Is there a lack of leadership skills at the top?

In the news, we are currently exposed to negative behaviors from people in leadership positions. Whether they are in the political or business realms, it seems like there is a true lack of positive leadership skills at the top. Harry S. Truman said “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

According to the UK study done by The Insititute of Leadership and Management, nine out of ten UK businesses believe that they are held back by a lack of skilled managers. This is cumbersome and the lack of leadership is why nations and companies are hurting. Our political leaders should be the ones with the best leadership qualities. Leaders of multi-million rand companies should lead businesses in such a way that the company enhances the economic state of the country while being a preferred workplace for employees. Instead of this we read and hear of corruption deals, unhappy employees, failed business plans, mines that close down etc.

Leaders today should be focused on the needs of the people who are following them and who look up to them for advice and guidance. One should think that the leaders of today should get smarter about working together with employees, understanding the interaction and consequences. It seems as if some leaders are hiding behind technology and forgetting the importance of sitting across from an employee and truly listening and responding in positive ways.

Trust and integrity are lost characteristics. What happened to “honorability” and “my word is my bond” and “being respectable”? People use to value those characteristics within themselves. But lately, some leaders abuse their power and position. Leaders need to be humble, truthful and reliable.

Some high-ranking leaders think that there is no room for improvement and that there is nothing more for them to learn. Wrong! Leaders should constantly sharpen their leadership skills. Skills including emotional intelligence and personal mastery are sometimes left undeveloped and can impact on how the leader manage themselves and others. Leaders should continuously develop those skills that enhances people management as the ability to motivate people towards achieving the common vision through organizing, planning and communication will drive sustained growth and prosperity.

Adapting to change and seeing the opportunities in a diverse workforce has become imperative in business. People want to be respected and belong. They want to be heard. If leaders can understand their follower’s thought process, they can lead better.

Embrace creativity! Real leaders allow people to be who they are. Innovative solutions to problems are born out of a diverse team who brainstorm ideas.

Regardless of the circumstances of appointment, the position or even size of organization or industry, there are things leaders do that either optimize their leadership or slow them down. The point is that some leaders lost their way. Although leadership positions were earned, it is important to realize that a leader should never stop growing in themselves and should constantly develop their leadership skills.

*Make a shift right now in the right direction. The Mindspa Institute is a soft skill developing and training company. They focus on creating programs for leaders and management. Visit www.themindspa.co.za to learn more about how to invest in yourself and your organization.

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