Assuming a position of power can make you a boss but not necessarily an effective leader. So what are the most important leadership skills and how do they benefit you? We explain this and more.
What are their impact on employees and the organisation? What are the most critical skills to acquire and develop?
In this article, I’ll explain the importance of essential leadership skills, and the six most important leadership skills you need to acquire and cultivate.
Let’s begin by first understanding leadership and its need and benefits.
Importance of leadership skills
Foremost, it is crucial that you understand the importance of leadership skills. Being an effective leader is a hard row to hoe, but the reward it yields is worth the trouble. It is not the position of power but your leadership skills that help you think in a unique and out-of-box ways.
To emerge as a real leader, you need mastery over your niche on skills and knowledge. Simultaneously, you need to display specific important leadership skills.
These skills help you create an encouraging and productive work environment; command love, respect, and devotion from the team members and scale success heights which seemed impossible earlier.
They help a leader take initiatives, work in an innovative and pro-active way to meet the business ROIs and foster a healthy work environment.
Important leadership skills you need
Now that you are aware of the importance of leadership skills, you come to the next agenda. You would certainly want to know essential leadership skills that you need to have. The good news is that regardless of the position you are presently working at, you can develop these leadership skills if found lacking.
These traits are crucial to carve the path of your success and earn respect as a strong leader. Listed below are some tried and tested well-curated lists of leadership skills to hone.
Communication is important everywhere, but its importance in good leaders stay uncontested. Predominant problems at the workplace have their origins in miscommunication.
Effective communication does not equate to speaking well alone but also spans to active listening and proper questioning technique to elicit required information.
A leader takes advantage of effective communication not just for clarity but also for connection, inspiration, persuasion, guidance and even assurance. Her way of communication sets the tone and communicating trend for that business environment.
In May 2014, the Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor identified communication as a top-ranking attribute needed for effective leadership. 74% of participants agreed to it while only 29% felt that leaders communicate effectively.
The core responsibility of any leader is to resolve all organisational problems at every level. The problem can be internal, i.e., within various departments, employees, teams, etc. It can also be external like that with the clients, market conditions, stiff competition, etc.
The chief task of the leader is to analyse the entire situation logically and with a cool head. The consequence of this would be a fast action-oriented decision that would work in the best interest of the organisation and its employees.
It is the problem-solving skill that helps any leader to analyse and anticipate trends. It gives her direction and ideas for strategic planning which lists under important leadership skills as well.
Due to the successful turn-around of any problem, the leader can inspire his team, cultivate his image as dependable and earn the respect of all.
Are you aware that success is relationship driven? A successful leader always manages to create and foster a solid foundation of trust and relationships with both employees and clients. Investing time, effort and even emotion to strengthen relations internally as well as externally reap unparalleled success to any leader.
The statement does not imply that you need to build a one-on-one relationship with every employee of your organisation. It is not feasible in a large billion dollar company. The key here is accessibility.
A small gesture as greeting even the peon and appreciating work of others will inspire feelings of being personally mentored by the leader.
Related article: How to Make Employees Feel Appreciated and Valued
Consequently, every employee would feel more motivated and willing to walk the extra mile for you. The stronger is your ability to breed emotional intelligence (EQ) and relationship, the better a leader you will emerge. It is a crucial leadership skill to cultivate and hone.
Striving for feedback
Giving an encouraging and constructive feedback to the team members often emerges as the defining line between an employee’s success and failure. Hence every leader works hard on it. However, the ability to receive feedback is a notch higher important leadership skill required in any leader.
No matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement. Learning to accept feedback about yourself and acting positively on it will inevitably make you a better leader. A smart leader perceives it as the best way to optimise her behaviour for her team and brand.
Soliciting feedback from your team and working on it will not make you small but elevate your stance with all. The respect, loyalty, and devotion that this trait inspired from all are exceptional. It is one of the most important leadership skills to cultivate and refine.
Amidst the bounty of essential leadership skills to strive for, trustworthiness has crossed the mile to become as crucial a skill as confidence or competence. With the business world shifting from vertical to horizontal, the critical success factor has moved from ‘power’ to ‘power of trust.’
In the present digital age, the extent to which you appear as an honest and trustworthy leader will determine your success trail. Display of traits like honesty and integrity will encourage team-building, robust communication and foster trust and respect at all levels.
The core of trustworthiness is integrity and truthfulness. It is the foundation quality for any business success.
With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.
– Zig Ziglar
Empathy for team
Contrary to expectations, empathy has emerged recently as one of the most coveted and important leadership skills to acquire. Extending beyond sympathy, the trait gives any leader, a powerful arsenal to understand, support and guide others with compassion and sensitivity.
It is easy for any leader to miss on the needs and feelings of his team members while being completely focused on her goals. It grows the feeling of being neglected which in turn reduces performance and loyalty.
Developing the empathy skill fine-tunes your ‘people-acumen’ skill which translates to a happier work environment, high employee satisfaction and better productivity and profitability. An empathetic leader eliminates the need for an ‘employee-engagement’ program to a large extent.
The Importance of leadership skills cannot be emphasised enough! It forms a strong foundation for your career success as well as the success of any organisation. You first need to identify the essential leadership skills which are:
- Effective communication
- Problem solving
- Relationship building
- Striving for feedback
- Empathy for team
We have acquired an understanding of the defined leadership skill and the way it can benefit you, other employees and the organisation.
Adopting and nurturing these qualities will not only help you survive as a leader but also thrive with your team and the organisation in-stride!