Leadership skills are highly in demand. It doesn’t matter where you’re at or what job you have, developing these soft skills will give you a leg up.
Being a leader is no simple task. People with special characteristics can lead a group to success. Whether you’re a manager, a supervisor, or a CEO, you should develop good qualities for leadership.
Leadership quality is viewed as high by 48% of leaders in their current organizations, up from 34% in 2011. Developing the next generation of leaders is the top challenge for 55% of CEOs according to a recent survey.
If you have a high position but think you don’t need to learn any skills, think again. Such skills are excellent traits every leader must have to lead their company or organization to success.
Let us go over why leadership is important, what qualities and skills a genuine leader must have, and what leadership means in coaching.
What is leadership, and what is an accurate definition of a leader?
Everyone knows the concept of leadership and how it’s a vital part of the life of any community. In this sense, a leader is someone who has a set of leadership skills, someone who leads, guides, and makes a positive impact.
This is important because there are leaders out there that attract the wrong results and negative influence. Poor leaders bring destruction. Can we still consider them as leaders?
A good leader has a vision and goals for prosperity and abundance for others. If such a person has this level of empathy, they won’t be able to lead anyone to success. Leadership is about influence. Those with exceptional leadership skills can turn a group of people into a team and allow them to achieve any goal.
We live in a world that’s constantly changing. There is no living being that doesn’t adapt and move forward. To live is to change. One could say that the present becomes the past and together they determine the future.
Author Oscar Wilde once said, “the only thing that we know about human nature is that humans change,”. He then added that failure happens because of people that “believe in a static human nature and not in human development and growth”. Thus, those with leadership skills learn to adapt.
Today, leaders are incredibly important. After all, they are the ones leading the constant change in the world. To be successful in life, you need to learn how to be a leader. It doesn’t matter if you’re a politician or just leading a project at work, leadership skills will help you improve yourself. With leadership, new opportunities will come your way.
Are leadership skills important?
The role of a leader is vital for any organization. Everyone must have a leader to fulfill projects.
After all, it’s thanks to a good leader that projects are successful. Besides, everyone knows a good leader is someone able to guide a group.
If people work on their own, the result won’t be cohesive. Thus, failing to deliver efficient results.
This situation is the same in many areas. For example, a hospital needs a director, and a country needs a president.
The best leaders know personal benefits are tied to the organization. As a result, when the team succeeds, it means that the leader is doing a great job. That’s why acting selfishly isn’t an aspect of a good leader.
What are the differences between management and leadership?
This question comes up a lot in business and in the workplace.
Is managing the same as leading?
No. Leadership is about inspiring, and management is about planning.
Leaders give you a vision and help you work on goals to achieve that vision. They guide you and inspire you to set yourself up for success.
Managers give you tasks and make sure everything is getting done as it should.
Managers and leaders are both important for the success of any business. They need to work together because they complement each other. An outstanding leader thrives with the help of a brilliant manager, and vice versa.
Leaders inspire, while managers ensure the execution, organization, and coordination of given tasks. Thanks to them both, workers can work to the best of their ability.
5 examples of excellent leadership skills every leader should have
If leadership is so important, how do you become one? What are the specific skills that every leader should have?
There are fundamental traits that define a prominent leader. The following leadership skills are the ones at the core of all the best leaders. With them, you’ll grow your professional, personal, and soft skills.
1- Emotional intelligence
This is the skill to identify, understand, and control your emotions. Thanks to it, you can improve your relationships. Also, it’ll put you on the path to achieving your goals and objectives.
Having this skill means you can handle pressure better than the average person. As a result, when a leader faces an obstacle, they can tolerate the pressure.
I mentioned empathy before for a reason. Empathy connects directly to high emotional intelligence. To have empathy is a good sign you are or will be an influential leader.
- A 40-year longitudinal investigation of 450 boys found IQ had little relation to life success. The most significant predictors were being able to handle frustration, control emotions, get along with other people.
- Over 80% of competencies that differentiate top performers from others are in the domain of emotional intelligence.
- Companies, who have executives with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to be highly profitable.
- After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000.
High emotional intelligence equates to empathy. Smart leaders always have this quality. A leader that knows how to deal with their emotions is/can:
- more likely to easily lead a team
- understanding and patient
- get along with employees and teammates
- put himself in other people’s shoes
- manage their negative emotions better
- a superb listener
Leaders create a grand vision for their business and employees. It’s what puts things in the right direction. Having a vision helps everyone become more motivated to take action. A great leader with a great vision can achieve great things.
A leader’s vision is a clear image of the desired outcome. The leader’s job is to properly communicate this vision to their team. The vision must be realistic yet idealistic. Big enough to inspire, but not so big it looks unattainable.
Having a vision isn’t just setting up a large goal. For example, you can’t force your team to go beyond their limitations. The goals of a good leader are smart, achievable, and realistic.
How can you have a grand vision?
You set goals for the future. The challenge is to help everyone understand that vision. Visionary leaders communicate their visions with passion. Workers take this vision and work towards it. Everyone in an organization is assigned a task that contributes to the completion of a leader’s powerful vision.
Here are 4 steps you can take to build a grand vision:
- Identify a challenge within your organization
- Set a picture of what success looks like, and reverse engineer what it’ll take for everyone to work to attain that vision
- Identify how you communicate that vision with clarity
- Write everything down. Write your goals, the vision you set, and practice how you can tell everybody within your organization about your vision. If they’re confused, that’s a sign your vision — or the way you communicate — needs improvement
One of the most important leadership skills is the ability to inspire and motivate. Many people think that being a good leader is about bossing people around.
Thus, the way they “lead” is by telling their staff what to do and expecting them to do it because they said so. This creates a mechanical and uncommitted workforce.
