Being a good leader is paramount to keeping your team working as one cohesive unit and getting the work done effectively and to a high standard. Future Learn sees leaders as individuals that can provide direction and reassurance to support a team in achieving a common goal. In this article, we will discuss what leadership skills are and how to develop them to ensure your workforce is ready to succeed and progress within your company.
What are leadership skills?
Leadership skills are the tools you need to be an effective leader. These skills may come more naturally to some than others, but as a manager, they can be the difference between a successful or struggling team.
Here are five examples of leadership skills that we believe are important to a strong leader.
Being able to clearly communicate will aid the smooth completion of a task, as it ensures all parties have understood the tasks, processes and goals and can work with confidence.
Taking on too much can be a sign of a leader who doesn’t trust their team or doesn’t want to burden others with more tasks. However, delegation is a great skill as it prevents leaders from burning out and allows your team to develop their skills and abilities further in the process.
When time is short and the team is under pressure, it’s important to have a leader ready to make tough calls. It’s not uncommon for things to go wrong in business and for plans to take an abrupt turn for the worst. Being decisive shows your team that you’re adaptable and gives them confidence that when the time comes, you’ll be there to help find a plan B.
Help Guide defines emotional intelligence as “…the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.”
By being more tuned in to the team you are leading, you’ll be more likely to build better relationships in the workplace and encourage an open and honest environment for members to provide feedback and ask for additional support.
Being able to admit you’ve made a mistake or that you need advice, support or a fresh pair of eyes, are all ways to develop your humility within the workplace. Leaders can often feel like they need to be a superhero who needs no rest, or it would be embarrassing to ask their team members for advice when they are the manager. However, this level of honesty at the right time can model perfectly to your team that you’re allowed to ask for support, no matter who you are.
Why are leadership skills important?
According to Leaders Edge, Daniel Goleman’s book, Leadership That Gets Results, details his research which “…discovered that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability.” This research shows that strong leadership can have a large impact on the performance of a team.
Considering the leadership skills we discussed earlier, it’s clear that a positive work environment facilitated by a good leader benefit the workplace through improved communication, productive and honest discussion, developing trust and more learning opportunities (to name a few).
How to improve leadership skills in the workplace
Being a leader will always mean taking on new challenges, learning from mistakes and using new knowledge to adapt. At first, you may find this a difficult process, but as Investopedia says, “you must constantly be challenging yourself to enhance your leadership capabilities.”
Here are 5 key ways in which you can immediately start improving your leadership skills.
Reflection is a great tool for asking “Why?”. Understanding what went wrong and how we could have resolved or avoided it better, or maybe even what went well and how we can replicate the same process and results in the future, is key to making progress. Knowing where we have been can give us more direction as to where we are going.
Top tip: Keep a list of skills you believe are important to have as a leader. When reflecting or considering the best route through a problem, consider which skills would be most helpful to you. This might help you start to find direction when the path seems unclear.
Managers frequently review the performance of their team to encourage improvements and develop targets. However, it’s not always the case that managers ask their team “Is there anything else I could be doing to support you?”. This can open up a much better rapport with your colleagues and allow for eye-opening discourse about your own performance.
Listening can also allow you to learn about those that you see every day. By taking interest in their work and their personal lives, you may find ways to inspire and motivate them. Alternatively, you might find out skills amongst your team members you weren’t aware of before that you could incorporate in the future.
Adaptability is a must when working in a business environment. Change is inevitable and tasks won’t always go to plan, so it’s important to be ready to take a diversion at the drop of a hat. Once you’ve reflected and listened to your peers, consider ways you can make changes to your current management methods that would benefit the office where you feel is acceptable.
Step out of your comfort zone
Stepping out of our comfort zones can be the scariest yet most rewarding way to develop our skills as a leader. Putting yourself out there for your team to see your flaws and vulnerabilities can feel like a nightmare, but you’ll learn more about yourself and your team when you do it. Trying new challenges can open your eyes to the flaws in the current processes of your office, and although your experienced team might be used to the way things are, you may find a more streamlined way to do things.
Influence goes hand in hand with motivation, the common denominator being that you have a positive impact on your office and those in it. Managers should lead by example by encouraging positivity, creativity and a good work ethic. If you as a manager don’t expect your team to be taking work home or responding to emails late at night, ensure that you’re not giving them too much to do on a short deadline or emailing them after hours either.
Don’t forget, inspiration is a great way to influence your team. By getting to know what drives them, such as setting individual goals, measuring performance in more meaningful ways, autonomy to make an impact and rewards for team and individual work, you are more likely to output a more cohesive and well-oiled team.
RELATED: How Do I Motivate My Team?
As a leader, it’s important to create the best emotional and physical working environment possible for your colleagues, so why not take a look at our website to find office space that suits your needs?