Eight essential leadership skills employers really want

Looking to get ahead in your career and develop your managerial skills? It’s time to take the lead… 

5 mins read
Leadership Skills Article Header

10 Apr, 2024

​Good leadership and management are essential for organisations of all types and sizes. To achieve this, leaders will need to have a unique set of skills that enable them to inspire, motivate, and guide their teams towards achieving their goals. So find below 8 tips to improve and communicate your leadership skills.

Communication skills that inspire and motivate

Whether you’re casting the company vision to your team, setting expectations, or sharing joint goals and targets, the way you communicate with others is vital. By giving team members clear goals (as well as a good level of autonomy), letting them know why their work matters, and celebrating their successes, you’ll build a team of motivated employees who know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

A strategic mindset built on data

Strategic thinking makes up a large part of a leader’s role. Primarily, you’ll need to see the big picture, but you’ll also need to be able to identify challenges, prioritise tasks, and pinpoint the best (and most achievable) opportunities within that picture. This involves making informed decisions based on data.

Emotional intelligence

Ever met a good leader that flies off the handle whenever things go wrong? Nope, we haven’t either. That’s because emotional intelligence is at the forefront of great leadership. Not only do you need to be able to regulate your own thoughts and feelings, you’ll also need to empathise with how others feel, and respond appropriately.

Adaptability in challenging circumstances

Let’s face it, things don’t always go to plan in the workplace. This means that leaders should be flexible and open-minded, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and make smart decisions accordingly. This could involve anything from amending a business strategy based on new budget limitations, or reallocating tasks after a member of staff resigns.

The ability to grow your team and delegate

You know what they say: a leader is nothing without their team. In order to get the best output, a good leader is able to delegate tasks in a way that maximises productivity – and encourages team growth. This involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and assigning tasks accordingly.

Trustworthiness and authenticity

In order to be a great leader, you’ll need to build and foster a good relationship with your team. This means being ethical and demonstrating honesty and integrity in everything you do. Being an authentic leader is also a key part of building trust, and involves a high level of self-awareness and openness. In short – you’re human, don’t try to hide it.

The ability to focus on the good above the bad

Remember: leaders have the ability to set the tone for the entire team. If you always approach problems negatively or give up at every roadblock, this attitude will quickly spread amongst others. To lead positively, focus on the good above the bad. This means celebrating successes (no matter how small) and approaching problems or mistakes with the mentality of learning from them.

A flexible approach to your leadership style

A good leader has more than one leadership style under their belt – and an even better leader will know the right approach for every circumstance, situation, and person. This involves getting to know your team and goals and working together in a way that best suits each party. For example, whilst some people will benefit from a hands-on approach from their leaders, others will work better when given the autonomy to do things their own way.

How to develop your leadership skills

Leadership is a crucial skill that is required in almost all aspects of life. And even if you’re not currently in a leadership position, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop your skills.

Here are a few top tips to help you develop your leadership skills right now:

Give your skills an audit

First things first, you need to assess your current strengths and weaknesses. Which areas do you feel need work, and what do you want to become better at? Whether it’s that you’re struggling with positive thinking or you want to be more adaptable, knowing exactly what you need to focus on will help give your learning a clear direction.

Read about leadership

Which successful leaders do you look up to? Whether it’s in books, online blogs, social media, or biographies, great leaders are often sharing their stories, techniques, and career journeys, allowing aspiring leaders to learn the key to success. You can also attend seminars, conferences, and workshops on leadership to learn first-hand from experienced leaders.

Take risks and make mistakes

If you want to become a good leader, you’ll need to take risks. By opening yourself up to new challenges and pushing yourself to grow (no matter how hard it is), you’ll develop core skills that the best leaders use on a daily basis. And if you fail? Use your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Trust us, no one ever learnt anything in their comfort zone.

Start acting like a leader

OK, so this might be easier said than done. But you’d be surprised at how your leadership abilities develop when you simply start acting the part. This means leading by example, becoming a role model for ethical and professional behaviour, building good relationships, holding yourself accountable, and listening to the needs of others.