Inspirational leadership is different. A leader with this leadership skill is someone that creates commitment. By inspiring your team, they will start believing in your goals or the company’s goals. You’re being an inspirational leader when your entire team shares a single aim.
An inspirational leader is someone that creates and promotes a positive culture for their business.
This kind of culture will allow employees to learn to value themselves, the organization, and its clients. In short, an inspirational leader is someone that aims to make every employee recognize the value of their work.
A prominent leader is a source of inspiration.
There are two primary qualities of an inspirational leader:
- The ability to make the team transcend: Meaning every member of the team will feel that they’re part of something bigger. As a result, they become proud of themselves and the company. Making a team transcend will facilitate organization and make your employees or teammates work professionally.
- The ability to handle the team’s emotions: This is closely related to the leadership skill of having emotional intelligence. An effective, inspiring leader will make every employee feel like they matter. By working with an inspiring leader, workers of all kinds will know that their success connects to the team’s success.
4. Lead by example
If you cannot lead by example, you’ll have a hard time inspiring others. When you’re an inspiration to others, your subordinates and teammates are going to give it their all.
When things go wrong, blaming others is out of the question. It creates a culture of noncommitment and disinterest. Your employees’ success is the company’s success. Thus, as the leader, you must understand your role and accept it.
The leadership skill of leading by example is all about:
- taking risks
- setting realistic expectations about your teammates
- Being a role model others can look up to
- knowing how to use words to inspire and encourage
5. Hire, develop, and coach the best people
A leader is as good as his employees. Being able to know who to hire is an enormous asset. To do that, you need to become an excellent judge of character. Learn to measure someone’s abilities.
This is almost as important as being able to see the potential. Not everyone has the same training, and you might lose some of the best people if you don’t pay attention to what they might do.
Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves. Because of this, the evaluation of potential hires is a leadership skill. This comes with time and experience.
Reading someone’s resume goes beyond looking at their accomplishments. Normally, the four criteria to determine if someone is worth hiring are skills, results, values, and will. However, they’re less straightforward than they seem.
The leadership skills for hiring the right people
What matters regarding skills is how the person adapts. For example, look at how technology is changing. You never know how working in the next decade will look like. Thus, you need people who are ready to cope with any situation.
When looking at an applicant’s “results”, look at them in context. Ask these questions:
- What did they achieve and how did they do it?
- How did they react in the face of adversity and pressure?
- how did they overcome the problems they faced?
This will give you a brief insight into their potential.
Finally, know that a strong will is an engine for a brilliant performance. For this reason, hire people that want to do better. Normally, these people will also have the right values for your business.
5 bad qualities of leadership
So far, we’ve been shedding light on what it’s like to be an influential leader. Sometimes, to be a great one, it helps to know how to avoid being a bad one.
Here are 5 you need to avoid if you want to become a good leader:
1- Not praising your peers
People who don’t receive praise feel discouraged and demotivated. We’re human beings and we need recognition for the work we do. Otherwise, we feel like we’re shedding water on sand.
Praising boosts morale, productivity, engagement, and loyalty. It can make the difference between loving and hating a job.
It never helps to be a narcissist in a work environment. The first step to being a good leader is to know how to care for others.
A self-centered leader will take credit for the successes that happen and will blame others for failures.
3- Poor communication skills
Learning how to communicate effectively is a must. Poor communication skills lead to disengagement, confusion, and dissatisfaction.
If everything you communicate to others is misconstrued, then that’s a bad sign. The good news is anyone can improve their communication skills. As a leader, your communication needs to be clear, succinct, and concise.
Anytime you communicate with your peers, they need to walk off knowing exactly what to do next.
4- Being bossy
Obviously, acting as the “know it all” type will get you in trouble in the long run. No one likes to be bossed around, even if you’re the boss, which is quite ironic.
There’s a fine line between being a boss and being a leader. Flexibility, praise, respect, patience, and empathy make great leaders. Bosses are what you become when you don’t have those qualities. Good leaders know when and how to adapt their management style.
5- Avoiding conflicts
A good leader never shies away from conflict. A poor leader does and lets it accumulate, and guess what, it never ends well.
Avoiding conflicts leads to stress and terrible results. If you don’t deal with the problems you have, they will snowball, and before you know it, they’ll turn into something much more serious than expected.
Dealing with conflicts, regardless of how small they are, is a must.
What is coaching in leadership?
Coaching leadership is about recognizing your team’s efforts, ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses within the company. To help everyone be better at what they do, this leadership is essential to help your team become more efficient.
Nowadays, lots of big organizations invest in leadership coaching. The value of this style of coaching is as clear as daylight. Businesses thrive when everyone becomes a top performer. For that to happen, leaders need coaches to learn:
- Giving constructive feedback
- Giving support and encouragement
- Offering opportunities for growth
- Being results-driven
7 Inspirational quotes about leadership:
There are many things that separate a good leader from a bad one. I want to conclude this article by mentioning my favorite quotes about leaders and leadership skills that have stood the test of time.
1. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”-John F. Kennedy
2. “So much of what we call management consists of making difficult for people to work,” — Peter Drucker
3. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude, be kind, but not weak; bold, but not a bully; thoughtful, but not lazy; humble, but not timid; proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but not without folly.” — Jim Rohn.
4. “The pessimist complaisn about the wind. The optimist expects to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” — John Maxwell.
5. “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”-Theodore M. Hesburgh.
6. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” — General George Patton
7. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” — Nelson Mandela.
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These tips will help you become a better leader. Remember, a good leader is one that has excellent leadership skills. They are the core of any successful company.
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Excellent article! This really gets to the key issues of leadership training — for Agile teams and others. It’s particularly useful to point out that leadership can be fluid, with leaders emerging from the team or stepping back depending on the task and/or their specific strengths and skills.
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