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Trevor E. S. Smith | Keys to improving leadership skills at all levels

Published:Sunday | April 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Trevor Smith

We blame failed leadership for current problems. Lack of foresight is a frequent refrain. Leadership vacuums abound. Are there examples that we can draw on to develop leadership skills?

Does history throw up an example that today's CEO, middle manager, small business owner, group leader or head of the family can draw on to improve their leadership skills?

Moses is one of the standout leaders in the scriptures. Can his example provide us with valuable insights with respect to leadership?


Thrust into leadership


When Moses received the call to lead, he tried to get out of the responsibility, claiming that he was not a good fit for the role. One reason for vacuums in leadership today is that many individuals are shy to step forward. Others have been overlooked despite having the potential to lead effectively.

Is there a leadership vacuum that you could fill? Leadership is required at various levels and in diverse circumstances. Think civil society. Consider groups within your community, congregation or association.

On the other hand, are you failing to empower potential leaders? What if you shared some of your responsibilities as Moses did? Is performance being negatively impacted by the fact that the leadership team is overly stretched?


Skills Gap


Moses raised his perceived weak communication skills as the reason why he would be unfit for the leadership role. A work around was found in the form of using his brother Aaron as his mouthpiece.

Leaders are not perfect. Competency gaps can be filled through cooperation with others. They can also be addressed through training and coaching.

Whatever the current status, leaders can be developed through structured training, observation and focused self-development. One hallmark of progress is when leaders empower others to fill their current roles and move on to develop new skills themselves. When leaders find themselves stuck doing the same things in essentially the same way, that is a clear sign of stagnation.


More Than A Title


Moses faced direct challenges to his authority to lead from his sister Miriam. Later, he was challenged by Korah and his colleagues.

We might not have the capacity to deal with leadership challenges as decisively as Moses. However, we should appreciate that our position may be questioned and even openly challenged. Having the title of leader does not guarantee that others will be willing to follow your lead. You need to earn the respect of those you seek to lead.


7 Keys to being accepted as a leader:


- Open and transparent communication. Explaining your decisions. Welcoming questions and suggestions.

- Treating everybody with respect ... regardless of their position.

- Honouring your word and your commitments. Being a model of integrity.

- Owning up to your errors and making it clear that you do not have all the answers.

- Building meaningful relationships.

- Holding yourself accountable to the group.

- Delegating and adopting an inclusive approach to leadership.


The Pitfall Of Emotions


Moses failed to get the ultimate reward of entering the Promised Land because he allowed his emotions to cause him to make a rash decision. We run the risk of being less than careful in our decision making because of anger or pressure. The potential dire consequences of bad decisions should be at the forefront of our minds.

It makes sense to be in tune with your emotions. Pause to evaluate the potential influence of your emotional state on your decisions.


Succession Planning

Moses did an outstanding job preparing Joshua to take over the mantle of leadership. Sustainability is dependent on effective succession planning and execution. Training and empowering future leaders is a critical responsibility of current leaders.

One proven strategy to effective succession planning is the implementation of a Coaching and Mentoring Program. Encourage executives to sign on to a structured program to develop future leaders. How plans are executed is a key determinant of success. Having effective leadership at all levels is an important component of successful implementation.


Challenging  History


Moses was recruited after returning from exile as a fugitive. History need not dictate the future. You can achieve great things regardless of where you are or what you were.




Access the FREE Webinar Series on Leader/Coach Development here:

The Breakthrough Leader Certification And Mentoring Program is open for participation. Find answers to developing future-ready, change inducing environments while effectively executing plans. Conflict Avoidance And Management Personal Development Public Workshop series continues Sunday April 29, 6 p.m. at the St Andrew Church of Christ, 77 Red Hills Road. Facilitators: AndrÈ Allen-Casey and Trevor Smith. No charge.

- Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop high-performing teams. Hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling for the next cohort of the ICF/SHRM-accredited certified behavioural coach programme. Email: