Leadership is the art of influencing people to get them to follow your lead. Leading others requires knowledge and involves many skills. You need to have the appropriate leadership skills. What makes someone an effective leader varies from person to person, but there are some skills that every good leader possesses.
What are Leadership Skills?
In brief, leadership skills are the observable behaviors, competencies, and qualities that help you guide, direct and lead others in a team or an organization. In other words, leadership skills are noticeable habits that define a person as a great or poor leader in any given position or environment.
In general, leadership skills are the choices and actions a leader takes. These choices and actions can vary depending on the situation, but generally include setting and articulating a vision, rallying people around that vision, providing clear direction and motivating people to achieve results, communicating effectively, making good decisions under pressure, and implementing changes.
Leadership skills can be shown through your interactions with other people and how you relate with them. Everyone has the potential to be a leader, and it’s up to you to find out what skills you need.
33 Examples of Leadership Skills
To help with your process of becoming a leader, here are examples of good leadership skills:
1. Setting Goals
Setting goals with clarity and simplification is a valuable leadership skill. Goals are necessary because they set standards that direct people where to focus their concentration and efforts.
Setting measurable goals is one way to quantify results that help teams to measure accomplishments — this reduces confusion concerning tasks and challenges every team member to achieve the common goal. Setting goals is a cornerstone of leadership.
A productive leader makes decisions even when there are obstacles like limited information or conflicting views from others.
Being decisive means moving forward quickly and make a decision. It’s usually better to have insufficient data than no data at all.
You can make a good decision based on questionable data. It’s better to make a decision and move forward than to not decide at all because you are afraid of the consequences.
Decide based on incomplete data and then revise it if necessary as you receive more information. If you have to choose between moving forward with insufficient data or no action at all, take action — even if it’s wrong.
Read also: 21 Good Examples of Accountability
Leaders who have self-discipline understand the power of delayed gratification, which means they can look beyond their own immediate needs and pleasures for long-term success.
By demonstrating a greater sense of self-control, you set an example that gains respect — people will be more likely to follow your lead when they see how disciplined you are with your time management skills or budget.
4. Portraying Positivity
Good leaders have a positive attitude that is apparent in everything they do and say. If you want people to work with you, then lead by example and show them that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and help out when necessary.
When people see you working hard, they feel the obligation or responsibility to do the same themselves because of how it reflects on their leader.
There’s nothing wrong with being an authoritative leader but at some point, you must learn how to include others in the decision-making process if there’s any hope of finding solutions together.
Whether it be between team members or even with others outside of your organization, collaboration is the key to building relationships and working as a team towards common goals.
If you don’t, not only will you face more obstacles, but your employees may become less likely to work with each other if they don’t feel involved.
Good examples of leadership skills include organizing and prioritizing tasks, especially urgent ones and the more important but less pressing ones.
So, learn to stay focused on priority tasks while delegating less important things that can be done later or with someone else.
Know when it’s time to stop working on a task so you can finish it before running out of time.
What makes a good leader is not only related to prioritizing tasks but also to manage time. You need to understand the difference between using and wasting time.
7. Managing Time
Sometimes, people are so busy with their work that they forget to allocate time for other meaningful activities. You have to know how much time to allocate for each task so you can adjust its priority based on urgency, regardless of its importance.
At the same time, you also need to understand what will happen if some tasks are not completed or even started at all. A good leader should always accomplish their goals within time constraints.
Read also: 12 Examples of Resilience at Work
8. Coaching Employees
You cannot be a good leader if you don’t know how to develop your people. When you offer training to your people, they take their responsibilities seriously and do their job without requiring too much guidance from you.
It’s your job as a leader to guide or develop your employees to grow and help them learn better skills, techniques, and processes. You cannot delegate that task to other people.
9. Developing Relationships
You must also be able to relate and bond with your employees so they can come to you for help or personal issues. When you make yourself available for one-on-one discussion, you earn trust and respect.
10. Handling Conflict
Conflict is inevitable within a team or company as long as there are different opinions regarding ways of handling various tasks.
When you exhibit the ability to handle conflict with maturity and poise, you set an example for those around you. Managing conflict is something a leader should know.
