The prospect of becoming a leader, whether in a professional or personal capacity, can be daunting, especially for those who have never been one. Although a good leader embodies a wide variety of traits, there are a few skills that one should master if they hope to be successful at the job. To offer their insight into the skills required of a leader is Wayne Sturman, a software engineer based in New York, New York.
Sturman graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. He then continued on at RIT and received his Master of Science in Software Engineering. From there, he worked at CA Technologies as a Software Quality Engineer, and currently he works for Adobe focusing on Machine Learning. As someone who has taken on numerous leadership roles throughout his career, Wayne Sturman is the perfect person to offer his advice on how to develop good leadership skills.
Never Stop Learning
Learning is the best thing you can do as a leader. Constantly learning will ensure that you keep your mind sharp and your skills fresh. Learning has never been more important than it is in the 21st century, what with the rapid changes brought on by technology. If you aren’t willing to learn new skills, even once you’ve achieved a senior management position, it will be difficult to maintain such a position. Ultimately, having more knowledge will make you a better leader, as you will be more prepared for any challenges that come your way. Further, by showing your team that you are someone who never stops learning, you are setting a good example for the future generation of leaders.
Be A Good Listener
According to software engineer Wayne Sturman, one of the most important skills that a leader should possess is that of listening. Some leaders think that because they are in charge, they should be doing all of the talking. But being a leader doesn’t mean you are the person always in the spotlight. In fact, you will garner more respect from your team if you sit back and listen once in a while. Show your team that you are open to their suggestions, whether by giving them time to speak in a meeting or setting up a monthly forum, where people are free to offer feedback, as well as suggestions and ideas. Not only will your team feel heard, but you may be surprised at the quality of the ideas or solutions that they put forward.
Let Others Lead
Part of being a good leader is knowing when to lead, and when to let others lead. That’s right, you might be surprised to learn that leaders shouldn’t always be the ones doing the leading. Wayne Sturman asserts that a skill all leaders need to master is how to delegate. No one person can be the best at everything. Recognizing your weaknesses is key if you want to inspire loyalty, as well as do the best job possible. Admitting your own faults is not a sign of weakness. Rather, your team will appreciate your honesty and it may serve to make you more approachable in the long run. Beyond admitting your shortcomings, a good leader must then delegate, assigning a particular task to someone else on the team who you know will excel at it. The benefits of this are two-fold. First, it will empower the person on your team who you assigned the task to. And second, it will free you up to work on other, perhaps more important tasks, that are a more efficient use of your time.
Wayne Sturman concludes that being a good leader is something that takes a lifetime of learning to accomplish. With new techniques and ideas coming every year, it is important for leaders to never get complacent.