Do you have the right leadership skills? It’s a more complicated question than you might think. It’s often assumed that some people are just born good leaders, that they have a natural inclination toward motivating and inspiring people. I think there can be some truth to that. But even natural-born leaders must spend time carefully and intentionally honing their competitive edge. And those who may not be born with immense leadership skills don’t have to panic; there are abundant opportunities to cultivate the skills necessary to take your place among the natural-born leaders.
In this post, I’d like to address a couple of things. First, I think it’s worth taking just a minute to underscore the importance of leadership skills. Second, there is certainly some merit to outlining the most critical, most effective leadership skills.
The Importance of Leadership Skills
First, why is it important to actively cultivate effective leadership skills? I can think of several reasons.
- Great leadership skills can give you a sense of initiative. You’ll have more confidence to identify problems or opportunities that arise, and to seize your chance to innovate or spearhead a solution.
- Effective leadership skills can also give you the ability to a lot of people in the workplace have good ideas, but actually putting them into action is much harder, and rarer. It takes leadership to do that.
- In addition, effective leadership skills can help you to develop your strategic thinking abilities. That is, leaders understand how to think through the long-term consequences and implications of their actions.
- When you hone your leadership abilities, it makes you better at making decisions. Indecision can be crippling, both to your team and your career. Leadership skills help you press go on your strategies and ideas.
- A great leader is always going to have a lot of priorities and obligations to juggle. Thus, one of the natural byproducts of leadership training is that it helps you with your time management.
- Ultimately, the importance of leadership skills comes down to your ability to move your team forward. With the right leadership skills, you can set a vision and rally your team behind it. This will also help them work as a cohesive unit to achieve a shared goal.
These are just a few of the reasons why it matters that you actively pursue better leadership skills, as opposed to just hoping your natural-born abilities are sufficient!
What are Some of the Most Effective Leadership Skills?
With those benefits outlined, our next task is to define some of the most significant leadership skills that you can focus on. A list like this could stretch on endlessly, and there’s no end to the leadership development that you can do… but with that said, here are some of the leadership skills that I think are absolutely key.
- Agility. In your workplace, on your team, within your industry, or in the world overall, things can turn on a dime. Seismic changes can come at any time and they can effectively scuttle your best-laid plans. Great leaders are agile enough to respond to these changes without panicking, and to adapt their approach to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.
- Vision setting. I touched on this in the previous section, but another key, effective leadership skill is being able to create a broader sense of mission, or vision; to communicate it effectively to the rest of the team; and to show each team member why their particular role matters to the big picture.
- Delegation. You can’t do everything by yourself. You just can’t. In fact, the “army of one” mentality is one of the biggest mistakes that I see leaders make. It’s a great way to burn out, or to alienate your team! So, make sure you cultivate the skills you need to identify the tasks and projects that can be delegated; to identify the right people or teams for those projects; and to both set expectations and also provide the right level of autonomy.
- Motivation. As a leader, part of your job is keeping team members motivated and productive. This can be a lot harder than it might sound. You need to know what motivates your people, and how your leadership style can encourage them to do their best work.
- Talent development. Another important part of being a leader is the ability to recognize talent when you see it… and to develop it. This is something that can pay huge dividends with regard to recruitment, retention, team cohesion, and employee engagement.
- Stress management. The workplace can be stressful. We all know that. It’s stressful for you, and it’s stressful for your employees. A great leader can recognize the signs of stress and looming burnout, and proactively address them. And, a great leader can provide employees with a real example of balance.
- Setting an example. Indeed, the concept of leading by example is an important one. Leaders have to remember that employees are always watching them… and taking cues. Make sure you know how to model the kind of productivity, the type of attitude, and the level of balance you’d want your team members to have.
We’ve covered the importance of leadership skills, and we’ve covered some of the most effective leadership skills. The question now is, how do you hone these key abilities? I’d love to talk with you about that one-on-one, and even to let you know more about my executive coaching services. Reach out today and let’s chat! Contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.