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Hot Topic: 1. October
During the month of October, Projectmanagement.com will focus on Leadership. This is a really important topic for me and one that I'm really interested in hearing the voice of the community. My question to you all is:

What are the skills that make a good leader? Are you a born leader? or is it something that you need to learn?

I think that there are people who are better suited to leadership roles but the skills can be learned by anyone if they are willing to learn and adjust their behaviour.

I'd also like to know: what makes a bad leader? What examples do you have about bad leaders?
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A good leader has an orientation to service, knowledge to guide, and a large list of soft skills like active listening, conflict resolution, and adaptation to change. I think a leader may acquire skills from an early age, within the family environment. Personality is formed in our firsts years. An adult that hasn't been a leader can learn these abilities if he is willing to.
I think the first thing that makes a bad leader is selfishness and center in oneself.
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1 reply by Emily Luijbregts
Oct 02, 2020 4:25 AM
Emily Luijbregts
...
That's a great opinion and I agree with your attributes towards a good leader.
Emily,

important topic. Many sources and views exist on it.

PMI is no specialist in it though, yet, and I do not think the new term of power skills is worthwhile. Big companies have leadership curricula, Toastmasters has a certificate, the industry of leadership development is hugh. Read HBR, I guess 1/3 of it is about leadership.

To your question:
Leadership capability grows by learning skills and experiencing life. You might have features you were born with that help (e.g. if you develop a deep voice and grow above 2 meter heigh), but socialization has a major impact on you being a leader. It starts with hearing your mothers voice, going to kindergarden, being in school and attending sports groups. As a toddler you learned to influence your parents by crying when you had a problem.

Most if not all humans are leaders, like parents, teachers, sports team coaches, volunteers. I think everyone is a leader, as everyone is part of many communities which socialize you. Some great, some mediocre, some bad.

For me a good leader is an ethical leader, driven and stabilized by human values like honesty, respect, fairness, humility and others. With that she/he will develop emotional intelligence, gain trust, and get better in controlling their own unconsciousness (gut decisions) and emotions and succeeds in influencing others.

A bad leader is the one who lacks these values, therefor lacks empathy and influences by bullying and using force from power. Power corrupts, as we can observe daily.
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1 reply by Emily Luijbregts
Oct 02, 2020 4:26 AM
Emily Luijbregts
...
Thomas - once again, you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for taking the time to post. I didn't think of the fact that: "Most if not all humans are leaders" and that the power of influencing starts at infancy.

I do agree that Power does and can corrupt.
This is such a vast field... Here's my 2 cents..
A leader someone whose dynamic nature permits him to adapt and lead in any condition to attain set goals ...
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1 reply by Emily Luijbregts
Oct 02, 2020 4:27 AM
Emily Luijbregts
...
It really is :) Do you think these habits are taught? or are they ingrained in an individuals personality?
Oct 01, 2020 1:23 PM
Replying to Verónica Elizabeth Pozo Ruiz
...
A good leader has an orientation to service, knowledge to guide, and a large list of soft skills like active listening, conflict resolution, and adaptation to change. I think a leader may acquire skills from an early age, within the family environment. Personality is formed in our firsts years. An adult that hasn't been a leader can learn these abilities if he is willing to.
I think the first thing that makes a bad leader is selfishness and center in oneself.
That's a great opinion and I agree with your attributes towards a good leader.
Oct 01, 2020 1:50 PM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
Emily,

important topic. Many sources and views exist on it.

PMI is no specialist in it though, yet, and I do not think the new term of power skills is worthwhile. Big companies have leadership curricula, Toastmasters has a certificate, the industry of leadership development is hugh. Read HBR, I guess 1/3 of it is about leadership.

To your question:
Leadership capability grows by learning skills and experiencing life. You might have features you were born with that help (e.g. if you develop a deep voice and grow above 2 meter heigh), but socialization has a major impact on you being a leader. It starts with hearing your mothers voice, going to kindergarden, being in school and attending sports groups. As a toddler you learned to influence your parents by crying when you had a problem.

Most if not all humans are leaders, like parents, teachers, sports team coaches, volunteers. I think everyone is a leader, as everyone is part of many communities which socialize you. Some great, some mediocre, some bad.

For me a good leader is an ethical leader, driven and stabilized by human values like honesty, respect, fairness, humility and others. With that she/he will develop emotional intelligence, gain trust, and get better in controlling their own unconsciousness (gut decisions) and emotions and succeeds in influencing others.

A bad leader is the one who lacks these values, therefor lacks empathy and influences by bullying and using force from power. Power corrupts, as we can observe daily.
Thomas - once again, you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for taking the time to post. I didn't think of the fact that: "Most if not all humans are leaders" and that the power of influencing starts at infancy.

I do agree that Power does and can corrupt.
Oct 01, 2020 5:13 PM
Replying to KWIYUH MICHAEL WEPNGONG
...
This is such a vast field... Here's my 2 cents..
A leader someone whose dynamic nature permits him to adapt and lead in any condition to attain set goals ...
It really is :) Do you think these habits are taught? or are they ingrained in an individuals personality?
I think a firm example of a bad leader is a person who does not help their team grow or value their strengths, skills, determination etc.

