Do You Possess These 5 Key Leadership Skills?

Do You Possess These 5 Key Leadership Skills?

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All too often, we hear people described as “natural born leaders”. This asks an important question: what makes these individuals better at leadership than others?

There are a number of leadership skills — both good and bad. Some people desire leadership for the wrong reasons. Instead of caring about making a positive impact, they crave the power and use a leadership position for self-gratification and to further their own agenda. Fortunately, there are others driven by the need to motivate and inspire others to do better work.

Here’s the thing: while people may be described as born leaders, they possess nothing that you don’t have the ability to learn. Effective leaders are not born — the right skills can be learned easily by attending a leadership development programme.

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These are the five skills every effective leader should have:

1. Communication

A leader is in a position of responsibility. They might be an employee in a multinational organisation and manage a large team — or even multiple teams. Therefore, it’s vital that this individual knows how to communicate effectively and set clear expectations.

When a leader fails to communicate effectively with his or her team, things can go wrong quickly. In business, as well as in various other aspects of life, communication is everything. Effective communication enables people to carry out their tasks efficiently and ensures that everybody is working towards the same goal.

In order for your staff to deliver what is expected of them and to support a good working relationship, leaders must be excellent communicators. If, for example, a political party fails to communicate clearly to the general public the contents of its policy manifesto, the danger is that no one will vote for the party. Likewise, communicating something specific and later going back on that can massively affect reputation and trust. In business, it’s crucial that leaders communicate effectively, give clear directions and define expectations to inspire confidence from employees in your ability to manage.

2. Empathy

An effective leader appreciates that, as human beings, we all have emotional ups and downs. Empathy allows individuals to understand how a person is feeling and resolve any issues or conflict amicably and without being patronising. It’s important to maintain a balance, however, with some arguing that being too empathetic can lead to laziness and inaction.

To keep productivity and morale up, it’s important that leaders balance their responsibility with compassion. It’s important to note that being empathetic does not mean you need to tiptoe around underperforming staff, hand-hold employees or try and be everybody’s best friend. As someone who is expected to deliver — to the shareholders of a business and your team — you may feel a significant amount of pressure. If you find yourself in this situation, with team members who consistently fail to complete their work to the expected standard, you need to be both empathetic — to keep up morale and boost confidence — and strict, to ensure that the issue is resolved.

3. Flexibility

A willingness to change and compromise is the sign of a good leader. Without change, leaders can stagnate, reducing the effectiveness of their methods. Being flexible can be something as simple as letting team members openly contribute new ideas and opinions. Not only can this benefit the entire company, but it also ensures employees stay happy in their roles and feel that their voices matter. As a leader, you need to be flexible enough to take onboard such views and offer credit where it’s due.

4. Motivation

One of the most important, but perhaps challenging, aspects of leadership is trying to motivate others. Leaders are constantly looked upon by their team for inspiration, motivation, and passion, but if you’re having a bad day, it can be difficult not to let that reflect in your actions and bring your team down with you. A manager’s ability to lead is put to the test when the going gets tough, but the way he or she handles these situations can make a huge difference to the performance of the team.

5. Positivity

A positive attitude is essential for a friendly working environment, but it can be tough, especially if performance isn’t as expected or the business is going through a slow patch. However, a negative attitude can have more
far-reaching effects, including destroying morale and company culture and killing productivity. Staying positive during these times is crucial and easier to implement than you might expect. Cracking funny jokes during a stressful time or asking team members about their plans for the weekend — it’s these little things that can calm the nerves, release stress and raise morale among staff members. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to know how to act at the appropriate time.

6. Ability to Resolve Conflicts

Conflict is a natural part of daily life. It’s something we’ve been exposed to from an early age — at school, at home and right through to the workplace. Conflict is how we acknowledge issues that are important to us as human beings and it’s only natural that not everyone will share our opinions. When disputes arise, leaders react in different ways. Some would prefer not to get involved, while others choose to take sides. However, neither of these approaches is the sign of an effective leader. A successful leader is level-headed and finds intelligent ways to resolve conflicts without a trace of partiality.

Book a Leadership Development Programme

The Living Leader’s leadership development programmes help managers learn and apply all of the necessary leadership skills, whether you’re a senior director or middle manager. Our Personal Leadership Programme, Personal Leadership Masterclass and Online Leadership Programme help businesses secure better results, from increased sales to improved productivity, through effective leadership.
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