Leadership is like a dance…
In it’s simplest form, the concept of leadership includes the person doing the leading and the person doing the following. If there are no followers, there are no leaders.
The dance between leader and follower is at the core of the leadership philosophies of Aboodi Shabi, a transformational coaching expert and founder/co-president of the U.K. International Coaching Federation.
We asked Shabi about leadership and he gave us four principles you can practice to today to become a better leader.
1. Don’t Overemphasize Your Skill
Many leaders invest more time in honing their skills than leading their followers. While technical expertise is an important part of being a good leader, it’s not the only part of being a leader. There’s another level of depth to leadership that goes far beyond your competency in your area of work or business.
“Leadership isn’t just about having technical competency or skills.”
“Leadership isn’t just about having technical competency or skills,” Shabi said. “When we talk about being the kind of leader that will attract followers and keep a team going with them through difficult times, this points to something much deeper.”
2. Be A Clear Communicator
Part of being a strong authority figure is knowing how to communicate in a way that people can understand. Nothing is more confusing for followers than to have a leader who can’t express their ideals, thoughts and expectations clearly.
A leader weak in communication skills is a leader who will be weak in presence.
“Leadership is very much like that. It’s an art that requires the leader to be clear and give clear instructions.”
“I think of it like tango. If the leader isn’t clear or confident about where he’s going then the follower will not follow or she’ll try and second guess where he’s going … and the tango doesn’t happen,” Shabi said. “Leadership is very much like that. It’s an art that requires the leader to be clear and give clear instructions and have some authority so the followers will trust the leader.”
3.Don’t Under-emphasize Your Listening Abilities
One of the great paradoxes of leadership is that the leader must have the ability to lead his or her followers, while at the same time allowing himself or herself to be led by the same follows.
“What makes you a good leader is your capacity to listen to the people you’re leading.”
Part of this process of being led is exercising genuine listening skills.
“What makes you a good leader is your capacity to listen to the people you’re leading so that you don’t over-lead or under-lead,” Shabi said. “In the tango we talk about how the leader needs to be led to some extent by the follower. The same is true for leadership. It’s like a two way dance.”
4. Make the The Tough Decision (But Don’t Be a Tyrant)
Tough decisions are the proving ground for good leaders because not only do difficult decisions require wisdom and foresight, the also require that the leader fights off the desire to be like while at the same time taking into consideration his or her followers.
“The good leader can navigate that difficult dance between being popular and paying attention to the relationships in his or her team.”
“One of the things I notice in leaders is that they either get caught by wanting to please or be liked,” Shabi said. “They also sometimes do the opposite: they don’t care whether they’re liked or not and they become too tough or they focus on getting the decisions done without paying attention to the relationships they have on the team, and that also costs them something.”
It sounds like a delicate task, and it is – this is where the sound leader thrives.
“The good leader can navigate that difficult dance between being popular and paying attention to the relationships in his or her team,” Shabi said, “and at the same time making the difficult, tough decisions and being comfortable with not being liked.”
Want To Learn More About Being a Good Leader?
Aboodi Shabi’s step-by-step “Better Connect as a Leader” Goaly strategy will help you understand how connecting to your followers is an essential quality to a transformational leader.
Click here to start Aboodi’s “Better Connect as a Leader” series! In the meantime, take a look at the introductory video in Aboodi’s strategy.