Leadership is one of those skills that can be learned.
It can be carefully cultivated if you are willing to put in the effort. One way to do this is to actively practice leadership skills in the workplace. There’s a misconception that leadership is something that is only reserved for the most senior of executives. That those below do not have to worry about it.
However, leadership is actually accountability to self and organization. And it is useful at any point in time, whether you are a line manager or a CEO.
Here are five skills that distinguish good leaders from others. You will notice that while these are typically considered soft skills, no one really needs a leader to demonstrate their market acumen. They became a leader because they were good at their job. However, soft skills are crucial to a leader, mainly because they determine how well a leader does.
Also read: The Positive Effects of Compassionate Leadership
Self-awareness is a fantastic skill for anyone to have. But more so than others, it is good for leaders to be self-aware and critical. Just as they need to be aware of their strengths, they also need to be aware of their failings (no one is immune to weakness). They need to be able to recognize when they can contribute effectively, and when they need someone else to step in and take over. Self-awareness is not so much about acknowledging you do not know how to do something as much as it is about recognizing your limitations and making decisions that have the most acceptable outcome.
Accountability and responsibility are two skills that go hand in hand. If you are responsible for an organization, or a team, remember, you are accountable for it as well. The essence of leadership is accepting the bouquets along with the brickbats. This is means, when the going is good, step back and let your team take the spotlight. And when the going is back, stepping forward and accepting accountability for what happened. Sure, maybe you did not directly impact whatever happened. However, as a leader, you need to take charge, especially when the chips are down.
Empathy is one of those soft skills that are absolutely necessary for everyday life and most definitely in a corporate setting. It is good for leaders to have a head for business (actually necessary because the other way lies disaster) but empathy is also an equally important skill. Empathy is recognizing the efforts your employees are making. Empathy is understanding that sometimes, despite your best efforts, you will not be able to achieve your end result. Empathy is realizing that different people work differently and as a leader, your job is to seamlessly integrate that into a team, rather than digging your heels in.
Also read: 6 Leadership Mistakes That Will Cost You Dearly
Being honest does not mean you have to be honest to a fault. There’s no need to spill your guts or that of the organization to everyone. However, the type of honesty that matters most in an organization is the honest acknowledgment of troubles, obstacles, mistakes, successes, etc.
When leaders are honest and make an effort to be as transparent as they can, they engender loyalty among employees. On the other hand, if leaders are secretive, or very inscrutable and not easy to read, employees feel alienated and might even assume the leader is doing something shady, even if they really are not.
Does flexibility mean that leaders have to be absolutely easy-going and accepting of everything? No, that is not it. Leaders need to be disciplined and stern at times, however, flexibility is also an important skill to possess. Leaders need to be flexible in the sense that they need to realize that at times, things will not go as per plan. Or maybe, employees have a certain amount of bandwidth and beyond that, they cannot be pushed. Or for example, it is not possible to over-perform and over-deliver frequently without causing discord and tension. Flexible leaders look for alternate options, are considerate of employees and do not expect gold to made out of thin air.
Did you know Engagedly’s performance and engagement modules can help you nurture future leaders?
Request A Demo
Get In Touch With Us