Top 18 Leadership Skills to Stay Top in Your Career
This post provides exhaustive information on the leadership skills and qualities you need to have to achieve success in your career.
The future of every business and non-business organization lies in the strength and vision of the leaders of the organization.
The more the quality of leadership skills possessed by the leaders of a company, the greater and better their output will be in the industry.
Leadership is one factor in the growth or downfall of any business and not-for-profit organizations.
The role of leadership cannot be overstated. The greatest aspect of leadership is to control the minds of the subordinates in a way to achieving a desired goal.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is the ability to influence, organize, and control people into embarking on a goal, and achieving it both in the short and long run.
Leadership is geared towards bringing out the best output from the team.
Leadership is applicable to every business and industry. So it is inevitable and its importance is not debatable in any business or industry.
Here are top 18 leadership skills and qualities to have to stay top on your job, career, and personal life:
Delegation helps to bring out the best in people, giving them the opportunity to handle responsibilities. This is what constitutes delegation.
Sometimes, you can’t really ascertain what people can do until you assign certain duties to them. Delegation is part of leadership skill needed to manage people.
Delegating people to carry out some functions is a way of giving them the impression that you believe in their abilities and telling them that you believe in what they can do.
Delegation has the ability to build confidence in people in the workplace. When you show faith in people, you exhibit through delegation of duties, though you have to be patient with their imminent mistakes, especially if that’s their first time of handling such duties assigned to them.
Delegation can also help minimize stress in the workplace. You can’t perform all duties in your team all alone. It is detrimental to the growth of your team and it is not good for you.
It can cause burn out as well as mutiny in the workplace. You can bring out the best in your team through delegation.
Coaching is a huge aspect of leadership that cannot be ignored. A leader is a potential coach.
That’s why in many organizations, one aspect of leadership is the ability to coach or transfer useful knowledge from old staffs to new ones through periodic trainings, workshop, and seminars.
The role of coaching in workplace has the ability to reduce repetitive errors in the process of job execution. This is very important because errors prevail where there’s no proper coaching.
Coaches teach, correct, and inculcate strict discipline in the workplace.
The realization of future goals of a business is largely dependent on the coaching skills of the managers.
Through coaching, ideas and information are planted in the minds of the led in the workplace.
Coaching skills are highly needed in the workplace to make growth feasible.
Leaders are coaches.
3. Communication Skills
To be a good leader in the workplace means you have to be effective communicating with members of your team.
In people management, how you communicate with others in the workplace is very necessary and also delicate.
It is very delicate in the sense that both the words spoken and the body language should not breed suspicion or mutiny within the team.
Even as a leader in a workplace, part of your job is to communicate effectively with the people you are overseeing, not just for them to listen but also to give their views on areas they are struggling to meet up.
Communication is vital in guiding a team because without it no bond can be established.
And when there’s no bond, relationship in the workplace become frail and shaky and with that progress is a mere daydream.
As a Leader, learn to communicate effectively with people in the team. It matters a lot more than you think.
Communication goes a long way to establishing proper synergy in the workplace.
Ability to coordinate people in the workplace is not possible without proper communication.
Communication relays the mind of the leader to the team and also among members of a team.
Empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of others to understand how they feel in a given circumstance.
Though you might have a different notion about a situation, it is important to prioritize the feelings of others in a matter to be able to relate with them in a circumstance like that.
Empathizing with people is a veritable tool in leading people. People tend to feel freer with those who tend to understand and respect their feelings always.
It is a show of disrespect not to empathize with the members of the team. Also, it is a sign of selfishness in the eyes of the team.
Being empathetic will make you the leader who identifies with the struggles of colleagues and help them find possible solutions to their problems.
This is what empathy is all about, nothing more nothing less. Leading people is not possible without empathy. You should not just be a boss to your team members; also be a friend to them.
Empathy works with patience. Understand that different people in the team have different learning abilities and different learning speed.
Patience is needed in this context. Though we are conscious of time, but patience is key in human development.
Remove patience and the leader can misjudge the members of his/her team.
This is an important skill every leader should possess. When training and managing people, you have to be tolerant with their ego, pattern of reasoning, their weaknesses, and their speed of learning.
Sometimes, you have to look beyond their immediate weaknesses and give them the confidence to push ahead.
Without patience you might misunderstand actions and intents of people you are leading.
Growth may not be fast as you expect and sometimes people you are leading can still perform below your expectations as a leader.
Motivate them and give them a reason to continue pushing for the best.
6. Rational Judgment
As someone leading a team, one of the difficult tasks you will face is the idea of making rational judgment.
Making judgments is very necessary and critical in people management. This is because one wrong judgment can dent a reputation built over the years in business.
To make good judgments requires careful analysis and consideration of the matter at hand.
Do not be in a haste to draw judgment, especially when emotions are high either from team or you.
