University Of Aberdeen Qualities
Good leaders are followed chiefly because people trust and respect them, rather than the skills they possess. Leadership is about behaviour first, skills second. The diagram below illustrates some of the skills and behaviours displayed by effective leaders:
- Supporting a Development Culture
- Listenting, supporting and giving constructive criticism
- Managing change effectively
- Empowering your team
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Managing Conflict
Playing a successful round of golf is a useful metaphor for being a successful leader. Like golfers, managers must frequently match the tools they have at their disposal (golf clubs for golfers, ways of behaving for managers) with the particular context in which they find themselves. Here we outline some of the main classifications of leadership styles.
You may think that comparing golf and leadership is a bit strange – but think about it a little longer. The skilled golf player has a wide selection of tools available, in the form of various woods, irons and putters, and yet must assess several other factors (crosswinds, distance from hole, etc.) before deciding which club to use. To do this, the golfer must draw on their own knowledge, skills and experience in order to fit the right club to the right situation.
Consider a manager or a Head of School. They also have various tools available to them, in the form of different ways of behaving. Although many think of behaviour as something that just happens, the fact is that it can (and should) be controlled. A leader should be able to select a mode of behaviour, or leadership style, in just the same way a golfer picks a club.
Of course, the skill comes not just in using the leadership style, but knowing when best to use it; being able to use these styles is no good if they are applied in the wrong context. For instance, a leader might find that an open, democratic style of management is highly effective most of the time, but when workload suddenly increases, or in a time of crises, a more coercive style is needed. As a leader, it may be necessary for you to change your style several times a day depending on what is going on around you or who you are dealing with. It is therefore important that you familiarise yourself with all styles of management and how best to use them.