Developing Leadership Skills
The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee… And I will pay more that ability than for any other under the sun. — John D. Rockefeller
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. — Warren G. Bennis
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. — Harold R.M. Alindon
I don’t plan to be a leader. How would Leadership skills help me?
– They may help you in class to work with a others to do a group project.
– They may help you be a more effective member of a college organization.
– They may help you get into graduate school.
– They may help you get a better job.
– They may help you succeed in your career.
– They may help you start and build your own business.
– They may help you have a stronger marriage and be a better parent.
– They may help you make a difference in the world, at least in your corner of the world.
– They may even cause you to run for public office where good politicians are always needed.
Even for those who have no intention of being a leader of any sort, the ideas here will help you get along well with other people. Leadership skills aren’t just for who plan to be important;
Leadership takes the ability to make friends to a higher level.
The secret of many a man’s success in the world resides in his insight into the moods of men and his tact in dealing them. — J. G. Holland
Dale Carnegie, in his best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, (published in 1936 and revised by his wife in 1981) lists twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking and nine principles for being a Leader. He said that a leader’s job often includes changing people’s attitudes and behavior.
There’s only one way under the high heaven to get anybody to do anything…. and that is by making the other person want to do it. — Dale Carnegie p.47
Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people. — John D. Rockefeller
Dale Carnegie’s twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid an argument.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say “You’re wrong.”
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying “Yes, yes.” immediately.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives. (You’re a man of your word. If you say you will do it, I believe you.)
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.
Dale Carnegie’s nine principles for being a leader
1. Begin with praise.
2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you support.
The two lists are similar in many ways. They both begin with a positive attitude, encouraging people rather than criticizing them and giving orders. I would, however, suggest that the first list applies to most leadership roles in college. The second list seems to apply more to leadership in business.
Leadership roles in College
In college there are students whose goals include being the president of the student body, being chosen for leadership roles in their fraternity, sorority, or other student organizations. Some of these students may see themselves running for office someday or they may just crave attention and want to feel important. While there are some excellent leaders in college as there are some outstanding politicians, many other would not meet the standards on Carnegie’s lists.
Many of the true leaders do not hold official leadership positions. Those with true leadership skills have many close friends and, when a friend needs help, they understand what to say or do. They offer encouragement or good advice. At times, when a larger need arises like a tornado or bad storm hitting a nearby town, these leaders are the people who talk about it and ask others “What can we do?” They gather people together to collect supplies and donations and work to make a difference. Sometimes these groups never quite know who came up with the idea. “We all saw a need and knew we had to do something to help.”
I would suggest that these quiet leaders do more good and create more change than a couple dozen of the self-important leaders who feel so proud of their success but do so little that is of any importance.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams
Leadership in Business
Many recent books divide business leadership into two categories, the managers and the leaders.
According the most descriptions, the leader or CEO is at the top, but often has little contact with the actual workers. His jobs include studying the trends and deciding how the company can meet the needs in the coming years. He creates the vision. In a small company there may be one manager. In larger companies, there may be many. Their task is to work with the vision of the leader, to develop the strategies, and to work with the employees to get the work done.
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing. — Peter Drucker
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. — Stephen R. Covey
I will add a few more of my favorite quotations. I actually understand leadership better through these brief quotes than from the books I have studied on leadership. And perhaps it is fair to say I have learned still more from observing the actions of those I consider outstanding leaders.
Flattery is counterfeit, and like counterfeit money, it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it to someone else… Now if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other person’s good points, we won’t even have to resort to flattery so cheap and fake that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth.
— Dale Carnegie pp 57-58
Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise, and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime — repeat them years after you have forgotten them.
— Dale Carnegie p 60
Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire… and the best advice which can be given to the would-be persuaders, whether thay be in business, in the home, in the school, in politics, is: first, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whold world with him. He who cannot walks a long lonely way. — Harry A. Overstreet.
If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. — Henry Ford
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The other links in the Group Participation section include:
If you have not visited the section on Social Skills (incluing meeting people and making friends) Social Skills