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.
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.