Practicing the Skill of Leadership

Leadership is like other learned activities. It's a skill, and it needs to be practiced to be done well.

Sure, some people are born with the gift of being exceptional leaders, or at least they develop a skill set through their early years. But some people are also born with the gift of painting, shooting a basketball, or writing poetry. Rarely do we hear of them experiencing "success" without doing it over and over again. Because even though they're born with the gift, they keep practicing.

We hear stories of artists toiling away in their studios for years, scrapping one canvas after another. We hear about professional basketball players who show up at 6:00 a.m. on off days to shoot hundreds of free throws. And we hear about poets who take pains over months to find the right words, and combination of them, to craft something that is only a few lines long.

The same applies to leaders.

They get a little better every single day by trying new things, reflecting on their "performance", and finding opportunities to practice leadership skills on a daily basis. Then they rinse and repeat.

They see leadership as a responsibility, a duty, an obligation. They understand that people are counting on them to be moved in the direction the leaders are going. And that's really hard. So they keep practicing and practicing. 

They practice eye contact. They practice listening. They practice self-control. They practice inspiration. They practice serving others. They practice empathy. They practice feedback. They practice conflict management. They practice adaptability. They practice calming others. They practice self-confidence. They practice organizational awareness.

In reality, leadership isn't just a skill that needs to be practiced. Leadership is a practice in itself.