Aug 07

Leadership Skills

Leadership. We all know the term but we don’t always know what effective leadership is. Managers are leaders aren’t they? In my experience some are and some aren’t. It can be an easy concept to explain, but a difficult one to implement and implement well.

As Vice President Educationat my Toastmasters club (Grosvenor Square Speakers), one of the things that we are focusing is helping people work through the Competent Leader manual (amongst other things). So I figured I’d do a bit of reading around the subject and explore my findings here.

So far what I’ve discovered is that management is different because it relies on planning, organisational and communication skills. Obviously being able to have a resource like Pro Humorist is going to be beneficial 🙂

But how does leadership differ from management? Well, leadership includes all those skills but also on personal qualities such integrity, honesty,  courage,  positivity, humility,  sensitivity and compassion. And I’d add the ability to be able to use and maintain a sense of humour in the right circumstances.

I’d have to agree with the Shakespearean quote “some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness trust upon them”. Or with the Robin Williams twist, “some have it as a graduation gift.” I also think it is something that can be learnt.

There are many different approaches to leadership. Jack Welch who was chairman and CEO of General Electric has a book on leadership called “Straight from the Gut”. He’s quite well-respected in business because of his innovative management and leadership style.  Here’s a quick overview of his quite traditional principles:

1. There is only one way – the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.

2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.

3. Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy.

4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.

5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.

6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.

7. Business has to be fun – celebrations energise and organisation.

8. Never underestimate the other guy.

9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.

10. Know when to meddle and when to let go – this is pure instinct.

I’ll end this post by saying remember that communication is critical. Not only being able to deliver a presentation that will set an example to those you lead, but communication throughout your team and/or department as a whole. Don’t just rely on email, memos or telephone face-to-face communication has to be the best way.

It gets you people time. HA! Following on from former world champion speaker Darren La Croix, there’s a maxim right there for effective leadership…

people time, people time, people time!


  1. Brad Montgomery

    This is a cool site, my friend. I especially liked #7, Business has to be fun – celebrations energise and organisation.

    great point. couldn’t agree more.

    Hope we get to meet in person one day.


  2. Jason Peck

    Hey Brad

    Good to hear from you again.

    I agree with you. But I think that businesses in the U.S. will be more likely to embrace the concept that business has to be fun than their U.K. counterparts.

    To an extent the businesses that I’ve hand first hand experience of find it difficult to embrace such a change. But there’s always hope.


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