Browse entries on any job listing website and you’re bound to find a number of ‘leadership skills’ scattered throughout. The keys requirements for many positions. And, despite what the name of this group of soft skills may denote. It’s likely that you’ll find that they’re called for in far more than what we typically view as leadership positions. With competencies like listening, effective communication and positivity being identified as leadership skills. The requirements are broad and, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), lacking in many candidates.
What are leadership skills?
Simply put, leadership skills are the skills necessary to motivate and coordinate a group of individuals. This is done in a way that will drive them to meet a particular goal. You may be thinking that this definition is really wide – and you’d be right. Unlike hard or technical skills (e.g. machine operation or language knowledge), soft skills are personality-related revolve around working with people. Which is what makes leadership skills difficult to define and develop.
What makes a good leader?
With the unique requirements of each leadership role and many skills that fall under this umbrella. It can be difficult to identify exactly what makes a good leaders. But knowing the effects that poor leadership can have on company culture, productivity and talent retention, it’s important to have an idea of what a good leadership behaviour looks like.
Generally, an effective leader is able to build a strong team and motivate those individuals to work to meet business objectives. To do this, they need good interpersonal skills. Such skill enable them to communicate with the individuals on their team. It helps to negotiate obstacles and overcome any conflicts that arise. The effects of good leadership include a positive work environment, increased employee engagement and growth of more strong leaders.
The top 6 skills it takes to be a good leader
Although almost any soft skills could be considered leadership skills, there are a few that are invaluable if you’re looking to fill a leadership position.
1. Relationship-building skills
The bulk of a leader’s job revolves around working with people to achieve desired aims or outcomes. More than anything else, that requires excellent people skills and the ability to build relationships with those you work with. To create collaboration within a team, leaders need to have excellent communication and conflict-resolution skills.
A good leader will have mastered the art of active listening. He will be adept at conveying their expectations around team members’ behaviour and responsibilities. They will also be able to collaborate with their superiors and subordinates. They provide assistance to employees who need it.
A large part of leadership involves ensuring that others can rely on you. Meeting deadlines, being straightforward about your abilities, shortcomings and expectations, and communicating any foreseeable problems early on can all go towards increasing how reliable others perceive you to be. Showing that you are dependable to others will grow trust within your team and create a resilient workforce that feels they have the support that will enable them to tackle any difficulties that may arise.
People who set realistic goals and create feasible roadmaps to achieving those goals are dependable individuals. When interacting with others, they will be truthful and be timely in their communications.
Likely one of the most in-demand soft skills of them all, problem-solving are unfortunately in short supply. According to SHRM’s report ‘The Global Skills Shortage: Bridging the Talent Gap with Education, Training and Sourcing’, 37% of respondents report that problem-solving that is lacking in job applicants. This set of skills includes the ability to think critically, research effectively and analyse data.
The ability to tackle problems as they arise in business is a necessary leadership skills for obvious reasons. But it also plays an important role in ensuring thatleaders are able to make measured decisions quickly and effectively.
Going hand in hand with problem-solving skills is the ability to make effective decisions. Decisiveness enables good leaders to make valuable decisions quickly. A skill is often associated with more experience in your industry. Understanding the landscape of your sector as well as insight into how similar situations played out in the past is invaluable in making a speedy determinations. Good decision-making skills are valued because they can help to improve efficiency.
Decisiveness can be developed through research and evaluation, but also requires that the decisionmaker takes initiative and is willing to take responsibility for whatever outcomes may follow.
Similar to dependability, integrity helps those who work with you feel that they are able to rely on and trust in you. More than simply truthfulness or honesty, integrity involves having a strong moral and ethical code that guides your decisions. This will ensure that you are able to make choices that not only help the company, but also its employees and other stakeholders.
Besides encouraging positive outcomes for the company and its employees, showing integrity as a leader encourages others to act in honest and ethical ways.
Organisations identify the ability to teach and mentor others as an essential leadership skill because it ensures the longevity of the company. Helping others to develop their skills, build their expertise and grow their talents can only have positive consequences for the business in the long term. A pool of highly developed individuals for future leaders can enables organisations to scale effectively and solidify a culture of success.
Besides providing an environment in which learning and skills building is encouraged, effective mentoring requires leaders to motivate employees. Moreover, it recognises and rewards their efforts.
Leadership skills can be useful in any role and at any level. Developing your problem-solving and decision-making abilities as well as ensuring that you act with integrity and dependability can go a long way to being recognised as a leader. It’s also important to remember that mangement is more often about others than yourself, so building relationships, communicating effectively and helping others grow also add to your leadership persona.