Take a leadership course

Whether you’re already working in a management role, or you’re looking to advance to leadership, taking a course is a great way to build on your skills.

Are you looking for the next step in your career? Contact Reed today.

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Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices
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Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices

Employee monitoring can help ensure productivity and accountability among employees, as managers can track their work progress and identify areas where improvement is needed. Monitoring enhances data security by detecting and preventing unauthorised access or data breaches and additionally, it enables you to adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements, reducing legal risks. 

The key thing to remember is that workplace surveillance is perfectly acceptable, as long as you can legally justify your reasons, and it is always better to be ‘overt’, not ‘covert’.  

A report shows that despite normality returning to working life post-pandemic, demand for employee surveillance software is 49% above 2019 levels. 

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’, provides insight from top experts in the field including:    

Keith Rosser, Director of Group Risk and Reed Screening, Reed 

Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD

 By downloading this eBook, you will discover:   

  • What employee monitoring is 

  • Whether it's needed for your business

  • Considerations for introducing workplace monitoring  

  • The benefits and drawbacks  

  • Potential impact of surveillance on the workforce 

  • Your duties as a responsible employer 

“Monitoring software that employees see as intrusive and unnecessary is more likely to erode mutual trust in the employment relationship. Employers need to show how using monitoring software can benefit employees, while respecting their privacy.” -Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD.

Workplace monitoring: guidance for your organisation
2 mins read
  1. Article

Workplace monitoring: guidance for your organisation

​In the past, workplace monitoring was relatively simplistic: employers relied on visual supervision and basic timekeeping systems, and the concept of privacy was limited.

Fast forward to the digital age. Employee monitoring has reached new levels of sophistication and become common practice for employers seeking to boost productivity, enhance security, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Improved productivity and deeper insights

With the advancement of technology, including GPS tracking, computer monitoring software, and biometric identification systems, surveillance can provide employers with detailed insights into employee activities and performance.

One of the key benefits of employee monitoring is the ability to track and improve productivity levels. By monitoring employees' activities, employers can identify inefficiencies, analyse workflow processes, and provide targeted feedback to enhance performance. This data-driven approach allows companies to optimise their operations, allocate resources effectively, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Monitoring can also help employers identify and address issues such as time theft, excessive breaks, and unauthorised activities in the workplace. With real-time monitoring tools, employers can detect irregularities and take corrective actions promptly, therefore improving accountability and integrity among employees.

Employee monitoring can also aid in compliance with regulations and industry standards. By keeping a close eye on electronic communications, websites visited, and files accessed, employers can ensure that employees adhere to data protection laws, maintain confidentiality, and comply with company policies. This proactive approach minimises the risk of data breaches and security incidents and also protects the company from potential legal liabilities.

Balancing surveillance and ethics

Despite the clear advantages of employee monitoring, it is crucial for organisations to approach this practice with sensitivity and respect for staff privacy. As a matter of course, employers should establish clear policies regarding monitoring practices, communicate openly with employees about the purpose and scope of monitoring, and ensure transparency in the use of monitoring tools.

Prioritise the protection of sensitive employee data by implementing robust security measures, restricting access to monitoring data, and complying with data protection regulations such as GDPR. These considerations can ease employees’ minds about any surveillance and even instil appreciation for such measures. After all, workplace security is in everyone’s best interests.

Download our best practice guide to employee monitoring

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’ provides insight into how employers might best integrate employee monitoring into their organisation, and considerations for what the impact may be on employees. With opinion from thought leaders, it addresses everything from pre-employment checks to the tracking tech that might be right your organisation.

Looking to hire top talent for your organisation or to find your next dream role? Get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.

Temporary vs permanent teaching roles: which is best for you?
4 mins read
  1. Article

Temporary vs permanent teaching roles: which is best for you?

​Whether you’re just starting out on your teaching career or considering your options midway through, both temporary and permanent teaching roles have much to offer in terms of personal and professional development. The deciding factor for many is often concerned with the impact an individual hopes to make in their career – whether they see a long future at a particular school or are drawn to the rich experiences that may lie in a series of temporary or supply teaching roles at different schools.  

