Whether you are a natural-born leader, or you find yourself thrust into a leadership position by default, developing leadership skills is one of the most important things for any member of the workforce should learn. You might be a master of your chosen trade or business, but although that will earn you promotions and raises, when you are put at the head of a group of individuals, that ultimately means very little. Furthermore, there is also a notable difference between being in charge, and actually being a leader.

Leaders Don’t “Tell,” They “Do”

People often mistake managing a group of people for “leadership.” However, there is a marked difference between simply “managing” people, and leading them. Managers will think about ways in which they want things run, they may even view their employees as inferior to themselves. Leaders however, lead by example. They recognize that they cannot expect other people to abide by ridiculous rules and a philosophy that they themselves do not follow.A true leader will act, rather than instruct.

Leaders Aren’t Afraid of Change

Furthermore, proper leaders are not interested in stagnant and predictable workplaces. They do not imitate outdated practices of the past, rather new policies will originate with them. They embrace originality, creativity, and new ideas, and they encourage their employees to do the same, making sure that they are open and available to listen to their employees. A leader is not afraid of change, a leader creates a culture in which creativity can flourish.

Leaders Do What Needs to Be Done

However, just because they are open-minded, this does not mean that a leader does not have to make the occasional tough decision. Leaders are approachable, but they also do the things that need to be done. In a similar vein, a good leader will stand up and shoulder the blame when they need to. They are willing to admit their mistakes, correct any errors and improve where necessary.

Leaders Lead People, Managers Manage Affairs

Managers know the importance of the job that they do. They realize that they are in charge of making sure that things get done, and producing good results. But leaders recognize that results are brought about by productive workplace, and more specifically, a group of individuals. Each individual on the team, each employee in the company, is a unique person with unique needs, and crucially, unique skills. Making sure that one gets to know each individual personally is a crucial leadership skill. It allows leaders to make a workplace the best that it can be, but it also means that one can play to each person’s individual talents, which will ultimately benefit everyone.

When it comes right down to it, all of the greatest leadership skills depend on one thing: passion. If you have a great love for the job that you are doing and the people who you are leading, it will show through in the way that you lead. So if you really want to be the best leader you can be, follow your passion.