of similar interest, goal and or values as well as to learn from their experience and insights.

Share your ideas with others in a clear and compelling way. Collaboration and insights is the key foundation during the process. Use stories, metaphors, and visuals to convey your message. Explain why your vision is important and how it will be beneficial for  everyone. Listen to others, invite feedback and input from them to refine and improve your vision.

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2. Communication: The Ability to Express Yourself and Listen to Others

Communication is the skill that helps leaders to convey their ideas, opinions, and emotions, and to understand those of others as well as to build trust, rapport, and influence their followers, peers, and stakeholders.

To improve your communication, and make it reach out to many, you need to:

Know Your Audience type, category and their interest:

Tailor your communication style and content to suit the needs and preferences of your audience. Who are you talking to and what do they want to hear? What is their level of knowledge and interest in your topic? What is their language and culture?

Communication should Be Clear and Concise:

Always use simple and direct language to convey your message instead of using jargon, ambiguous, or double meaning words. Organize your thoughts and structure your communication in a logical and coherent way. Use examples, evidence, and data to support your points.

Be Engaging and Persuasive:

Use your voice, body language, and eye contact to capture and maintain the attention of your audience. Use emotions, humor, and stories to connect and relate with your audience. Use questions, arguments, and calls to action to persuade and motivate your audience.

Be Respectful and Empathetic:

Listen actively and attentively to what others are saying and show that you care. Acknowledge and validate their feelings and perspectives. Ask open-ended questions and paraphrase to clarify and confirm your understanding. Provide constructive feedback and appreciation.

3. Collaboration: The Ability to Work with Others

Collaboration is the ability which allows leaders to leverage the diversity, creativity, and expertise of their team members and partners as well as in culture of learning, innovation, and accountability.

For effective collaboration;

Build Relationships:

Concentrate on establishing and maintaining positive and productive relationships with your team members and partners. It is also important to express interest and curiosity in them and their work as well as to share your expectations and goals and align them with theirs. Recognize and appreciate their contributions and achievements.

Create a Shared Vision:

To involve your team members and partners in the process of creating a shared vision and a common purpose, solicit their ideas, opinions, and feedback and integrate them into yours. Communicate your vision clearly more often and show how it aligns with their interests and values.

Delegate and empower:

For delegation and empowerment of team members, assign tasks and responsibilities according to their strengths, skills, and preferences. Provide them with required resources, support, and autonomy they need to perform their tasks. Encourage them to take initiative and make decisions. Trust them and hold them accountable for their results.

Resolve Conflicts:

Address and manage conflicts that arise among your team members and partners in a constructive and respectful way. Identify the root causes and the interests of the parties involved. Facilitate dialogue and negotiation to find mutually acceptable solutions. Focus on the issues and not the personalities.

4. Adaptability: The Ability to Adjust to Change

Adaptability is one of the essential traits which helps leaders to cope with the challenges and opportunities that arise in a dynamic and complex environment.

It also helps leaders to learn from their experiences and to improve their performance.

To increase your adaptability, you need to:

Be Flexible and Open-Minded:

Be willing and able to change your plans, actions, and behaviors according to the changing circumstances and demands. Don’t be rigid or attached to your assumptions and preferences. Be open to new ideas, perspectives, and opportunities.

Be Proactive and Resilient:

Anticipate and prepare for the potential changes and risks that you may face. Take action to prevent or minimize the negative impacts and to maximize the positive outcomes. Recover and bounce back from the setbacks and failures that you encounter.

Be Curious and Experimental:

Seek and embrace new information, knowledge, and skills that can help you adapt and grow. Try new things and test new approaches and methods. Learn from your successes and failures and apply your learnings to future situations.

Be Reflective and Feedback-Seeking:

Evaluate and monitor your actions and results and compare them with your goals and expectations. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. Seek and accept feedback from others and use it to improve your performance.

5. Empathy: The Ability to Understand and Share the Feelings of Others

Empathy is the ability which helps leaders to connect and relate with their followers, peers, and stakeholders.

Empathy also aids leaders to motivate, influence, and support others.

To cultivate your empathy, you need to:

Be Attentive and Observant:

Pay attention and observe the verbal and non-verbal cues of others, such as their words, tone, facial expressions, and body language. Notice their emotions, moods, and attitudes and how they change in different situations.

Be Inquisitive and Perspective-Taking:

Ask questions and listen to the stories, experiences, and opinions of others. Try to see the world from their point of view and understand their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Imagine yourself in their shoes and how you would feel and act.

Be Compassionate and Supportive:

Show that you care and that you are concerned about the well-being of others. Express your sympathy and empathy for their problems and challenges. Offer your help and assistance and provide them with the resources, guidance, and encouragement they need.

Be Respectful and Appreciative:

Respect and value the diversity, uniqueness, and dignity of others. Appreciate and celebrate their strengths, talents, and achievements. Recognize and acknowledge their contributions and efforts.

Conclusion: Enabling the Future Starts with You

Leadership is not a gift or a privilege that only a few possess, but a skill and a responsibility that anyone can learn and practice. Leadership is not about predicting the future, but about creating the future.

By developing and applying the 5 leadership skills discussed in this article, you can enable the future for yourself and others.

The future is not something that happens to you, but something that you make happen. The future is not a destination, but a journey. The future is not a challenge, but an opportunity.

What kind of future do you want to enable? What kind of leader do you want to be? And are you ready for that?

 

*****

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