There are different ways to handle conflict, from ignoring it and hoping it goes away to deal with it head-on. You can also be hard in your approach to address a situation.
You can choose not to be confrontational or aggressive when confronting someone to avoid creating tension within the organization. Different conflict demands different responses. The most important thing is to be clear and direct in your approach.
When you delegate, you assign an employee or colleague with specific duties to make your job easier. If someone has good leadership skills, they need to know how to let go of minor responsibilities and focus on what’s essential.
One of the most effective ways to delegate is trusting someone equally competent and qualified with a particular task.
What happens when people cannot count on you? A lack of reliability has serious ramifications, making you look bad and damaging your reputation in the process.
One of the best leadership skills one can have is sticking to your word. This trait shows others that you are reliable, honorable, honest, and dependable — all valuable traits that foster relationships while inspiring team members to do their jobs well.
When people trust your words and follow through with what they say they will do, it instills confidence in those who work under them to perform up to expectations.
Assertiveness is to state or take a position without doubt or anger. An effective leader needs to be assertive, which might involve standing up for your core beliefs.
It takes great strength to know how to stand by your ideas and values once you’ve decided what they are.
For example, if you want to implement an idea that may cost the company money, you need to believe in your decision before putting it forward. Otherwise, why should anyone listen to you?
To be effective in your conversations and actions, use assertiveness without being aggressive.
Listening patiently is a great skill to have as a leader. So, you put the smartphone away or get up from the computer every once in a while, to give someone your undivided attention when they need it most.
Just like with any communication, listening is key for strong relationships, whether at work or outside the workplace.
Imagine if someone you’re working directly with didn’t listen to what you were saying or telling them. Your work performance would likely suffer as a result.
Good examples of leadership include keeping an open mind when facing difficulties, and be prepared to adjust tactics as needed. Despite setbacks, good leaders focus on their long-term goals rather than dwell on short-term problems.
It requires staying flexible to meet objectives through various means instead of choosing a single method. You must learn how to disseminate plans effectively and immediately adapt to changing situations.
Flexibility also allows leaders to maintain relationships during disagreements. Maintaining optimism is another facet of being flexible, so setbacks do not derail your efforts indefinitely before getting back into action.
16. Solving Problems
People expect their leader to solve problems, not create them. You must challenge your team to find solutions and develop plans that reach common goals.
Another aspect of problem-solving is knowing when to delegate or refer to others for assistance. True leaders know their limitations and do not force themselves in a position they are unqualified for.
But, it is still your responsibility to deal with every issue and challenge in the team. Some situations require urgent action rather than waiting until everything is perfect before making a move.
As a leader, you need to act fast to resolve issues instead of spending time dithering. Learning how to think on your feet and resolve issues as they arrive will keep things moving.
Self-awareness means understanding your strengths and weaknesses. As a leader, you must know what you can do and your limitations because you have to know what is best for you and your employees. When you are aware of this, you can make better decisions about the work environment.
Read more: 24 Examples of a Good Manager
As a leader, having the ability to spot business opportunities early on will help your company grow from it—you must be visionaries.
Being goal-oriented, you have a clear view of where your company needs to go and what strategies to implement to reach the desired goals.
19. Team Building
People who work together as a unit have better performance. This is because employees share knowledge about the job, company goals, objectives, performance metrics, problems, and solutions.
Having good leadership skills means that you can easily foster employee relationships to work as a team.
A team completes tasks faster than an individual and works together toward a common goal. As a leader, you need to know how to incorporate teamwork skills so that everyone contributes without unnecessary conflict.
When you are managing staff or a group of people, it is easy to get frustrated when they do not listen or comply with what you want them to do. But patience allows you to keep calm and think about other ways to help your employees understand what you want to be accomplished.
The ability to exercise patience without getting flustered is essential when working with people like those who get upset easily.
It’s tough to work with someone who has a bad temper, and if you suffer from it too, having the skills to contain yourself might be one of your good leadership skills. In addition, practicing patience helps build respect for those who exhibit this quality.
Creative thinking involves being able to brainstorm new ideas, processes, and ways of doing business. It is an essential skill for leaders because it allows them to approach situations from different perspectives and develop unique solutions.
Engaging in creative thinking, utilize your imagination, and think out-of-the-box — is a great way to explore various possibilities.
