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Principles of Leadership
Effective and successful leaders of groups recognise that the quality of their relationships with others will play a major role in their ability and right to lead others.
Genuine group-leaders need to be:
- People of Integrity
Authentic leaders are characterized by their relationships. Openness and honesty are vital to authentic leadership.
- Affirming and Positive
Pleasant, positive leaders achieve more than those who are negative. No one’s life circumstances are perfect. It is important to focus on solving the challenges we face rather than dwelling on the problems. Leaders who encourage others achieve more than those who criticize. Affirmation, appreciation and encouragement are universal needs and we maximize support and cooperation when we focus on these attributes.
- Observant and Discerning
It is important to look out for the indicators of what your group enjoy most. Remaining flexible and not taking comments as personal criticism is hard, but it will be vital to your health and happiness as a leader. Use the information offered to you to modify and improve the planning and execution of your plans.
- Able to Maintain Personal Boundaries
Over-commitment often causes distress to leaders. Leaders have limits and need to work conservatively and consistently. It is essential that leaders nurture themselves and plan time out for self-care.
Setting time limits for meetings and keeping meetings short and productive will encourage participation and save time and energy. Be aware that some people will look to you for support. All leaders have personal limits to their time, money and energy. Managing these resources is imperative for sound leadership.
- Able to Dream, Act and Evaluate
Strong leaders dream and plan boldly; they combine this with reflection and careful executions of plans. Thorough preparation and enthusiastic implementation results in successful leadership. Learn from the experience when events don’t go to plan. Avoid analysing your program while it is in progress; leave that until after the event. Evaluation is a process that acknowledges successes and identifies deficits.
- Able to Manage Challenges
Balancing nurture and support with discipline is a skill that can be learned. Leaders sometimes need to say and do things that some will not like.
Here are some secrets that will minimise problems:
- Prepare – be sure to do your homework early and plan meetings well. Proper preparation limits poor outcomes. Ask for ideas, help, direction and support from other leaders and your associate leaders.
- Make Guidelines Clear – it is better to remind people of what you have said or circulated than to have to explain the ‘rules’ as they are being broken. Try to anticipate problems that may arise and solve them before they show up in the event or program.
- Make Consequences Known – when people know the boundaries and the resulting outcomes, they have a better ability to make the right choices.
- Be Consistent – people who are critical look for precedents; they may challenge on inconsistencies. Treating everyone the same will minimize but not eliminate criticism of your efforts
- Ask Questions First – have the correct information before acting. Sometimes we may not have all the right information. Move cautiously and never act on hearsay. Always speak to the person involved in private to verify all the details. If in any doubt, consult with people of wisdom before taking action.
- Be Aware of Your Emotions – if you do become frustrated, agitated or angry it is best to stop and cool down. Apologize to the person or group, and start again, if necessary.