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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-04

0711-Practical Skills of Leaders

Background material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule for Year 3 PPSD session on 8th November 2007

A. COMMUNICATION:

Communication is an important skill for a leader to convey his vision and plans to the followers. Leadership failure will ensue very quickly if communication fails. Both vertical and horizontal communications are important. Vertical communication is either up-down or down-up and is between the leaders on the top and followers at the bottom. Horizontal communication is between peers. There is a need to communicate both inside and outside the organisation.

 

B. DECISION-MAKING:

Decision making and problem solving are primary managerial functions that every leader must undertake. Failure to make correct decisions on time or solving problems timely will lead to leadership failure. Timely decision making is so important that it is said that a less than perfect decision in time is better than a perfect decision that comes late. A bad decision can always be corrected by a later decision whereas there is no remedy for a missed decision.

C. PLANNING AND EXECUTION:

Leaders undertake managerial functions of planning, setting goals & objectives, and evaluation. These require both vision and technical competence. The leader need not be an expert in the technical aspects. As long as he has the vision, he can get assistance from those with the professional skills.

 

D. LEADING TEAMS:

Leaders form and lead work groups. They coordinate their work and make decisions on tasking.  A leader can not work alone. He can only produce quality work if he has a team to help him. The team must be formed, trained, and directed.

 

E. PEOPLE SKILLS:

Dealing with people involves:  conflict resolution, motivation, maintaining relations with superiors and subordinates. People or human skills are the most important of skills in leadership. A leader who is good with people can get the best out of them. Failure to handle people well leads to a distance between them and the leader. The distance could even become outright hostility and conflict. A leader who lacks people skills can not keep his team together. There will be continuous conflicts among followers with eventual break-up of the organisation.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. November, 2007