An article from American Family Insurance recently crossed my path. One of the questions asked early in the article is, “what skills do you need to be a good leader?”
Ten are mentioned in the article, with all being quite good. They are as follows:
3. Trust and Respect
5. Motivation and Passion
7. Give and Receive Feedback
Correctly, the article mentions that none can be learned overnight.
I would add that the definition of workplace can and should include the classroom for teachers, the courtroom for those involved in the legal wrangling of today, the city, state, and federal buildings for those involved in the political process, and even most importantly, home for parents.
Over the course of many future weeks, we will examine all 10. We should have fun with the examination. Hmmmm–almost worthy of a full-fledged course and/or workshop.
This article addresses the first skill (communication). Subsequent articles will address the other nine skills. The term communication is broad and must be detailed with specifics. I remember looking at opinion surveys early in my Muscatine corporate experience. Comments were made such as, “you don’t communicate.” Statements like that require examples with specifics.
The American Family article cites specific skills in the communication area. I am most impressed with the author that lists first under communication: active listening. I would add that active listening is not mentally preparing a response but calmly hearing what others are saying. I have seen too many times where a receiver is mentally preparing a response even before the speaker has finished.
Other skills needed under communication include: storytelling, public speaking, facilitating group conversation, presenting, articulation, nonverbal communication, and concision.
Just a reminder, I am in the learning stages of becoming a SHIIP counselor, completed the live and online materials, and had my first observation last week. My mentor used storytelling to get several points across to the clients. I was all ears. This veteran counselor, without telling me, gave me a lesson that I plan to use in future sessions.
Mixed in with the storytelling is public speaking. When I had a future leaders’ class, I used a list of what individuals fear most. Of course, individual lists will vary. On the list of fears, there are clowns, spiders, mice, and flying included. On some of the lists, public speaking ranks first. These soon-to-be-supervisors needed to overcome any fear they had if they wished to fulfill their leadership responsibilities. Some never do. After a poor experience in High School, I became determined to master this skill, and frankly, now welcome the opportunity to present in front of others.
The art and science of communication is relative to all of us. There are quiet leaders. I see them in sports. If I would ask you what type of communicator you are, how would you respond? I have to think about me. Definitely, not quiet. Sounds like another article!