What Leadership Skills Are Your Strongest?
Many employees are put into leadership positions without training or coaching. They may struggle to meet the demands of their new role and produce poor results.
Effective leaders understand how to communicate, delegate tasks and encourage collaboration in a productive workplace. The best managers are also able to inspire their teams and nurture employee loyalty.
The ability to inspire a vision in others is an important leadership skill. As researchers and bestselling authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner note in their book The Leadership Challenge, this means envisioning a positive future and getting others to come on board. It also requires flexibility, since nothing ever goes exactly according to plan — but a leader can still inspire others with a willingness to adapt and reassess when necessary.
This is where strategic thinking comes into play, along with organization and problem-solving skills. The ability to address conflicts that will inevitably arise with tact and diplomacy is also an essential leadership trait.
Patience is a leadership trait that is often overlooked but can set you apart from others. It allows a leader to keep their composure during challenging situations, making them able to provide guidance when needed.
It also helps them to create an environment that encourages collaboration and creativity. In fact, one study found that when leaders exhibited patience, their teams’ productivity and creativity increased by 6% more than those of leaders who didn’t demonstrate the trait.
Developing your patience is a great way to become a better leader and can be a valuable soft skill to list on your resume or highlight during interviews. Changing your internal dialogue with the help of a San Diego therapist can be an excellent starting point for this goal.
A key role of leaders is motivating others to work together toward common goals. That requires communication skills, which are some of the most valuable soft skills employers look for in candidates and employees.
Effective communication allows leaders to share a vision, assign tasks and delegate responsibility, and communicate changes throughout an organization. It also enables them to relay positive or negative information without creating confusion and frustration in their teams.
This skill involves listening actively to what someone says and interpreting their words as facts rather than stories. Leaders often find themselves mediating disputes and finding solutions that satisfy all parties. They may use their communication skills to convince colleagues to agree to a change or to encourage innovation.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and understand their situation. It allows you to see the world from a different perspective and may help you overcome bias and racism.
Managers often have to make decisions that affect their employees, so empathy helps them better serve the needs of their staff. For example, if a worker is struggling with a family problem, an empathetic leader might offer them flexible work hours to allow them to tend to their responsibilities.
Empathy is considered a soft skill, but it can be learned with practice and coaching. This makes it an important component of leadership development strategies.
Delegating work to the right people creates a more efficient team. It also encourages professional growth and recognition for those who complete the tasks well.
However, it can be difficult for leaders to let go and trust that others will do a good job of the task. This can be overcome by setting clear instructions and offering feedback.
It’s also important to know your team members and their strengths and weaknesses. For example, a talented compromiser might be able to find common ground and satisfy all parties involved.
Influence is a key leadership competency that involves promoting your ideas, vision and goals to others. Essentially, it’s the ability to convince and persuade your team members in order to garner support for your projects.
Having influence also means knowing how to compromise. Skilled compromisers are able to find solutions that serve the best interests of all parties involved.
Developing your influencing skills can help you maintain a healthy work environment and reduce conflicts between employees. You can do this by implementing a few different techniques, such as those discussed above.
Patience is a skill that can help leaders deal with sensitive or stressful situations. It requires internalizing emotions and interpreting them appropriately rather than reacting quickly. It also means throwing instant gratification out the window and thinking about what a choice will mean for you down the road.
People with patience are able to endure life’s frustrations, such as being stuck in traffic or listening to someone on the phone for an interminable amount of time. They can also endure the irritations of working with other people.
In one study, researchers found that people with interpersonal patience were more satisfied with their lives than those who were impulsive or impatient.