Building Your Leadership Skills

Building Your Leadership Skills

By the end of this lesson, you are expected:
– to know what is expected from a leader
– to understand situational leadership concept
– to discover how you can develop as a leader

Leadership and You

Times have changed. The late management guru Peter Drucker was one of the first to recognize this in business. He identified the emergence of the “knowledge worker” and the profound differences that would affect the way business was organised.

With the rise of the knowledge worker, one does not ‘manage’ people. The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.

Leadership is a set of skills encompassing the ability of an individual or organisation to guide other individuals, teams, or entire organisations in their efforts towards goal setting and achievements.

As a Leader, you are expected to guide your team to places they may not have gone by themselves.

Situational Leadership (1/2)

Situational Leadership Theory is the short form for “Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory“. As the name implies, according to the model, leadership depends upon each individual situation, and no single leadership style can be considered the best.

For Hershey and Blanchard, tasks are different and each type of task requires a different leadership style. A good leader will be able to adapt her or his leadership to the goals or objectives to be accomplished.

Situational Leadership (2/2)

Goal setting, capacity to assume responsibility, education, and experience are main factors that make a leader successful. Not only is the leadership style important for a successful leader-led situation but the ability or maturity of those being led is a critical factor, as well.

Leadership techniques fall out of the leader pairing her or his leadership style to the maturity level of the group.

Leading a Group (1/4)

Leadership focuses on the group. This group approach allows us to see leadership in terms of functions that meet group needs: what has to be done.

Work groups are always different, just as individuals are. After coming together they soon develop a group personality. All groups and organisations are unique.

But that is only half of the truth. The other half is that work groups – like individuals – also have certain needs in common.

Leading a Group (2/4)

John Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model provides a great blueprint for leading any team, group or organisation. Action Centred Leadership is also a simple leadership model, which makes it easy to remember, apply, and adapt to your own situation. Here are the three areas of overlapping needs:

– Task need: Work groups and organisations come into being because there is a task to be done that is too big for one person.

– Team maintenance need: the need to create and promote group cohesiveness.

– Individual need: individuals bring into the group their own needs being physical and psychological. These spring from the depths of our common life as human beings.

Being able to have full command of the three main areas of the Action Centred Leadership model: keep the right balance, get results, build morale, improve quality, develop teams and productivity, is the mark of a successful leader.

Leading a Group (3/4)

These three areas of need overlap and influence one another.

If the common task is achieved, for example, then that tends to build the team and to satisfy personal human needs in individuals. If there is a lack of cohesiveness in the team circle – a failure of team maintenance – then clearly performance in the task area will be impaired and the satisfaction of individual members reduced.

Thus we can visualise the needs present in work groups as three overlapping circles:

Leading a Group (4/4)

According to John Adair, the three-circle model is simple but not simplistic or superficial. In order to achieve the common task and to maintain teamwork, certain functions have to be performed.

In whatever field you are, at whatever level of Leadership, team leader, operational or strategic manager, there are three things that one should always be thinking about: task, team andindividual.

Leadership is an other-centred activity, not a self-centred one.

Role of a Leader

In a group, people are expecting from the leader to help them:

– achieve the common task;
– To build and maintain a high performing team
– To develop the individual members of the team.

Leadership Functions

function is what you do, as opposed to a quality, which is an aspect of what you are. For example, someone has to define the objectives, make a plan, or hold the team together if it is threatened by disruptive forces.

Remember always that – because the three areas of task, team and individual overlap so much – any function will tend to affect all three circles.*

Defining the Task

‘Task’ is a very general word. It simply means ‘something that needs to be done’, usually something that you are required to do. Generally speaking, people in teams or organisations have some idea of what they are there to do, but that general sense needs to be focused on an objective.

Leadership is also about answering the question why as well as what. Leaders should be able to relate an objective to the wider aims and purpose of the organisation.

(Optional) 1-min video about setting smart goals.

If you’d like to refer to this later, you can find the link in the Additional Material section of this lesson.
Link to the video:


Planning means building a mental bridge from where you are now to where you want to be when you have achieved the objective before you.

The function of planning meets the group’s need to accomplish its task by answering the question how. But the ‘how’ question soon leads to ‘When does this or that have to happen?’ and ‘Who does what?’

(Optional) 3-min video about backwards planning.

If you’d like to refer to this later, you can find the link in the Additional Material section of this lesson.
Link to the video:


With the objective and plan having been set, it’s time to communicate them. Briefing is the function of communicating objectives and plans to the team.

Briefing points to mainly one skill, namely public speaking. Listening is also equal in importance as every team member has something to contribute to the plan and its execution: ideas, suggestions or information. One also need to be a listening leader.

Controlling / Monitoring

Controlling is the function of ensuring that all the energy of the team, and the resources at its disposal, are making things happen.

Success at directing, regulating, restraining or encouraging individual and team efforts on the task (and in meetings) is a criterion for testing a leader’s effectiveness.


Success has to do with values, ultimately with the values of the organisation or the individual concerned. Performance has to be judged in relation to those values, which are usually implicit in the organisation’s purpose.

As we have already seen, a key part of defining the task is establishing the success criteria – by which we shall know whether we are achieving the objective or at least making progress in its general direction.

Evaluating is not something to leave at the end. It happens whenever the leader comments on progress – or the lack of it – or invites the team to consider their own agreed success criteria.


As a leader you must understand the needs in individuals and how they operate, so that you can work with the grain of human nature and not against it.

Among other things, a leader’s task is to locate, release and channel the greatness in the team.

Organising (1/3)

Organising is the function of arranging or forming into a coherent whole. It can mean systematic planning as well. It encompasses the structuring – or restructuring – that has to be done if people are to work in unison as a team, with each element performing its proper part in an effective whole.

Providing an example

‘Leadership is example’. It may take many shapes and forms, but it has to be there.

One cannot avoid being an example of some kind or the other, simply because the people who work with you will always observe what you are and what you do as well as what you say.

A manager will take six months to get to know his staff,’ goes a Japanese maxim, ‘but they will take only six days to get to know him.’ Example, in other words, is just you. But you do have some discretion as to whether it will be a good or poor example.

Develop as a Leader (1/2)

You are a unique person, with a unique path of leadership in front of you. Nobody can teach you the way: you have to find it for yourself.

Though, here are some suggestions that you may find useful:
– be prepared
– be proactive
– be reflective

Be Prepared
The door into leadership has ‘Confidence’ written upon it. You have to want to be a leader. It begins with a willingness to take charge. The more prepared you are, the more confident you become.

Develop as a Leader (2/2)

Be Proactive
Organisations do have a vested interest in your development as a leader, because they need leaders. Share with them your hopes, intentions and ambitions. You should be seeking all opportunities to lead, be it leadership of a team or a project group.

Be Reflective
Most leaders are action-centred and fairly well immersed in their work. You do need to be able to withdraw from time to time and take a ‘helicopter view’ of what is going on. These times of reflection should include your own role performance as a leader. Do something differently as a result of that reflective moment. Be patient with yourself. Aim to take a step forward each day.

Competence is within your grasp, but reach out for skill, and never rest until you have achieved excellence in leadership.
Thank You!

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp