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The Six Fundamentals of Leadership

The Highrise Team
September 24, 2022
An executive leader discussing fundamentals of leadership with her employees
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Whether you're a first-time manager or the leader of an organization, studying the fundamentals of leadership is essential. Understanding what goes into leadership gives you a strong footing when developing the means to inspire, overcome challenges, and achieve meaningful goals. 

But to get the skills needed, the best leaders require the tools to recognize the fundamentals of leadership and learn behaviors that will build a solid foundation for the future. 

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is universal, no matter whether someone is leading a company, organizing a team, or in the military. To lead, you need to be able to inspire, connect with people, recognize your own impact on others, be adaptable no matter the difficulties, and have the ability to think outside the box.

The Six Fundamentals of Leadership

Though every leader is unique, all must possess learning agility in skills fundamental to effective leadership. Focusing on these six success principles as a team leader can make all the difference in leadership development. 

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1. Self-Awareness 

Improving self-awareness is underrated, but it adds up to leadership success. After all, persuasion through communication and action matter. When leaders' actions match their words, they build trust and authority inside and outside their companies.

Ultimately, trust and authenticity are some of the most crucial building blocks in overcoming obstacles, finding solutions, and delivering success.

Nobody's perfect, not even a leader. Learning to admit a mistake is the first step toward understanding the lesson within the error. More importantly, workers are more fully trusting of better leaders who show their humanity.

It creates a culture where lessons are learned from missteps and creative solutions are found. 

Understanding how leadership behaviors impact others and your company is a core part of self-awareness. Whether you are a first-time manager or the CEO of a company, knowing that your words and actions affect others (as well as the organization) is one of the first steps to building success.

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2. Effective Communication 

Effective leadership relies on clear communication to earn people’s trust and ensure everyone understands your vision and how to work together toward common goals.

Of course, effective communication doesn’t happen overnight; it needs to be honed and developed. Choosing the best channels for communication is a fundamental part of creative leadership. 

Knowing which messages are best delivered through email or in writing and which should be delivered in person is a central part of leadership communication. Consider e-newsletters if most team members work by computer or virtual meetings for employees who work remotely from your organization. 

A leader understands listening to others' ideas is as important as speaking. Leaders should use appreciative inquiry to ask team members what they think about the organization’s goals and how to reach them.

Employee engagement gets boosted when leaders ask workers for their opinions and listen to what they say. And, in turn, increases the trust teams have in leaders.

Three executives discussing fundamentals of leadership.

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3. Influence in Leadership

Influence in leadership is one of the essential fundamentals of leadership as you need to be comfortable persuading, promoting, and delegating.

You don't have to give employees unlimited access to you throughout the workday, but access to a leader is essential for influencing workers and team leaders. Having an open door and being available to your team most of the time will inspire trust throughout the entire organization. 

Communication plays a critical role in leaders influencing their teams, but so do authenticity and honesty. Leadership and management influence requires listening to workers and seeking their buy-in on corporate goals and strategies.

Trust gets built when actions align with how team members communicate. When a leader delegates essential tasks to trusted colleagues and team members, they increase their influence among employees. 

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4. Visionary Thinking 

Effective leaders see the forest, not just the trees. These leaders create a vision for the organizations that inspire team members to work together toward a common goal or purpose. A vision has the power to amplify employee engagement and attract new people who want to be part of the team. 

Leaders not only have valuable problem-solving insights but can create strategies and do the necessary research for their companies to reach even the loftiest goals.

Their plans will look at the individual goals of workers and how they can be part of the company’s strategy to lead toward broader organizational goals. When everyone understands and embraces a leader’s visionary thinking, no goal will be insurmountable.

Ultimately, successful leaders act as orchestra conductors. Just as a symphony requires many musicians to play their parts to create beautiful music, leaders must inspire and coach each employee to create harmony among all team members. 

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5. Adaptability 

Change is one of the constants of life. The rapid development of technology and fluctuations in markets and consumer demand calls for many leaders to be nimble in adapting to change.

You need leadership flexibility to stay ahead of the competition and be aware of evolving trends or global challenges. After all, responding to shortages and supply chain issues requires greater agility than ever.

Leaders must focus on new technologies, be open to embracing revenue opportunities, and harness the latest theories for success. Those who cannot adapt will see their organizations unable to keep pace with advancements and ultimately fail in the corporate world.

Organizations, from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies, need leaders whose approach won’t be set in stone. An adaptable leader has the best chance of weathering difficulties and ensuring necessary changes run smoothly, so everyone pulls in the same direction. And, for change to be successful, top management like yourself must lead. 

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6. Learning Agility 

Learning agility is essential for business leaders as it ensures they know when a company should change course or help team members develop new behaviors.

After all, a leader must be able to focus on people and create a customer-centric culture. To do so, you must be prepared to research common leadership challenges or leverage executive coaching to gain insights into key leadership skills. 

For instance, recognizing an individual contributor for a job well done is an essential part of showing support as a leader. Encouraging a team member to develop skills, practice, and find solutions is critical to their development and the success of a leader’s organization. Leadership training can be a cornerstone of growth as your leadership skills will continue to develop over time.

You can use your knowledge to build a long-term culture of success as an individual and for your business.

A course in leadership development for first-time managers and executive coaching for experienced leaders will increase their understanding of leadership fundamentals. As you learn, your workforce will follow your lead in learning the same lesson.

The Importance of Leadership Fundamentals 

To be an effective leader, you need to incorporate the fundamentals of leadership into your day-to-day management approach to lay the foundation for success.

These six fundamentals of leadership can be a cornerstone of growth since employee engagement and trust will increase. Your leadership skills will continue to develop over time, and you can use your knowledge to build a long-term culture of success as an individual and for your business.

How To Improve Fundamental Leadership Skills? 

No one in life is a born leader. Leadership development and the ability to understand leadership fundamentals requires practice and study.

A leader often needs an executive coach to act as a counselor and accountability partner to help develop new insights, increase their performance with their team and customers, and learn new skills based on fundamentals leadership.

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