Not everyone is born a leader. Most people in fact, don’t naturally assume that role – even from childhood. It might be bold to say, but in some cases you are either born with it, or you’re not. Having said that though, with the right mentorship, training, and willingness – Leadership Skills can absolutely be taught.
Being a leader can be intimidating – it is as though if something goes wrong, the blame is often place or displaced onto the leader. Which leads me to leadership overall requires confidence. It requires the ability to let the bad roll off. The skills needed in a leadership role are key in the foundation in business, traditional brick and mortar and possible even more so, in network marketing.
Let’s consider two (2) things before we dive in;
- Hard Skills
- Soft Skills
What are the Differences Between Hard and Soft Skills?
Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. They might be described as static skills. Typically, you’ll learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other training materials.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are subjective skills that are much harder to quantify. You might describe these skills as being dynamic. Also known as ‘people skills’ or ‘interpersonal skills’, soft skills relate to the way you relate to and interact with other people.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” Zig Ziglar
This is one of the oldest clichés – yet, one that helps create the visual. And, that is because it rings true in our hearts. We hear it all the time: ‘Repetition is the mother of all skills.’ That is why it is important to step back and see from another perspective of what we do repeatedly. If we are repeating the same thing over and over again… it just means that we are getting good at it – it does not always suggest, that we get it right.
We could just be getting good at being wrong.
So consider this for a moment. You want to become a leader, one who experiences the successes encompassed in a leadership role, but one that creates other leaders.
Would learning from the right person be important? Of course it would!
And, could be a bold suggestion however, leadership skills can be taught but without a balance of both hard and soft skills, you could run into obstacles you hadn’t considered.
How do Hard and Soft Skills Relate to Leadership Skills?
In a New York Times article (dated in 2011 – but still relevant) I found that ‘CEO skills’ can be classified into two areas—’hard’ skills like aggressiveness, follow-through and speed; and ‘soft’ skills – like creativity, listening skills, and team skills.
With that understanding alone, it is probably pretty explicit as to why both play a huge role in leadership skills and leadership positions.
Bottom line, they both matter.
In the context of network marketing, leadership skills possess both hard and soft skills/traits. Something like a presentation, or overview could be viewed as a hard skill. It rarely waivers in its delivery – the products or services are factual. Now given, the soft skills kick in around the tone, or expression – how you connect to your audience.
Without a solid teaching in the hard skill department, is the soft skill as effective?
Jury might be out – people that are gifted with superior interpersonal skills can often, make magic happen.
Knowing this, it is one of the reasons that in our profession of network marketing, we focus so much on relationships. It is a leadership skill that is beyond necessary, critical even. This becomes prevalent in both the recruiting side – building your business, but also, leading a team to do the same.
Often, when people hear that word feelings of anxiety can kick in – worry maybe. One of the most important soft skills needed in leadership is the ability to manage change.
People respond to change in many different ways. In corporate settings, employees will often look to their leaders during times of change for reassurance, guidance, and a sense of stability. We can say the same about a downline, or those who look to you for decisions, suggestions, coping skills and more.
Give the opportunity for your team members to share their thoughts, focus on the positive, and remain available to them, to answer questions. Be the leader they look to.
Top 5 Leadership Skills in Network Marketing
For a leader, communication is both connection and inspiration. It is not just the transmission of information. Communication is critical for building alignment and executing strategy. Yet it is often one of the most challenging leadership skills because it is so easy to say, but not so easy to do.
Effective communication is far more than a one-way street that starts with the leader.
Communication is the leader’s ‘information highway’. It should flow freely in both directions and in every circumstance – in good times and, especially, among challenging ones.
It is important for leaders to follow through with what they agree to do. Do as I do, and as I say.
You should be willing to put in the extra hours when needed. Team members (and prospects) will see this commitment and follow your example. Similarly, when you promise anything – you should always follow through.
A leader cannot expect others to commit to their business and their tasks if the leader cannot do the same.
Great leadership skills require focus. You cannot major in minor things, and you must be less distracted than your competition. To get the few critical things done, you must develop incredible vision with execution. Otherwise, the trivial will drown you.
We talk about drowning out the noise, ignoring the naysayers, etc. Focus is what will help keep you on track, and avoid that temptation to waiver, or get off track.
Keri Potts (public relations at ESPN) sums this leadership skill – or necessity best!
‘I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises’ (source: Entrepreneur.com)
In order to achieve greatness, you must create a culture of optimism. And, we know how important culture is in the network marketing arena. There will be many ups and downs, but the prevalence of positivity can keep momentum going.
But know this…
This will require fearlessness. You have to truly believe in making the impossible, possible.
After all, this is what Network Marketing is – isn’t it?
Showing people what is possible.
Possessing quality leadership skills is imperative.
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COACH. TRAINER. HOME BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR.