Leadership is not just a job position or title. Being a leader is about inspiring people and leading them to success. There are several good leadership qualities that can make anyone an extraordinary leader. It is a challenge to lead several people and motivate them to accomplish a goal, but with the right skills and an undying determination, leaders are able to drive change in the hearts of their team members.
Such soft skills are also highly sought after by employers. Read on to find out what are the various soft skills that can turn any ordinary team leader into an extremely respectable mentor.
What are leadership skills?
Any leadership role comes with its share of responsibilities. Such a critical position requires one to possess certain qualities in order to be successful. These are classified as leadership skills. Some effective leadership skills include strategic thinking, people management, and confidence.
How do Leadership skills help in career development?
Whether you are working in an executive, managerial, or supervisory position or aspire to do so, you have to work on improving your leadership skills. These soft skills are essential for the advancement of your career. Going through a leadership development training program will help you stand out from the competitors. It will also improve the quality of relationships that you have with people, which is crucial for creating a strong professional network.
Some skills that make a strong leader include
Leadership can only be perfected with time and experience. Being a leader requires one to develop leadership skills that are included below.
- Being an active listener
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Positive attitude
- Good at communication
- Relationship building
- Ability to teach
What makes a good leader?
There is no defined way to be a good leader. One has to be good at adapting according to the situation. Since a lot of responsibility lies on them, a leader has to be focused and honest. They need to have confidence in their own beliefs and have what it takes to make difficult choices. Other important leadership skills are having a clear vision, being good motivators, and having a strong ability to judge people. They need to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of their subordinates.
Top leadership skills
If you are looking for various ways to advance your career, you must work on the following good leadership qualities that are essential in the workplace-
- Decision making
Being able to make important decisions quickly is a trademark of a strong leader. This is a quality that can only be perfected with time and experience. A decisive leader can improve the efficiency of the team’s operations. Some leadership strengths that can improve your decision-making ability are-
- Being good at solving problems
- Taking initiative
- Good at research and evaluation
Every company aspires to have a strong positive image. The integrity and values of leaders are crucial to ensure that they make only ethical decisions that do not harm the image of the organization. A leadership skills list that can help bring integrity in the workplace-
- Interpersonal relations
- Social activities
- Active listening
- Ability to solve problems
Several challenges may come up during the operations. This is why the team leader must be great at problem-solving in order to ensure a smooth and hassle-free flow. Some qualities of a leader who is an excellent problem-solver-
- Critical thinking
- Analytical and research skills
- Ability to make quick decisions
The team leader has to set a high standard for the members by displaying exemplary behavior. They need to be dependable and follow through with the promises that they make. They need to-
- Set realistic and achievable goals
- Have integrity
- Meet deadlines
- Take initiative
- Pay attention to details
- Be loyal and truthful
- Be a good teacher
It is crucial for the mentor to patiently and effectively teach their subordinates. Some important leadership skills that make a leader a good teacher are-
- Able to recognize
- Understand the differences between employees
- Positive reinforcement
- Active listening
- Good at storytelling
- Being clear and concise
- Excellent at communication
It is important for the leader to be able to convey their ideas and instructions to the team in the best possible way. The flow of information between the team members and the leaders has to be consistent and clear. The following traits make a leader good at communicating-
- Active listening
- Facilitating group conversations
- Nonverbal communication
- Public speaking
- Reading body language
- Removing any ambiguity
- Verbal communication
- Written communication
- Deputing tasks and responsibilities
A good leader never tries to take all the responsibility into their own hands but rather delegate it properly to the respective team members. They are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and assign them tasks as per that.
