Leadership: The Foundation

Being responsible for a group of people is a large task and requires a variety of skills to ensure success of the group’s goal. These abilities are external attributes in that they are necessary to effectively interact with others on a professional level. These leadership skills are very important, yet they are all surrounded around one main point: reaching a goal.

So this means that there is a second set of internal abilities that a true leader must reach before she or he can effectively lead a team. By internal abilities I mean a set of specific skills that an individual easily uses on a daily basis to help them achieve their own success. From my personal experience I believe that these skills must be second nature to an individual, the person must be able to do these things without a lot of thought or effort to be able to be a strong leader. These skills can easily be learned and mastered with some practice and anyone who sets their mind to it can become a strong and effective leader.

Some internal leadership skills include:

Goal setting
This is the first step that will lead you to develop your internal leadership skills. Goals help you move forward, keep track of time, achieve a task and feel accomplished. Effective goal setting and completion is the key to success. You can set a number of smaller goals that are steps leading up to your main goal, or you can set one large goal and work towards that – choose whichever works best for your personal style. Once you set a goal you can use time management, organization and advance planning to help you get there and master internal skills to help you become a better leader.

Time management
This skill is the first thing I focused on in the first year of my undergraduate degree. My father taught me about the importance of managing my time and making sure that I got all my assignments done before the due date and still had time to do the things I love. One simple way to manage your time is to know your big picture. This can apply to work, volunteering and hobbies. The focus here is setting timelines.

This skill goes hand-in-hand with time management. Being organized is about staying on top of everything you have to do and not falling behind or procrastinating. Organization is about prioritizing all the things you have to get done for the day. I prioritize my work by looking at the due dates of everything and I complete the different tasks in that order. One way to help you be more organized is with the use of an agenda. This helps to create a visual of your priorities and makes it easier to remember what you need to do.

Advance planning
If you want to increase your effectiveness of completing tasks and reduce stress, you can organize your time and priorities so that you complete them well before the due date. This is helpful mostly in reducing the stress you may feel when you complete a task the night before it’s due. It also gives you a chance to review your work and make improvements that will help to improve your efficiency and success at work, for example. Advance planning is about looking at your big picture for the day, but also the week, month and quarter, or duration of the project.
So whether you are staring a new job, being given a leadership role in your current work, or are work towards advancing your skill level in a given hobby; these fundamentals are the place to start.

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