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5 Reasons we don’t think that Leadership is basic Common Sense

Voltaire said: “Common Sense is not so common.” Leadership can literally transform companies and yes even nations. It depends on the type of leadership style, the followers and the situations the leader is faced with. Many argue that leadership is common sense, but considering all the aspects, is it really? 

No matter how you look at it, leading is hard to do.  Throughout The Mindspa Institute’s Develop Your Leadership courses, we have encountered many team leaders and managers lacking leadership skills. Leaders and their particular set of skills don’t always fit into all situations and arenas. 

If you look at a leader of an orchestra versus a leader of a military team, you will clearly see that different leaders have different leadership skills and styles pertaining to what they need when leading their specific team. The key is to develop skills that will assist you to become a leader in that specific job or situation, but also a leader who is willing to adapt, make the right decisions and are self-aware.

Let’s dissect the term common sense. According to the Collins dictionary, common sense can be explained as “your natural ability to make good judgments and to behave in a practical and sensible way.”? Here are our five reasons:

  1. Good judgement is not common sense. In our opinion it is a set of skills that you learn over time, but it also involves knowing who you are. It involves skills you need to be able to determine the context within which certain decisions and actions are made.  Without teaching, influencing and fostering the right combination of skills, ethics and experience in managers and leaders, good judgement is a hard skill to master. 
  2. Is being practical and being sensible a skill you can learn? We often read about Practical Leadership. Many articles explain that simply standing up and taking the lead in situations while others follow is a sign of Practical Leadership. This might be true to some extent, but becoming practical and sensible, specifically in time and stress, or change or diversity management takes requires leaders to acquire a set up skills to teach them critical thinking to make sensible decisions in order to create actions that are practical. 
  3. Self-discovery and emotional intelligence is definitely not common sense. To be good leaders in any workplace and occupation, self-awareness and truly connecting to your inner self, gives you confidence to lead with empathy. Sometimes self-discovery and self-control over emotional states can take a while. Certain circumstances and situations mold you. Mentors change your perceptions and help you reinvent yourself. Through developing skills, leaders discover who they are and what they are capable of. Not everyone knows exactly their strengths and weaknesses – is it common sense.
  4. Good leadership requires continuous up-skilling to stay with the changing times and diversification of the workplace. Followers differ in personality and in what their needs are. People are complicated and each generation brings their own challenges. Leaders should keep up with trends and be consistent in sharpening their skills. 
  5. Leadership roles change. As leaders climb the corporate ladder, their level of leadership skills are challenged by the type of people they need to lead, their competitors, the decisions they need to make and the actions they need to take. A supervisor needs a different set of leadership skills to manage his or her team than say an owner of a business who either have to manage all different departments him or herself or who need to constantly stay on top of managing trends and product development etc.  

The Mindspa Institute is a preferred training partner to a lot of South African Businesses. We cover a wide range of skills development courses. Our Develop Your Leadership course will provide delegates with the knowledge and know-how, to ensure sustainable successful leadership and management into the future and help them to be smart with people.