Top 5 Leadership Skills to be a great Leader

VLV Leadership Development Coach - Top 5 Leadership skills

There are lots of managers out there. Yet, there are not so many leaders…

Being a leader is not easy. Everybody can be a leader but it takes time. There are many characteristics and skills leaders should have. Some are easier to master than others.


Leadership is the ability to lead people or the action of leading a group of people.

Leadership is about planning where you need to go to achieve a goal and succeed as an organization.

VLV Leadership Development Coach - Top 5 Leadership skills

The concept of Leadership means different things to different people around the world. However, there are a few constants, no matter the situation. Whether we talk about a political leader, a famous TV presenter or a parent, they all have several common leadership skills.

Here are the top 5 Leadership skills every leader should have.


  1. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor your own emotions as well as the emotions of others, to distinguish between and label different emotions correctly, and to use emotional information to guide your thinking and behavior and influence that of others (Goleman, 1995; Mayer & Salovey, 1990).

At work, we use emotional intelligence when we empathize with our colleagues or team members. At home, it’s when we try to manage a difficult child. Or when we have deep conversations with our partner. Emotional intelligence allows us to connect with others and relate to them. It helps us understand others and ourselves better. So that we live a more authentic, healthier and happier life.

Emotional intelligence as a Leadership skill

Good or great leaders have high emotional intelligence. People such as employees or team members are more likely to work better with a leader with high emotional intelligence. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are very good listeners. These leaders empathize, ask questions and are open to feedback. They gain the trust of others. Because of that, their team members will be more inclined to follow them. They will be more committed to doing the work to achieve goals.

A leader who has emotional intelligence is not going to push his/her way forward. He/she isn’t forceful. He/she listens and does not make assumptions. A good leader shows understanding and is open to suggestions, ideas or constructive criticism. Team members know they can trust him/her. They know they can discuss things openly and that the leader will try to support them to the best of his/her ability.

Highly emotional intelligent leaders control their emotions. They keep a positive attitude, even when they are facing challenges. It does not mean they never have negative emotions. They also have some, they are still human after all. However, good leaders recognize their emotions. They manage and control them, rather have their emotions take control of them.

  1. Long term thinking

Good leaders think long term. They think big. These leaders have a vision for the future, a clear image of the desired outcome. They set long term goals and have a picture in mind of what they would like to achieve, where they would like to be in the future.

Good leaders are very creative and are ready to take risks to achieve their goals. Good leaders think strategically. They accept that they may have to sacrifice short term gains for long term wins.

The leader’s job is to communicate his/her vision to his team or organization in the best possible way and on a regular basis. This will help people to stay focused and work towards the vision.

VLV Leadership Development Coach - Top 5 Leadership skills

Communicating the vision is one thing, ensuring that it will be delivered is another.

Leaders must ensure that the long term goals are properly managed – either by themselves or by a manager to whom the leader delegates this responsibility – so that their vision is delivered successfully.

From then on, other goals will be set for the medium and short term. These SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals will be set to make sure the main milestones are achieved so that the end goal can be met.

  1. Inspiration and motivation

Having a compelling vision is the basis for leadership. But it’s the leader’s ability and responsibility to motivate and inspire people that help them deliver that vision.

The leader will describe his/her ideal picture. He/she will set long term goals and will expect people to work hard. However, he/she will also make sure that his/her team members will be rewarded when the goal has been achieved.

Usually, leaders are experts in certain areas. They are not afraid to start from scratch and get their hands dirty. They know what they are talking about. People admire and believe in these leaders because they are expert in what they do. They have earned their trust. They have credibility and have earned the right to ask people to listen to them, to work hard and follow them.

Thanks to their expertise, these leaders can motivate and inspire the people they lead more easily.

Certain leaders also have a natural charisma or appeal, something that attracts people to them and makes them likable or trustworthy. However, these leaders do not rely on their charisma to inspire and motivate people. They know it is not enough, especially in the long term.

  1. Lead by example

Good leaders say what they do and do what they say. They walk their talk.

A leader who leads by example shows respect and understanding. He/she supports all his/her team members, no matter which country or culture they come from. He/she is honest, sets expectations and meets them. Good leaders communicate clearly and openly. They listen to their team, involve their team members and ask for regular feedback.

A good leader takes responsibility. He/she takes calculated risks and is not afraid to test new things. If a mistake has been made, he/she does not blame someone else. Good leaders know that it’s ok to fail, as they always learn something in the process. They are persistent and do not give up easily.

A leader who leads by example is not afraid to roll up his/her sleeves and get their hands dirty. At the same time, a good leader also delegates to develop his/her team further and empowers his/her team.

A good leader takes care of him/herself. They know they have to be in an optimal (physical and emotional) state so that they can take care of their business, their team and customers.

  1. Hire, develop and coach the best

A leader is as good as his/her team members

Hiring the right people is one of the key elements of successful leadership. When a leader interviews a potential candidate, he/she not only looks at the candidate’s skills, previous experience, motivation. He/she also needs to be able to recognize if the candidate has the potential to perform well in his/her organization. Good leaders know that some people have some hidden talent and can identify these strengths during an interview.

Once these persons have been hired, the leader will need to ensure that the employees get the proper training and onboarding. The new hires will then acquire the necessary skills and knowledge about tools, processes so that they are able to do their job and work towards the leader’s vision.

After the new hires’ onboarding, the leader will need to provide regular feedback, by coaching and/or mentoring them or ensuring they get the right support from other peers or colleagues. Leaders need to develop their team members further, by delegating some tasks and providing additional responsibilities. One of the most important tasks of a leader is to identify and support team members who demonstrate they have the potential to become future leaders themselves. By developing the leadership skills within their organization, good leaders not only create a succession plan. They also create an environment where people can be successful in the long term.

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