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Angela M. Odom

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What does style and skills have to do with leadership?



I spent 27 years in the greatest Army on the planet with other visionary leaders who wanted to achieve more within the organizations and teams they led while serving in complex environments.  Most recently over the last four years I've led myself as a small business owner, engaged with clients and interacted with volunteer teammates focused on serving the community while wanting to show up more authentically.  In both environments I observed and experienced the most common issues that challenges people in positions of authority. 

Here are the top issues the leaders I encountered are facing:

  • Leader Burnout: Leaders are working too much, expending too much time, energy and effort for far too little payoff while still not getting everything on their exhaustively long 'to do' done. 
  • Unsatisfactory Executive Team Functioning: Some executive teams are working out better than others, however, the majority of the people charged with leading the organization's executive teams are functioning at a level that neither the leader or the executive members consider optimal.
  • Very Few Committed Team Leads: Rather than words, our actions demonstrate the level of commitment to the overall task, team, and organization. In a world where distractions are at all time high, leaders must be able to demonstrate tangible and visionary benefits for folks to remain committed to their specific team or organization's tasks and mission. 
  • Boring, Unproductive Meetings: Everybody agreed that meetings were the biggest time thief and could be ran more effectively and that it was a good idea to review the frequency.

Leadership Defined

Being a leader starts with leading oneself, then others. Leadership is the lever by which every major societal issue is addressed. Whether you're thinking about education, public health, agriculture, any of the major diseases, wars, political challenges of our time, leadership is at the core of a sustainable resolution. Leadership is defined as the process of  influencing others to attain specified and unspecified goals.  People use skills and styles to become successful in different environments and circumstances. 

Sometimes the style we use is based on what we've observed rather than a clear awareness of how we want to show up in the world and the skills we actually possess. So, it's critical that we are aware of our current skills and are able to identify any specific gaps we possess as it pertains to our current job and career field. 

The approach one uses to engage with others is labeled as their style. When the person is in a position of authority, we label the manner in which they influence their staff, team, or organization to complete a task as their leadership style. 

Leadership Styles

Whether you’re leading a meeting, a project, a team or an entire department, you might consider identifying with or adopting a defined leadership style.

Most professionals develop their own style of leadership based on factors like experience and personality, as well as the unique needs of their employees, company and its organizational culture. 

Leadership styles are not one size fit all. It’s incumbent upon the leader to understand her primary leadership style. Furthermore, it's critical that she understands when it’s necessary and effective to use other approaches and styles to get things done or she may want to adopt another way of 🤔 thinking in order to influence a particular outcome.  One style is rarely effective under all circumstances or with different types of people.  While every leader is different, there are nine leadership styles commonly used in the workplace.

The nine types of leadership styles are:

  1. Transformational
  2. Transactional
  3. Servant
  4. Autocratic
  5. Laissez-Faire
  6. Democratic
  7. Bureaucratic
  8. Charismatic
  9. Situational

Click HERE to get your FREE PDF to determine which type of leader you may be.


Leadership Skills Defined

Leadership skills are the strengths and abilities individuals demonstrate when they manage processes, guide initiatives and influence their employees toward the achievement of goals. 

skill is an ability to perform an activity in a competent manner. Skills can be classified into three main types:

  • Transferable/Functional
  • Personal Traits/Attitudes
  • Knowledge-based

Sometimes we hear or see skills categorized as soft or hard.  The difference between hard vs soft skills 

The key differences between hard skills and soft skills are how they are gained and put to use in the workplace.

Hard skills are often gained through education or specific training. They include competencies like how to use a certain machine, software or other tool. Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify.

Soft skills are more often seen as personality traits you may have spent your whole life developing. They are called upon when you manage your time, communicate with other people or confront challenging situations.

Put another way, hard skills could be defined as your technical knowledge whereas soft skills are what people see you doing in the workplace. They are called upon when you manage your time, communicate with other people or confront a difficult situation for the first time. 

Leadership Skills

Whether one is an office manager or a project leader, all effective leaders require a number of soft skills to help them positively interact with employees or team members. Effective leaders have the ability to communicate well, motivate their team, handle and delegate responsibilities, listen to feedback, and have the flexibility to solve problems in an ever-changing workplace.

Whether you're starting out in an entry-level position and looking to move up the career ladder or you're seeking a promotion, your leadership skills will be among your most valuable assets.

Leadership skills are an essential component in positioning those in positions of authority to make thoughtful decisions about their organization's mission and goals, and properly allocate resources to achieve those directives. Valuable leadership skills include the ability to delegate, inspire and communicate effectively. Other leadership traits include honesty, confidence, commitment and creativity.

Here are the top ten leadership skills that make an effective leader in the workplace.

  1. Communication
  2. Motivation
  3. Delegating
  4. Positivity
  5. Trustworthiness
  6. Creativity
  7. Feedback
  8. Responsibility
  9. Commitment
  10. Flexibility 

How You Can Build Leadership Skills 

You do not need to supervise or be a manager to cultivate leadership skills. You can develop these skills on the job in the following ways: 

  • Take initiative: Look beyond the tasks in your job description. Think long-term about what would be beneficial for your department and the company. Try to brainstorm ideas and commit to doing work that goes beyond the daily routine. 
  • Request more responsibility: While you wouldn't want to ask for additional responsibility after a month on the job, once you've been in a position long enough to become an expert, you can share with your manager that you're eager to grow your leadership abilities. Ask how you can help out—are there upcoming projects that require a point person? Is there any work that you can take off of your manager's to-do list? 
  • Target specific skills: If you have a specific skill that you want to develop—whether it's conflict resolution or communication—create a plan to improve your abilities in this area. This could mean taking a class, finding a mentor to help, reading books, or setting a small goal that forces you to develop this skill. Talk to managers and co-workers, as well as people your trust outside of the office, to help develop a strategy with action steps to improve.
  • Demonstrate dependability:  Show early or on time and mentally prepared to contribute and add value to every day.  
So, what does style and skills have to do with leadership? Everything! 


Best Regards,


#thebetteruproject #leaders #leadershipstyle #womenleaders

Click HERE to get your FREE PDF to determine which type of leader you may be.


Angela M. Odom is a leadership coach and an author of BRONCO STRONG: A Memoir of the Last Deployed Personnel Services Battalion and a contributor to Camouflaged Sisters: Leadership Through The Eyes of Senior Military Women Leaders

ONLINE: ANGELA M. ODOM I Instagram I Facebook I LinkedIn I Twitter I You Tube



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