This is a show of maturity in leadership. Sometimes, it is better to delay judgment than to make hasty ones.
One thing that facilitates rational judgment is to avoid sentiments in judgment.
A lot of people managing the affairs of people have failed woefully in this aspect.
They allow their sentiments to becloud their sense of judgment hence making wrong judgment.
Scarcely do you make the right judgment out of sentiments.
7. Goal Setting
Goal setting goes a long way to help manage the activities of people. This gives you both short term and long term goal to be achieved with the team in the workplace.
This saves you from unnecessary distractions and prevents mismanagement of time in carrying out activities that are not so relevant to the achievement of the goals of the team.
When short term goals are set, it helps in the organization and prioritization of jobs in the team.
Setting goals helps in proper planning of activities that take place in the workplace.
In goal setting, steps, processes, and all factors needed for the realization of the team’s goals are put under consideration to mix all and produce the desired result.
Goal setting is necessary for the reduction of wastage of not just time but other resources.
As a leader, communicate the goal of the group or team for all to understand and contribute their best towards the achievement of the said goal.
A team without a target or goal has nothing to work for.
Approachability is a very important aspect of leadership. There is a reason why you are the leader of that team.
To be a leader demands that you are available to the members of your team at all times to help them overcome their challenges.
Friendliness is the key factor here. When you are friendly, you become approachable to the members of your team.
It is a bad idea to feel that you don’t need to be close to the members of your team.
What exactly will happen when you are not approachable as a team leader?
This is what happens: you will not be able to know the struggles the members of your team are passing through, and also, they may not be able to follow you in terms of understanding your intents for the group.
To be approachable, you have to be friendly with everyone.
As a leader, learn to smile. Being a friendly character in your team does not make you less a leader.
Some people have the notion that being friendly as a leader reduces your respect, but that’s not completely true. It only happens when it becomes excessive.
In leadership, there’s no general consensus as to what the ideal leadership should be.
So, understand your style of leadership naturally and work to make it better.
Working based on other people’s style of leadership may not favor you and the team in the long run.
So, be yourself and be confident in your natural abilities and improve on them.
Are we encouraging a stereotype kind of leadership? No, but here’s the thing: individual has his/her own leadership qualities which can be improved upon to help the team.
If one leader has a particular style of leadership, it does not make him/her to be an inferior leader to the one who has a totally different style of leadership.
Deciding the style of leadership to use should be a function of the type of team you have.
Again, no style of leadership is superior to the other. Just a little more improvement on your natural leadership abilities can give you exactly what your team needs to succeed.
Discipline is the hallmark of a true leader. Imagine a team without discipline, or worse still, imagine a team with a leader that lacks discipline.
Discipline first starts with the leader. To be an exemplary leader is to be able to set examples for the team to follow.
A team leader is a pace setter and not a commander. To be a leader demands that you do all within your powers to make sure not to break the rules binding the group together.
Discipline can also be for the members of the team. It is the business of the leader to maintain discipline in the workplace. This is needful to minimize carelessness.
When people in the workplace are allowed to do whatever they want, it is a sign of failure on the part of the leader to instill discipline.
Every leader should be accountable to the team or colleagues. This is important for both the growth and unity of the team.
Accountability is a sign of responsibility and not a sign of weakness or timidity on the part of the leader.
Accountability should not be an option for a leader.
Periodically, a leader is expected to render account of his/her services or office to the people he/she is leading.
A responsible leader sees this as a necessity. Sometimes, your subordinates or your team members may not be courageous enough to tell you about it, but be rest assured that they really want you to be accountable.
Furthermore, accountability is a way of showing members of your team that you respect them.
There is nobody that doesn’t want to be respected in a team no matter their capacity or role. So, when a leader renders an account of his/her office, the team members feel a sense of value.
12. Organizational Skills
Organizational skill is a core skill needed to be a successful leader in the workplace.
There’s a reason you are made a leader and one of things you will be required to do is to coordinate or organize the flow of activities within the organization.
Failure to do this is equivalent to failure in leadership.
Human beings are difficult to coordinate or organize; however, it is not impossible to organize them to achieve certain goals. It only requires organizational skill.
To succeed in organizing people in the workplace, the leader needs personal planning.
A good leader has the ability to coordinate their activities before directing members of their team to do same.
This is important as the failure or the growth of every business is heavily reliant on the organizational ability of the leader of every team.
13. Positive Mindset
A good leader ought to have a positive mindset always. Imagine a team with a leader that sees and speaks negativities. Imagine a team with a leader without motivation.
What would be the state of that team both in short and long run? The answer is simple: commitment and enthusiasm of the team will keep going down.
To sustain the purpose of a team demands a lot of positivity from the leader. A manager must learn not to allow fear or negativity in the heart and mind of the team.
Every other person can be negative but definitely not the leader, because if he/she exhibits negativity, the team cannot succeed in its tasks.
