Effective Management and Leadership Not everyone is a born leader or cut out to be in upper management. Developing these skills can be quite difficult, but not impossible. All you need is drive, focus, powerful motivators and a plan. From the time we are born, we begin to set goals for ourselves. At first, these goals are as simple as being fed and changed when needed. To achieve this, we cry until a parent or caregiver comes to fulfill this need. Our next goals are a bit more complicated – we want to get to the other side of the room. As we grow, our goals become bigger. Some people settle into a comfortable routine, just getting by, but others continue to aim higher. If you don't have the inner drive to achieve these goals, there are plenty of management and leadership courses available to teach you how to become an effective leader. These courses do two things: teach you how to be a leader by identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and teach you how to develop a plan. After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream. When you first started to walk, you didn't just get up and start walking. You had a plan as to how you would get your bottom up off the floor. You saw a table and thought, "If I can hold onto that table, I will be able to pull myself up." Maybe you don't remember these thoughts, but as sure as you are walking today, you know that at one point in your life, you had to take your first step. Effective management and leadership are no different – you have to take that first step in order to succeed. Leadership courses will benefit you by: Identifying leadership strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to your career through self-assessment and feedback from your colleagues. Identify the importance of mentors, colleagues and various networks involved in achieving your goal. Examine why or how changing your personal preferences or habits might be necessary to realize your goal. Teaching you to create and execute a development plan. Showing you how to apply what you have learned to reap the most rewards. Once you become a leader, you have an abundance of opportunities at your fingertips to help you continue to develop skills and leadership abilities. You will be able to reshape your plan, examine current practices and add more skills to your list of accomplishes. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to evaluate your team in order to examine each member's strengths to ensure they are in the position most suited to their skills. Every leader needs the support of a strong team. The main reason many people fail in management and leadership roles is because they fall back into old habits. Changing the way you lead and manage a project can be difficult, especially in a fast paced environment. This is where focus really comes into play – see the goal, but don't lose sight of the steps in between. It is also vital to instill this way of thinking into the minds of every member of your support network, and most importantly, your immediate team members. Like the old saying goes, "There is no I in team," well there is no I in leader either. It is critical to utilize the minds and talents of colleagues, networks and mentors as much as possible. This does not mean take advantage of people, just make sure everyone has the opportunity to grow, learn and express their ideas. This will help you grow and learn, as well. Management and leadership skills can be difficult to master. It can be very difficult to continually sustain a new way of thinking or a new way of managing a project. Over time, this should become easier. It's just like starting an exercise program or healthy lifestyle. The changes might seem drastic and impossible at first, but you will adjust and before long, it will be like second nature. The most important thing to remember is that if this is a goal you really want to achieve, then you can not give up. Keep striving to be the best leader you can be, and you will succeed.