The question of what makes a great leader is widely debated, however, it’s clear that the ability to lead effectively relies on a number of key skills. While there’s no one right way to lead in all circumstances, these are the 7 top leadership skills that should be mastered.
Employees need to be able to feel comfortable coming to their manager or leader with questions and concerns. It’s important for you to demonstrate your integrity— employees will only trust leaders they respect. By being open and honest, you will encourage the same sort of honesty in your employees.
As a leader, you need to be able to clearly and succinctly explain to your employees everything from organizational goals to specific tasks. Leaders must master all forms of communication, including one-on-one, departmental, and full-staff conversations, as well as communication via the phone, email, video, chat, and social media.
Leaders need to inspire their employees to go the extra mile for their organizations; just paying a fair salary to employees is typically not enough inspiration (although it’s important too). There are a number of ways to motivate your employees: you may build employee self-esteem through recognition and rewards, or by giving employees new responsibilities to increase their investment in the company.
As a leader, you have to make a number of decisions that do not have a clear answer, so you need to be able to think outside of the box. Many employees will also be impressed and inspired by a leader who doesn't always choose the safe, conventional path.
Leaders who try to take on too many tasks by themselves will struggle to get anything done. These leaders often fear that delegating tasks is a sign of weakness, when it actually can be a sign of a strong leader. Therefore, you need to identify the skills of each of your employees, and assign duties to each employee based on his or her skill set. By delegating tasks to staff members, you can focus on other important tasks.
Leaders should constantly look for opportunities to deliver useful information to team members about their performance. However, there’s a fine line between offering employees advice and assistance, and micromanaging. By teaching employees how to improve their work and make their own decisions, you will feel more confident delegating tasks to your team.
It’s important for leaders to follow through with what they agree to do. You should be willing to put in the extra hours to complete an assignment; employees will see this commitment and follow your example.
Effective leaders have the ability to communicate well, motivate their team, handle and delegate responsibilities, listen to feedback, and have the flexibility to solve problems in an ever-changing workplace. Whether you're starting out in an entry-level position and looking to move up the career ladder or you're seeking a promotion, your leadership skills will be among your most valuable assets.
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