Positive mindset sets the part for motivation. When a leader is positive about a team, he finds a reason to be motivated.
And this motivation is what keeps him/her going, likewise the team.
There may be a thousand and one reasons to be negative considering circumstances on ground, but there’s always that one reason to stay positive. So, choose to be positive.
To be an effective leader demands that you be someone who keeps developing and learning new things every day.
It is not a credit to any leader that he/she does not change his/her pattern, or does not make effort to bring in new ideas to his/her leadership.
This is not stability at all but lack of self-development.
A leader needs to build capacity that can help him/her develop the team he/she is leading. This is important.
A leader cannot give what he/she does not have; neither can he/she take the team beyond his/her level of understanding or abilities.
No wonder it is a regular occurrence in sports teams for the manager to face the sack if the team is not performing well.
Self-development is the bedrock of the personal achievement of any manager who intends attaining unimaginable heights in his/her job.
This cannot be over stressed or overemphasized. Self-development remains a veritable tool to drive the goal of a team, starting from the leader of the team.
15. Decision Making
Decision making skill is the ability to choose between available options based on realistic factors.
We are faced with problems demanding decisions in the workplace every day.
So the ability to make rational decisions at every given time is an important skill a leader must have.
Ability to make the right decisions at all times is what basically differentiates an experienced and knowledgeable leader from an amateur.
Before making decisions as a leader, past events and future goals of the team need to be taken into account.
It is wrong to make choices of what should be based on assumptions. This is a crucial part of a leader’s role.
A leader that wants to be on top in the workplace must be able to make the right decisions that will yield the desired results for the team.
Ability to make right decisions is largely dependent on experience. In all facets of life, experience counts.
Experts are what they are because of their wealth of experience on the job over a long period of time. Business is not an exception.
So, this implies that for a leader to make rational or accurate decisions that have to do with the business, he/she needs wealth of experience to increase his/her chances of making correct decisions.
Motivation is important to the growth of a team in the workplace. Motivation drives the team, especially the leader.
It is impossible to achieve the goal of the team without the needed motivation.
Motivation has no replacement in the performance level of a team. This is true in no matter the business or project under consideration.
To be motivated is to be energized to do work in the workplace. If a team must keep moving in their daily job, then there’s every need for the leader to keep the team motivated.
This motivation can come in the form of soothing words, positive challenge from the leader, as well as little incentives.
Incentives are very powerful tool to keep a team motivated.
The greatest aspect of motivation of a team is the motivation of the leader.
A motivated leader is an energized leader, and a leader that’s not motivated in what he/she does cannot lead a team of workers to the desired heights.
However, personal motivation stands the test of time because discouragement can come even from the team.
So, in such a case what can keep the leader moving is his/her personal motivation.
A successful team thrives under the leadership of a leader who can think outside the box at all times.
This benefits the team always because in any case, they have a capable leader who can make out something almost out of nothing and has the ability to turn around negative atmosphere in the team due to his/her creative ability.
A leader also encourages people in the workplace to think outside the box.
This will not only keep the business afloat, but also keeps it at the top.
The major difference between the growing enterprises in the business world and those that are not growing is the presence of creative heads in the leadership.
The death of an organization begins when a leader can no longer bring creative ideas to the table to combat the ever rising changes in the industry.
This is a very sad situation. To keep a team going and overcoming challenges demands a lot of creativity from the leader.
Influence is that special ability a leader has to make colleagues follow his/her directives without the use of force. This is no mean achievement.
Every leader that wants to stay top in his/her business must be able to come to the point where without compulsion he/she has enough influence to make his/her team members work and do what they ought to do.
To rise to any occasion demands that the leader develops him or herself well above every member in the team.
People don’t follow you when they can’t see any difference in their abilities and yours.
They want to learn from you, they want to know the secret of your success.
That’s where your influence as a leader becomes paramount.
The influence a leader wields over the members of his/her team can go a long way to determining the attitude of the team members.
Another way to increase influence is to be someone with a lot of integrity to show.
Lack of integrity reduces your chances of having influence over your subordinates in the workplace.
Leadership Skills for Resume
If you are seeking a leadership position and are writing a resume, you can create a powerful core competence or skills section by applying some or all of the leadership skills and qualities shared above.
However, you must really have the above skills and qualities before you can use them in your resume, which means that you need to develop them first.
Recruiters will more likely be interested in reading your resume and going ahead to inviting you to an interview for a leadership position if they read from your resume that you have the qualities and skills stated above, because it means that you will be successful on the job.
Leadership is not for the chicken hearted. This is a true statement owing to the fact that leadership is the arrowhead of any organization and stands at the forefront of the competition obtainable in the business world.
To be effective in leadership demands that you possess the above explained skills and qualities.
They are necessary in your quest to climb to the top of the ladder in your career, as well as achieving success in your personal life.