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Regardless of your role or industry, leadership skills are becoming increasingly important. The world is constantly in flux, and new opportunities exist around every corner. Make sure you are ready to take them on by building the right leadership skills to get ahead. And while some things remain the same, new technology, like artificial intelligence, can shift what skills are necessary. Ready to go? Let’s dig into the nine top leadership skills and qualities that will help advance your personal and professional life.
Integrity and Honesty
First and foremost, a good leader is honest, trustworthy, and has a solid moral compass. That doesn’t mean good leaders never make mistakes. Instead, when they do, they admit it, correct it, and move forward. Leaders act with integrity by practicing what they preach, owning up to their mistakes, and not blaming others or hiding errors, and they are leaders that people respect, follow, and listen to.
According to Zippia, it’s estimated that only 10% of people are natural leaders. Another 20% show basic traits naturally and can be cultivated into effective leaders. Authentic leadership skills are more than advising or guiding people along the path. It has to do with motivating and encouraging this around you and being a guiding force that can be trusted and respected. Even in times of crisis, a strong leader knows how to adapt and innovate while maintaining their integrity.
Solid, Professional Communication
Good leaders are excellent communicators! Why is that? Because a leader has to motivate, educate, and work with their peers. Without effective communication skills, they would be limited in their abilities.
And that means even the hard conversations. Are you clear when you have an issue with an employee or peer? Do you ever come across as dismissive or uninterested? Does your body language shut people down? If so, you must practice better communication skills and find more productive ways to reach those around you.
Positive conversations are just as meaningful – if not more so. Do you inspire your team? Are you comfortable giving positive feedback? Do you let others take the credit for their accomplishments?
Communication is more than just being able to say what’s on your mind. 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt like their efforts were being recognized. You need to inspire, motivate, and break down walls amongst your team if you want to be a skilled leader.
Problems are an inevitable part of the business. Leaders can take a problem, think critically and unemotionally, and develop solutions that benefit the team. That can include identifying issues, gathering information, and developing and implementing those solutions.
More importantly, effective leadership skills mean they can communicate with others to gather that information and develop solutions. Leaders rarely work in a silo, and team involvement is always preferred to stand-alone decision-making.
Challenges are part of any work environment. And a strong leader has to have the ability to make sound decisions quickly and under pressure. That can involve weighing the pros and cons of different solutions, considering other people’s opinions, and determining the best course of action.
Even in day-to-day processes, decision-making is a key trait for leaders. Every aspect of a leader’s job is based on their ability to make quality decisions. How a team is organized can be the difference between huge success and struggles. Assigning responsibilities to the best candidate can mean a faster and more successful turnaround. And leaders must take and provide feedback among the people they work with.
Leaders are responsible for building and managing teams effectively. That means identifying and highlighting the strengths of each member, finding ways to enhance any weaknesses, and fostering a positive and productive work environment.
A good leader can also bring out the best qualities in others through motivation, acknowledgment, and culture. When disagreements happen, as they will, leaders can step in and help guide others towards a path that supports everyone. Leaders understand the value of teamwork and how to keep teams functioning at their best.
Motivational and Inspirational
Natural leaders motivate, inspire, and build up others around them to achieve a common goal. That could, and usually is, work-related, but this skill is highly valuable outside the workspace. Leaders create a sense of purpose and excitement, and they help others to see and embrace their own potential.
A startling 79% of employees quit due to lack of appreciation. Motivation is a skill often lacking in the workplace, but a true leader finds ways to hone in on their teams’ needs and make it happen. Plus, motivation is a crucial ingredient to long-term success, and it can result in employees being more engaged and thinking about their work positively.
Vision for the Future
Leaders have a clear vision for the future. By understanding and respecting their team, they see the value each member brings and what their skills can accomplish with the right motivation. And a leader inspires others towards a common goal.
A leader should have and share their vision about where they see themselves and their team in 6 months, two years, and five years. They should understand the long-term goals and how to get there. The vision is what followers are looking for in a leader and what helps them stay motivated in the long run.
Lastly, leaders have to have resilience. No one can avoid the twists and turns in life, no matter how positive or prepared. When there are setbacks and challenges, leaders need to bounce back. Even in difficult times, resilience means seeing the positive and a path out.
A leader recognizes that disappointments and failures often result in the most significant lessons learned. And they take their setbacks positively and learn from them instead of complaining about them. What creates a true leader is often a series of setbacks, which they continue to overcome.
Becoming a Leader
Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what makes a good leader, there are traits that are common in the most influential leaders. Along with these skills, leaders are open to feedback, learn from their mistakes, and never stop learning.
Are you ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Consider expanding your experience outside the workplace and bringing leadership to the community you serve. Educational workshops, dinner seminars, and informational webinars are great opportunities to highlight your expertise and lead others to solutions to their problems. Plus, not only will you be guiding people toward better decision-making, you’ll be growing your business and increasing your ROI. To learn more, contact our expert marketing consultants for a step-by-step guide to marketing strategies that will grow your business and leadership.