Trying to develop practical leadership skills? Check out our leadership skills list how to improve them to improve your leadership game.
No matter where you are on the career ladder, there's a chance that one day you'll have to step into a leadership role. Maybe you're applying for a leadership role. Perhaps you're seeking a promotion at work. Possibly you're already in a leadership position, and you want to improve your performance. No matter the reason, it's essential to understand useful leadership skills.
Examples of Effective Leadership Skills
Being in the position of leader doesn't automatically mean that you can take charge of a group of people. Your strengths and weaknesses will affect just how well you can lead your team, no matter the size. Following is our leadership skills list for skills that everyone should have in their toolbox.
Nothing in business would ever be complete without discussion. It takes talking to each other to understand just what tasks are on the table, who's going to do it, and when the deadline is for everyone finishing their jobs. As a leader, you'll need to handle communicating in one-on-one and group conversations, as well as any electronic media your work requires.
Good communicators understand how to manage their word choices and tone of voice to convey their meaning. They also know when it's time to listen. Staff will be much happier with a leader to considers their opinions and expresses assignments correctly than someone who says the bare minimum and never gives employees the time of day.
While verbal communication is important, leaders should also be aware of non-verbal communication for both parties. They should open their body language to put workers at ease while learning what they can from employees' nonverbal cues to better understand the situation.
Leading people is about much more than giving instructions—it's also about giving your team members the opportunity to be the best they can be. This skill can involve observing your subordinates to be aware of their weaknesses and then use that information to help them improve. Some employees need help with necessary work skills; others want to move forward in their careers.
Your job is to help them all to the best of your ability. You may provide employees with training yourself, or you may guide them to the prime opportunities. In effect, you will be acting as both trainer and cheerleader, helping employees grow while encouraging them to move forward.
A leader cannot be a passive element in the workplace. A good leader not only is goal-oriented, but they also set goals, make plans, and take steps to achieve them. Whenever good opportunities come by, it is your job to capitalize on them. This responsibility can mean taking advantage of occasions for the benefit of your team and business.
Being proactive isn't all about making good things happen—it's also about preventing adverse outcomes. You need to be able to identify potential threats and act to stop them. If a risk isn't avoidable, you should take steps to minimize the impact it will have on your workplace.
A leader must inspire workers to go the extra mile. While some may think that a fair way for services is enough motivation for employees, that is often not enough to enable genuinely excelling work from staff. There are many ways to improve employee motivation, such as new work opportunities and rewards. You need to find what works best for your team
Besides inspiriting motivation in others, you must also be a motivated individual. No one is likely to feel inspired to put in the effort if you don't do so yourself. It is important to lead your team by example; your ambitions will fuel each other into further success.
Subordinates should understand just what leaders expect from them, so you then must provide that direction. This duty involves much more than telling someone to complete a specific task by a set date. You must take the time to provide clear instructions, especially when it comes to critical or complicated tasks.
Direction can also involve providing additional guidance when someone asks for it. You also need to prepare yourself to give instruction and mentorship whenever an employee requires any. Sometimes, you may have to provide thorough planning with directions. You must also keep a positive attitude with your team as they work through their tasks, even if someone is struggling.
As a leader, you may not always be at the very top of the food chain, but you will be above your specific team—and that means you must organize effectively. Unlike team members, who are responsible for their actions, you are responsible for several people, as well as any events that fall under your jurisdiction. A lack of organizational skills can create chaos.
Some people are natural organizers who understand just what it takes to keep everything in line. If you are not one of those people, that does not in any way disqualify you from being an active leader. Many organization techniques and methods fit a variety of personality types you can learn, plus organizational software can help manage several workplace responsibilities.
Being a leader is an exciting position where you are simultaneously in charge of everything, but you do not have to do everything. That is not to say that leaders do not need to take care of tasks (see motivation), only that they need to be smart about which jobs they handle and which functions they give to others.
Many people see delegating tasks to others as a weakness when it is anything but that. In fact, knowing when to delegate tasks to others so that all jobs are complete and taking care when selecting who to give which task to are useful leadership skills. By transferring responsibility to others, you are making sure you do not take on more work than you can handle while also proving you understand your team's strengths and weaknesses.
How to Develop These Skills
While it's great to have a list of examples, it's also important to know how to develop them. Even when you know useful leadership skills, they can be difficult to put into practice. Some techniques to build these skills include:
- Self-Analyze: Before you begin moving forward, you need to understand where you are starting. Look over this leadership skills list and other collections. You can even include elements that you've seen in leaders that inspire you. You'll want to honestly assess yourself on each. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you improve?
- Take a Leadership Test: If you're having trouble identifying your skills (or lack thereof), take a leadership test. Many online quizzes will help you determine your leadership type as well as determine which skills you need to develop further.
- Create a Clear Vision: Sometimes an honest self-analysis can leave you feeling discouraged. You may not be your own ideal leader, but you can use that vision as a goal. Determine what type of leader you want to be—someone who communicates effectively? Someone who builds strong relationships with your subordinates?—and use that vision to drive you forward.
- Plan for Success: Once you have a clear vision of what kind of leader you want to be, you shouldn't stop there. Start planning for how can reach your ideal leadership level. Outline what areas you're going to improve on and list specific tasks to get there. You'll be setting yourself up to success while practicing that essential proactivity.
- Keep a Journal: A helpful tool in developing leadership skills is a work journal. You can keep track of the goals you've been building through this list. You can also record any situations where you felt like you should have handled it differently as a leader or when your team achieved success. That way you have a handy reminder of your efforts—plus it's an inexpensive and simple option to start improving.
- Be Passionate: Passion is an attractive trait for any leader to have, as it shows your drive and helps encourage others to do the same. Start taking steps to show how passionate you are about your work, inspire others, and thanking team members for their contributions.
- Take a Class: Sometimes, a little self-study is all it takes to get a handle on a new skill. In other cases, you may need outside guidance. Much like delegating tasks, there is no shame in a leader reaching out to others for help and coaching. Taking classes to develop your skills shows your commitment to improving yourself. Several courses are even online, so you can work them into your schedule.
These are just some of the options you have for developing practical leadership skills. On your journey for self-improvement, you will likely come across which methods work for you—and many others that don't.
Don't feel as if you need to use every method to become a successful leader. Much like motivating your team, find a strategy that helps you and stick to it. You'll be showing off your leadership skills in no time.