What is Leadership?


Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M Litchfield, 108th TC PAO

According to the Army’s leadership doctrinal manual, Field Manual (FM) 6-22, Army leadership is “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.” 

I have an appreciation for this textbook definition; however, what does a leader do when the answers aren’t scripted or prescribed. How does a leader relate to others and resolve problems that do not appear in a handbook. Today’s leader must be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to lead diverse teams in a successful manner. Rachel Smith, Associate Consultant & Trader Joe’s Loyalist outlines a few areas an effective leader should continuously develop:

  1. Adaptation to Change
    As a leader, you should know how to adapt to both changes and each of the members of your team. You may or may not have a particular personality that will provide you with a certain character, but there are certain social skills that you can learn in order to lead your team more effectively.
  2. Strategic Vision
    Effective leaders do not lose sight of the strategic dimension of their business, and this is why you have to invest time to identify threats and strengths that affect your competitiveness. As a leader, you want to be up to date on the news, innovations and transformations in your sector.
  3. Analysis Skills
    Effective leadership skills have a lot to do with knowing your own business and being able to analyze the existing relationships among the different departments, as well as the way your employees interact with each other. By analyzing the internal function of your company, you will get the most of your team, optimize your resources and encourage a spirit of cooperation.
  4. Networking and Customer Orientation
    If there is something that a business should care about, that is the customers. Your leadership role should be focused on meeting their needs so that you can ensure your company’s growth in the medium and long term. Watch your public image and work on developing a professional network (networking) that will multiply the chances of success for your business.
  5. Optimization of Resources
    Effective leadership skills are supported by an appropriate use of material, human and financial resources, so that results are obtained in the most efficient and optimized way.
  6. Effective Communication
    It is impossible to lead efficiently if you don’t work on your communication skills. Here, your listening skills and your expertise when transmitting the messages to your team both come into play. The key is to communicate transparently and clearly.
  7. Conflict Management
    If you are a leader, you have a responsibility not only to solve the conflicts that will be inevitably generated within your team, but also to be able to detect them before it is too late to fix them. In conflict resolution it is essential to know your peers. Ask, listen to different versions, show empathy and act with justice.
  8. Delegate and Encourage Teamwork
    Your effective leadership skills will be better the more you encourage teamwork and delegate certain tasks to the right person. Delegating effectively will help develop the potential of your team members and increase the confidence and sense of belonging of the group.
  9. Emotional Intelligence and Positive Attitude
    Among the most important personal skills a leader should have are definitely those that favor self-leadership: a good leader must be a person with a positive attitude and emotional intelligence, who will manage stress well and accept constructive criticism. Building confidence and keeping optimism alive will get you out of tense situations and it will be especially valuable to develop and improve the skills of your team.
  10. Productivity and Time Management
    Do not try to lead effectively if you don’t know how to schedule your day for it to be productive. Learn to prioritize your tasks, set and define goals, meet deadlines and, in short, keep your stress under control and modify your habits for efficient time management.

    As leaders you never arrive. Each day brings challenges and demands requiring you to grow and sharpen your skills. These are just a few traits a leader must have in order to lead people and grow an organization.


Smith, Rachel, Strategic Leadership: The 10 Characteristics Of A Good Leader; As a strategic leader, do you have these 10 important qualities?


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