I am for example usually intrinsically motivated and can work without much oversight. This means I do not necessarily require anyone to praise me every day or check up on me. However what often happens because of this is that people start to take this for granted as if it is a given that I will do a 100% at all times. Therefore they will just start giving me additional work to do, with claims I do it better than others, without actually following this up with any bonus/promotion/pay rise etc, because I am here and there is no need to support me as I'll always be there and am happy to help.

I think often companies lose their best people because they see a hardworker and they do not think to help them grow and advance, but rather keep them in one place and undervalue them. A good leader should recognise the strength in their people and find ways to motivate and help them achieve their goals. I do not believe in many cases that people actually hate their work, however they can grow resentful if they feel they are stuck or not recognised. We want more challenges, advancement, appraisals, monetary compensation and non-monetary benefits as well.

Hard work is not something that is implied in a workplace. It is on the leader to motivate their people to succeed and contribute. Whenever someone is complaining about high staff turnover rates you only need to look at the management style to see why this might be happening.

I think with leadership looked at this way, you can see a two-fold approach to developing this skill. Firstly, a person has to be happy with themselves and their own achievements and be comfortable to trust people in their growth. If you cannot trust people around you then you will of course not want to give them access to challenging projects, let them work with big clients on their own, tell them about the company's success or failures at times (instead springing last minute major changes on them), or help them advance their skills through additional training/certifications etc. Furthermore, the leader has to have hopefully in recent years, worked as an actual employee. Some people have worked in family owned businesses or been their own bosses so to speak for so many years that they simply forget what it is like to be an employee. You expect people to have the same level of motivation as yourself while you are motivated by the company achieving and employees are motivated by their own achievements. We are not selfish beings but also we have no reason to be motivated if there is nothing in it for us.

I also think leadership can be in part taught. The trap that often happens is promoting people to leadership positions with no previous training in business/leadership/management and expecting them to know what to do (e.g. engineer gets promoted to oversee production). If people are provided with the right training to understand the nuances of leadership and given the tools to best resolve conflict, manage and motivate others, adequately communicate etc, I believe they can improve on their leadership capabilities. Facilitated workshops and coaching can also be a good start.
...
1 reply by Emily Luijbregts
Oct 02, 2020 4:58 AM
Emily Luijbregts
...
Thank you Tamara. That's incredibly thought provoking. I agree with your comment about losing great team members by undervaluing them. I also agree with your comments around how you can learn to be a leader (through coaching/workshops). This is often missed or underrated.
Oct 02, 2020 4:42 AM
Replying to Tamara Tankosic
...
I think a firm example of a bad leader is a person who does not help their team grow or value their strengths, skills, determination etc.

I am for example usually intrinsically motivated and can work without much oversight. This means I do not necessarily require anyone to praise me every day or check up on me. However what often happens because of this is that people start to take this for granted as if it is a given that I will do a 100% at all times. Therefore they will just start giving me additional work to do, with claims I do it better than others, without actually following this up with any bonus/promotion/pay rise etc, because I am here and there is no need to support me as I'll always be there and am happy to help.

I think often companies lose their best people because they see a hardworker and they do not think to help them grow and advance, but rather keep them in one place and undervalue them. A good leader should recognise the strength in their people and find ways to motivate and help them achieve their goals. I do not believe in many cases that people actually hate their work, however they can grow resentful if they feel they are stuck or not recognised. We want more challenges, advancement, appraisals, monetary compensation and non-monetary benefits as well.

Hard work is not something that is implied in a workplace. It is on the leader to motivate their people to succeed and contribute. Whenever someone is complaining about high staff turnover rates you only need to look at the management style to see why this might be happening.

I think with leadership looked at this way, you can see a two-fold approach to developing this skill. Firstly, a person has to be happy with themselves and their own achievements and be comfortable to trust people in their growth. If you cannot trust people around you then you will of course not want to give them access to challenging projects, let them work with big clients on their own, tell them about the company's success or failures at times (instead springing last minute major changes on them), or help them advance their skills through additional training/certifications etc. Furthermore, the leader has to have hopefully in recent years, worked as an actual employee. Some people have worked in family owned businesses or been their own bosses so to speak for so many years that they simply forget what it is like to be an employee. You expect people to have the same level of motivation as yourself while you are motivated by the company achieving and employees are motivated by their own achievements. We are not selfish beings but also we have no reason to be motivated if there is nothing in it for us.

I also think leadership can be in part taught. The trap that often happens is promoting people to leadership positions with no previous training in business/leadership/management and expecting them to know what to do (e.g. engineer gets promoted to oversee production). If people are provided with the right training to understand the nuances of leadership and given the tools to best resolve conflict, manage and motivate others, adequately communicate etc, I believe they can improve on their leadership capabilities. Facilitated workshops and coaching can also be a good start.
Thank you Tamara. That's incredibly thought provoking. I agree with your comment about losing great team members by undervaluing them. I also agree with your comments around how you can learn to be a leader (through coaching/workshops). This is often missed or underrated.
Well, that is a good topic. People shared good points here.
The definition of what leadership is varies greatly.
Approaches to the theme vary according to schools and / or authors
Perhaps it was important to clarify this point
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