- Accepting feedback from employees
- Allotting resources for employees
- Assessing employee strengths and weaknesses
- Defining expectations
- Evaluating employee performance
- Identifying measurable outcomes
- Matching the task to the right employee
- Prioritizing tasks
- Setting expectations
- Time management
- Trust in employees
- Have a positive mindset
Creating a positive environment for the members is also the responsibility of the leader. They are responsible for boosting the morale of the employees and help the team members get through stressful situations. To keep a positive mindset, you need to possess the following qualities-
- Conflict management
- Developing rapport
The reliability of the leader is crucial to earn the respect of the team members. They need to be honest and open to any concerns or queries. The following leadership skills encourage reliability:
- Ability to apologize
- Business ethics
- Consistent behavior
- Emotional intelligence
- Moral compass
- Think outside the box
As a leader, you are expected to come up with creative solutions for issues that might be affecting the performance of your time. This requires you to possess the following leadership qualities -
- Cognitive flexibility
- Critical thinking
- Embracing different cultural perspectives
- Identifying patterns
- Listening to others’ ideas
- Making abstract connections
- Sound judgment
Leadership styles to consider
- Coach- A leader pays attention to the strengths and weaknesses of every individual team member follows the coach leader style. This involves providing regular feedback and encouragement to the team members. A coach helps the team members in setting smart goals and accomplishing them.
- Visionary- Visionaries lead the team by creating a bond and a trusting relationship with the team members. Such a person has the best leadership qualities for forming a strong organizational bond within the employees.
- Servant- These are the most respected type of leaders as they tend to put the satisfaction of the people first. They are great at re-kindling the motivation in the team members and improving their morale.
- Autocratic- Contrary to the servant style, the autocratic leaders focus solely on the results. They aim at maximizing the efficiency of the team and have strict guidelines that the team members have to adhere to.
- Hands off- When the team members are well-experienced and do not require much oversight, the leader can adopt the hands-off style, which involves delegating most of the work to the members.
- Participative- This involves the participation of the team members to provide input in various decisions. This style encourages creativity, critical thinking, and engagement.
- Transformational- Just like the coach style, this style also focuses on motivating the team members to achieve the goals of the organization.
- Transactional- This style works on a reward-punishment model.
- Bureaucratic- The bureaucratic leaders have a set of specific rules for all the members that they require to follow.
- Pacesetter- Pacesetter style yields fast results as the team is held accountable. This style works best for a fast-paced industry.
How to identify your leadership style
Now that you are aware of all the great leadership styles that exist, you can figure out your own style.
- Observe how you lead. What do you prioritize- results or people? Analyze how you lead people.
- Find out all the characteristics of your leadership style. This could include how good you are at delegating, whether you can produce timely results and how engaged your team is etc.
- You also need to decide if the current style is working well for you or if you need to turn some things around. Find out which style works the best for you by trying out new strategies and observing their effects on your team.
How to develop your leadership skills?
- Look for resources about leadership- There are several self-help books available that talk about leadership qualities and how to develop them. You can also read about various great leaders and take lessons from their lives. Many podcasts also talk of such leadership skills and effective ways to inculcate them in your life.
- Attend workshops and training courses- There are plenty of leadership development training courses that you can attend. These sessions help you develop such skills through activities such as role-playing.
- Look for leadership opportunities everywhere- If you are not in a leadership position, there is a high chance that you might not get enough opportunities to work on your leadership skills. This is why you need to find opportunities outside of work, such as organizing events or casual outings with your coworkers.
How to develop your leadership skills outside of work?
- Join leadership courses- There are several online and offline courses that specialize in teaching people about leadership. Enroll in one such course and learn effective leadership qualities that will help you become a successful leader.
- Join an existing group- Join an existing group as a leader and practice your skills to bring improvement in their performance.
- Start a new team- You can practice your leadership skills by forming a group of your own and engaging in team-building activities such as competitive sports.
- Be observant- Whenever you come across someone who is an exceptional leader, make sure you pay attention to the qualities that make them so great. Observe their leadership style and try to achieve that in your life.
- Learn from an expert- The best way to develop leadership skills is to learn from a mentor. Find a leader you admire and request them to help you develop these qualities.
How to highlight leadership skills when applying for jobs?
Many employers prefer candidates with a strong background in leadership roles.
- Leadership skills to include in a resume- The skills and achievement section of your resume should speak of your leadership skills and any relevant role that you have played.
- Highlighting leadership skills in a cover letter- Whenever you apply for a job, make sure that your cover letter includes all your top leadership qualities and experiences. Since this is your first chance to come across as a strong candidate, make sure to include every role that proves that you are capable of being a successful leader.