Leadership is a whole process of positive influence to help others achieve their goals. A leader should create an inspiring future vision, motivate others toward that vision, and build a team to be more effective at accomplishing the vision.
How do leaders do that? There are many ways to manage these. You can adopt new skills or improve what you already have. Leadership skills are essential to motivate your team and build respect. With a few core skills, you can become a very effective leader.
We will discuss 5 key skills in this article and what you can do to improve them.
Management skills allow you to be successful in business. You can learn these throughout your career as a manager. Many people say that being a manager and a leader are completely different things. It is true, but you can also use management skills and leadership skills interchangeably since they have commonalities.
Like leadership skills, management skills include planning, problem-solving, decision-making and time management. Different organisations may need different management skills. Yet, these are the most common ones that you can apply to your leadership.
Strategic Thinking Skills
Strategic thinking is a rationally thinking process. With this, you can analyse the critical factors and variables that will affect the business. As a leader, you need these skills to decide, for example, what products to offer in the market. Strategic thinking can help you analyse:
- Business opportunities and vulnerabilities
- Feasibilities and risks
- Cost of each step you take in your business
- Likelihood of your plans’ effectiveness.
There are two essential factors for thinking strategically: Being quick and decisive in choosing a plan and maintaining it. You also need to keep up with new opportunities. If you can keep the balance between being consistent and flexible, then you and your team can achieve your business goals.
Creativity requires you to leave those corny ideas and structures behind. This is a very desirable feature in leadership. When you bring creativity in your work, you are able to look at things from new perspectives. This can help you solve the problems more easily. You can achieve creativity with the help of your team. Collaborative teams that share new ideas and point of views can reach higher level of creativity. As a leader, be experimental and try new things, test new ideas. We claim that creativity is an essential skill in leadership, yet IBM says it is the most important skill.
Strong Communication Skills
Every good leader has to have good communication skills. The success of a business relies on effective communication. Weak communication skills can result in bad mood in your team and missed business goals. According to a study on Harvard Business School Online, low communication skills in larger companies can lead to approximately $64.2 million of loss per year.
As a leader, you should be able to communicate well to inspire and empower your team. Besides, you can tackle internal problems with your communication skills. Assuming that your employees cannot engage quickly, you want to fix this because engaged employees work harder and better. To do so, you should gain their trust as a leader. Strong communication skills enable you to create the trust between you and your employees.
Before dwelling on the importance of empathy in leadership, it is crucial to set the concept: Empathy is to understand what others need. When you show empathy, you show that you understand their feelings and how these feelings affect the situation. Yet, you don’t have to agree with them. Empathetic leaders are willing and able to appreciate what their employees go through.
Empathy enables the employees to feel safe in case of a failure because they are aware that they won’t be blamed. It also helps leaders identify the main reason behind the low performance. Being an empathetic leader can help your employees boost their performance. Key skills for a good leadership doesn’t always include empathy, but as you see, it can play a huge role. Ergo, empathy is one of the essential skills that a good leader should have.
How Can You Improve Your Leadership Skills?
Some people are natural-born leaders, and some people can acquire leadership skills later. Whichever you are, you might want to improve your skills to catch up with the ever-changing business world. This can be done in many ways. Below, we will give you some tips to improve your leadership skills.
Find Your Weaknesses and Strengths
With a basic self-evaluation, you can analyse your weak and strong points. Don’t know where to start? Ask yourself what your interests are, and what skills you lack. Consider what kind of leader you are. Then think about what kind of leader you want to be. For example, if you think you lack self-confidence, start taking the right steps to boost your confidence. The more you work on your weaknesses, the more successful you are.
Research Your Favourite Leaders
It is important to have a role model for your leadership. Study the leaders you like to get inspiration. These people can be from anywhere around the world. Maybe your mum, the principal at your primary school, or a politician. Familiarise yourself with their story about leadership. If you learn how they acted when they had ups and downs, you can take great lessons for yourself.
As a leader, it is essential to share your knowledge with others around you. You can help their self-improvement process. When you share your career story with them, you can inspire them to move forward. What is better, you can benefit from training others. Training others to become leaders can show you where you lack knowledge. While you teach people leadership skills, you may realise the points that you need to brush up. In the end, this could be a win-win situation for both parties.
Being a good leader to your employees requires some skills, and it might take some time to reach there. If you are dedicated enough, you can become one of those leaders people admire. We provided you with 5 key skills in this article. Question yourself and see if you have these or which other skills you have. Don’t forget to consider the ways to improve your skills. If you think you covered them all, then you are good to go!