Temporary teaching roles: flexibility and exploration 

Temporary teaching roles offer educators flexibility and variety in their careers. Whether it be covering maternity leave, sabbaticals, or filling short-term vacancies, these roles provide opportunities to gain diverse experiences across different schools, age groups, and subjects. For those craving new challenges and exposure to various teaching methodologies, temporary teaching, cover teaching or supply teaching positions – just some of terms by which short-term teaching goes by – can be immensely rewarding. 

Temporary (or temp) roles enable teachers to test the waters before committing to a long-term position. They offer a glimpse into different school cultures, leadership styles, and student demographics, allowing educators to discern their preferences and strengths. This exploratory phase can be invaluable for early-career teachers seeking to refine their teaching approach and identify their niche within the education sector. 

It may even be said that everyone should try supply teaching at some point in their teaching career. Such roles can strengthen resilience and help teachers adapt to diverse environments, navigate unexpected challenges, and quickly establish a rapport with students and colleagues. These experiences enrich professional skill sets and cultivate a broader perspective on education. 

However, temp roles come with some uncertainties, such as job insecurity and lack of long-term stability. While it is highly unlikely in the current climate – unless you are inflexible when it comes to your working location – teachers may face periods of unemployment between assignments, necessitating financial planning and resilience to withstand potential gaps in income. The transient nature of temporary roles can impede the establishment of deep-rooted connections within school communities, potentially affecting professional networking and career advancement opportunities, unless working with a reputable teaching recruiter 

Permanent teaching roles: stability and long-term impact 

In contrast, permanent teaching roles offer greater stability and security, providing educators with the assurance of ongoing employment and consistent income. For individuals seeking to establish roots within a school community, build lasting relationships with students and colleagues, and contribute to long-term educational initiatives, permanent positions are conducive to professional growth. 

Permanent (or perm) roles afford teachers the opportunity to make a sustained impact on students’ lives, offering continuity and consistency in their educational journey. By immersing themselves in a specific school culture and curriculum, educators can develop deep connections with students and take on mentorship opportunities and leadership roles that contribute to the school community. 

Permanent roles often provide access to comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare, pension schemes, and professional development opportunities. These perks enhance job satisfaction and overall wellbeing, helping teachers feel valued and supported. A permanent contract often makes it easier for teachers to access opportunities for career progression and development. 

However, commitment to a permanent teaching role entails a long-term investment in a specific school or institution, therefore factors such as school ethos, leadership vision, and career prospects should be considered before committing to a permanent position. Conversely, such roles may limit opportunities for professional exploration and diversification, potentially stifling creativity and innovation in teaching practices. 

Deciding what's best for you: priorities and nice-to-haves 

Ultimately, the decision between temporary and permanent teaching roles hinges on individual priorities, aspirations, and circumstances. Here’s how to guide your decision-making process: 

Reflect on your career goals:

Take time to assess your long-term career aspirations, values, and priorities. Consider whether you prioritise stability and continuity or crave variety and exploration in your professional journey. 

Evaluate your personal circumstances:

Consider factors such as financial obligations, family commitments, and lifestyle preferences when weighing the pros and cons of supply and permanent roles. Could you cope with long commutes for example, or be ready to move time and again? Determine how each option aligns with your personal circumstances and desired work-life balance.  

Seek mentorship and advice:

Reach out to experienced educators, mentors, and career advisors for guidance and insights. Their perspectives can offer valuable guidance when it comes to the nuances of temporary and permanent teaching roles and help you make an informed decision. 

Flexibility and adaptability:

Remain open to new opportunities and embrace the flexibility inherent in both temporary and permanent roles. Your career journey may evolve over time, and being adaptable to change is essential for growth and fulfilment. 

Choosing between temporary and permanent teaching roles is a deeply personal decision that is best decided by evaluating professional aspirations and personal circumstances. While teachers all have the same goal in educating and inspiring the next generation, the way they achieve this may be through various routes – making a difference to the lives of many in one or more schools. 

Looking for your next teaching role? Get in touch with our specialist education recruiters today for temporary and permanent teaching opportunities.