10 Leadership Skills Worth Mastering
Do you have what it takes to be a great leader? Simply holding a management position doesn’t necessarily make someone a good leader. Whether you have worked your way up the corporate ladder or started your own business, the path to leadership is never an easy one. There will be good times, stressful times and terrible times, but a great leader is always able to lead a team upwards, regardless of the situation at hand.
If you’re in need of a refresher of what good leadership entails, revisit these 10 basic skills.
The foundation of any relationship, both personal and professional, is honesty. People want to work for a leader they can trust, a leader that has morals, values and integrity. They want to work for a company that offers a great product or service they can believe in, and that has an honourable reputation. Your workers want to feel good about their jobs. It’s important to establish core values for both the business and yourself as a leader, and to then live and lead by those values as an example to your employees.
Without clear communication, your employees won’t understand your mission, goals and vision. Employees want to work toward something they believe in, so it’s important they understand that they are working toward the same goals you are. Communication should also be consistent in establishing work expectations, giving constructive feedback and in training new employees. With great communication, your employees will know exactly what they are working for, will rely on you, and will give their best effort for you.
When things go wrong, employees look to you for the answers and judge the situation based upon your reaction. Even if the company is experiencing a major downturn, it’s important to always be confident, calm and set a good example. If you aren’t confident with the organisation in a situation, then be confident in your own leadership skills. Your job is to maintain a thriving work environment, and continue leading the team in their daily work.
Whether you’re starting a new business or you’re leading a team in a business that’s already been established, it’s important to get employees invested in the vision and future of the company. You must be inspired and invested in the company in order to inspire others. Though inspiration often looks forward to the future, it’s also important for the present; it gives employees a reason to work, to succeed, and to do their best in everything they do. Make them feel invested in the company through inspiration and they’ll be loyal, hard-working employees.
Regardless of the situation, always stay positive. Positivity is essential to productivity, employee morale and work environment. When mistakes are made, even if they are serious, it’s important to look at the situation constructively. You are setting the tone for the work day, and your attitude directly affects those under your leadership. Bringing snacks, giving compliments, and even showing an appropriate interest in an employee’s personal life can have a significant impact on their work day.
If there is a highly important project, it can be difficult to trust employees without micromanaging. Trusting them to do their best possible work is a sign of strength in your leadership, and will encourage them to live up to your expectations. When it comes to delegation, the idea is to decide what strengths each employee possesses, and to assign them initiatives that best fit those strengths. The ability to delegate successfully will lead to higher quality work and productivity.
Nothing shows commitment and humility like getting your hands dirty with the rest of the workers. Showing your commitment sets the example for others to follow, and leads to greater loyalty and respect for you as a leader. Always be committed in whatever you do, whether it is a promise to have a holiday party, a day off or a meeting time. You are in the spotlight as a leader, and you will be judged harder for your actions than others will be. Set the tone of commitment, and others will follow suit.
Although not a requirement, a sense of humour goes a long way in leadership. It helps create a positive work environment and enhances the feeling of camaraderie. Your unique personality and sense of humour shows your employees that you are more than a leader, and that you aren’t a machine, which encourages them to feel comfortable around you.
Some decisions have to be made quickly, and catch us by surprise. In times like these, it’s up to you to think outside the box to find a solution. Your team will be looking to you in these situations for guidance, so a quick decision must also be a good decision. You may even brainstorm with your team to build upon some of your ideas. When your employees are involved in a decision or idea, they often feel more invested, respected and important. When you are in a situation where creativity is necessary, your creativity level and experience can either gain your employees’ loyalty and respect, or damage it.
Sometimes we are presented with situations that aren’t in the textbooks, and for which you might not be prepared as a leader. The first decision isn’t always the best one, and taking your time to come up with a unique solution can be in the best interest of your workers and organisation. Sometimes, leaders have to draw upon their instincts, past experiences and mentors for help in these complicated situations.
What do you think?
People know effective leadership when they see it, and while great leaders may sometimes be born that way, there are certain traits that great leaders share in common that anyone can practice and adopt to become more effective. What skills do you think are necessary to be a highly effective leader? Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Fast Company; Forbes; Inc.