7 Essential Leadership Skills you Must Know

Leadership SkillsLeadership Skills

Today’s workplaces put a much greater emphasis on soft skills than there once was. A while back, experience and technical ability (hard skills) were more than enough to land you a reputable job. However, with the greater attention given to workplace relations, soft skills are indispensable.

Of all the soft skills you could potentially possess, leadership is the most widely sought after by employers. The highest-ranking companies look for finely-tuned leadership skills for reputable executive posts.

In fact, even for non-executive employees, good leadership potential sets the stage for being promoted to leadership roles. Well-developed leadership skills will be a tremendous asset for you, whether you are applying to an executive position, planning to move up your career ladder, or seeking promotion.

Good leadership isn’t a one-dimensional trait. It is a combination of many different personality characteristics, and some of the most important of these are discussed below:

1.   Relationship-building

The most effective teams are the most cohesive ones; after all, ‘teamwork’ should be the basis of any team. It rests on the leaders’ shoulders to ensure such cohesiveness and collaboration. Effective leaders can foster positive relationships both with their teams and among the members.

Research shows that good work relationships promote greater employee engagement. A meta-analytic review revealed that higher engagement reduced quality defects by 41%, absenteeism by 37%, and increased productivity by 21%.

Degree programs designed to polish young minds into becoming effective future leaders focus on leadership skills such as relationship management and conflict resolution.

An EdD educational leadership online, for instance, can equip you with the skills needed for educational leadership.

2.   Communication skills

Communication is one of the foundational tasks of a leader in any organization; if done right, it can lead to some of the most productive and cohesive teams. Communication is more than just a simple give and take of information; good communication’s intricacies are endless.

As a team leader, you would have to communicate through multiple modes and in various settings, from one-on-one interaction to departmental and full-staff meetings, via the phone, email, chat, video, or social media.

A leader has to communicate the organizational goals and tasks to the employees as clearly and concisely as possible to bridge the gap between the employees and the management.

Good leadership often entails an open-door policy where team members feel comfortable discussing anything and everything with their supervisors. A big part of communication is listening, and leaders should be able to address the concerns of their team members at all times.

3.   Ability to motivate employees

Unmotivated employees will work slowly, avoid tasks, waste time and resources, and ultimately cost the company more than they return. Such employees are a potential setback to the entire company. On the other hand, motivated employees have higher productivity levels, more innovation, and lower absenteeism and turnover.

Therefore, employers are always looking for leaders who can motivate their team members and get them to perform to the best of their potential. Research has shown that boosting morale is at the top of the list of motivational techniques that employees prefer. The number one complaint by employees regarding their managers was also a lack of appreciation.

Motivating your team includes rewarding good performance, setting clear and short-term targets, giving team members autonomy, and creating a welcoming workplace environment.

4.   Decision-making

Decision-making is part and parcel of any leadership post, and many critical and impactful decisions rest on the leaders’ shoulders. In fact, to a great extent, the company’s success depends on effective long-term and short-term decisions on your part.

One key leadership skill is thus effective decision-making and the ability to stand by these decisions. At the same time, you need to adapt according to any changes in circumstances.

As a part of your decision-making role, you may occasionally encounter the challenging task of executing unfavorable but necessary decisions. This is where your soft side needs to take a back seat, and you must make clear and decisive choices for your team.

5.   Conflict management

The American Management Association reports that managers spend 24% of their time resolving conflict. Conflict is inevitable in any group setting because no two people think alike, and disagreements are likely to arise where there are differences of opinion.

Whenever such a situation arises, a leader should be able to mitigate it and prevent lasting or significant negative impacts on the organization. Good conflict management also reflects the ability to identify and foresee a conflict, exhibit emotional intelligence, practice active listening, negotiate, and exercise effective problem-solving.

Unfortunately, a study revealed that nearly 60% of employees in the United States had no conflict management training.

6.   Critical thinking

When making decisions for the organization, you will be short on time; also, when it comes to the crunch, many of your decisions will have long-lasting implications for the organization. During such times, critical thinking skills are one of your biggest assets.

Critical thinking is the ability to draw logical connections between concepts or data and to reason clearly. Critical thinking isn’t something you are born with; this is good news since it is possible to foster this skill through training.

The process of good critical thinking usually involves three steps. First, you frame the problem and break it into less complex components. Then, you explore all potential solutions with an open mind without relying solely on intuition. Lastly, you decide between the alternatives you have listed.

7.   Creativity

Innovative leaders are the greatest asset for any company; with intense competition in every sector today, unique ideas sell. They help the organization gain a competitive edge over others in the market.

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Creative leaders take a new approach to problem-solving, think out of the box, and inspire change. In addition to being innovative on their end, effective leaders should be able to inspire creativity in their team members by encouraging them to express their ideas, no matter how unusual they are.

Final Words:

With great power comes great responsibility; any leadership post in an organization comes with both power and responsibility. You will need certain leadership skills under your belt to put this power to good use and perform well in your role.

Foster your relationship-building, communication, ability to motivate subordinates, decision-making, and creativity. These skills will make you an excellent candidate for any leadership post.

This post was last modified on July 20, 2023 5:55 PM

Categories: Business