Creating a good leader in a bad recession

Leadership has grown especially important given economic conditions. Strong leaders can help bring out the best in their workers, even without the ability to provide financial benefits or other forms of compensation or perks.

“The best companies for developing leaders recognize the value of strong leadership in both the good times and the bad,” John Larrere, who heads Hay Group's leadership and talent practice in the U.S., told Businessweek. “Culturally they just cannot do away with leadership development, even in a recession. They don't see it as a perk but as a necessity.”

A number of entrepreneurs think that leadership skills are unique, that there are people who are “natural-born” leaders. While some may be more predisposed to these qualities, anyone can be a leader and everyone has abilities latently – it's often just a matter of being able to bring them out. It's possible for people to evolve and transform into a better leader, it may just take more work for some than others.

The value of these management skills should go without saying. Simply put, to effectively run a company or department, it's crucial that management work on their leadership abilities when possible.

“Leadership skills are valuable in every crack and crevice of life,” Business Know-How explains. “A leader approaches problem-solving with an eye on the future. Whether you’re leading yourself, your family or a vast enterprise, it is important to develop the skills necessary to move forward with confidence.”

Developing leadership skills

There are a variety of means to develop your leadership skills, and many a book has been written on the subject. Ultimately, there is no one specific best way to evolve management abilities. However, there are a couple of best practices that a number of executives have used to help become better leaders for their employees.

First and foremost, it's vital that business owners and department heads manage their reputation. No one wants to work for someone with a poor reputation and that can lead to declines in production and efficiency. Try to be known as an innovator within a company and people will naturally be more inclined to follow your lead or consider your advice.

Additionally, managers need to realize that leadership skills can always be developed – there is no peak from which executives can no longer climb. Continuous improvement is the mindset leaders should have, and it will help to always keep them on their toes by seeking out new information and ways to develop.