Encourage creative thinking by encouraging employees to take risks and step out of their comfort zones because often it leads to innovation. Creativity allows people to come up.
Motivation is fleeting, so you need to keep people motivated at all times, or else it could lead to a potential disaster lurking around the corner if they become complacent.
An inspiring leader can also be a great motivator; it’s all about discovering what drives an individual and utilizing that knowledge to help them achieve their goals.
Any leadership style has its limitations if it is fixated too narrowly on one dimension alone — even strength, when measured in isolation from weakness, is far less than ideal for effective leadership.
A truly great leader shows an even greater understanding of the big picture by recognizing that success depends on a combination of strengths and weaknesses working together in perfect balance.
24. Team Management
Good leaders should understand it takes more than just strategies and tactics to achieve results. Managing teams is an art that takes many skills.
You can probably think of at least one time when you have given a direction that didn’t quite make sense, and then someone else had to fix the problem that benefited your team or department.
25. Strategic Thinking
When you chart a course for the future, it’s imperative to consider all possible paths. Instead of focusing on just one objective, expand that vision to include other initiatives and determine how they affect each other.
To see beyond the present moment while setting goals will allow your team to achieve more strategic results.
When you need to defend an unpopular decision or soften the blow on bad news, having diplomatic skills allows you to deliver constructive criticism while retaining respect from those who might otherwise feel threatened by your decisions.
Never make people feel uncomfortable when communicating bad news because it doesn’t foster positive relationships in the long run.
A language impacts perception. A good leader can influence the conversation and persuade others through verbal exchanges. For instance, a good leader can select a few words from each sentence that will have the strongest impact on their perspective listeners.
On the other hand, good leaders are skilled at articulating rhetoric while demonstrating enthusiasm for what they are talking about.
You’ll always know where everyone stands because effective communication prevents uncomfortable situations from arising.
Some leaders have a hard time using other techniques besides talking. But there are countless ways to convey information without having to speak.
By learning how to communicate in various ways, you build strong relationships and maintain mutual respect with your employees.
28. Leading Change
You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so a good leader knows when it’s time for a change. When moving forward means changing the way things have always been done.
To Inspire a change isn’t just motivating people to take action. It’s also about influencing them to see the need for a change.
When you get your team excited and on board with a course of action, you’ve done something truly worthwhile as a leader. Your primary goal is to get everybody to see the need to change.
29. Sharing Information
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to share information with your followers and promote clear communication so that everyone knows what’s going on at all times.
There should not be secrets in the company — everybody should know about everything, which makes people feel safe in their jobs and motivates them.
When you foster inclusive communication amongst your employees, it develops an understanding of ideas that might otherwise be misunderstood or not considered at all. Encouraging staff members to communicate openly can make decisions.
To handle unforeseen events in the workplace, an effective leader must have the flexibility in your thinking to come up with innovative solutions.
Make changes on the fly without getting hung up on your preconceived notions about how things “should” be done.
By being open-minded, you show compassion for other people’s points of view and create an environment where diverse ideas can flourish and thrive — two key factors for positive innovation that leads to better decision-making for everyone involved.
The key to strategic planning is anticipating, analyzing, and preventing potential consequences. As a leader, you should identify the best options for your team or company that fulfill goals from which everyone can benefit.
Leadership awareness is the ability to show respect and courtesy by being aware of those around you during meetings or events.
If someone has a particular interest or question, you could ask them what they think about an idea concerning the topic at hand. By showing consideration to others, people will feel that their opinions count when discussing important issues.
33. Hiring The Right People
Putting together a team of extraordinary people is much easier said than done. Many people get it wrong when they hire based on availability instead of choosing the best candidate for the position.
Sometimes, leaders fail to realize that the achievements of an organization are only as good as its employees—it’s essential to have a winning team.
Hiring great employees will energize your team and organization, but it takes work to get the right people, and then even more work to make sure they stay there.
Having the right leadership skills, you will be able to maximize the output of your team. Accepting responsibility for subordinate’s work while using rewards effectively is an example of effective leadership.
There is a core of skills one needs to develop to become an effective leader. The proper mix of knowledge, skill, experience, interests, and dedication can lead you to achieve your ambitions to be a great leader.