Dozens of traits make a successful manager, but only a handful of features are as important as leadership capabilities. Although it doesn’t seem difficult, most companies are struggling to find individuals who have the ability to motivate and guide a team of employees towards reaching a common objective.
According to the report, 77 percent of organizations are currently experiencing a leadership gap. Another study reveals that 83 percent of organizations think it is important to develop leaders at all levels, but only 5 percent have fully managed to do so.
Becoming a leader is obviously not an easy achievement, but it’s feasible if you know which traits to look for. In this post, we will show you five main skills that make a successful leader.
1. Self-Assessment Skills
Self-assessment is the first step towards becoming the leader. It’s a starting point that you must get over with before analyzing other members of the team. You need to figure out the pros and cons of your personality, detecting pain points that require special attention.
Be ready to ask yourself a series of questions to evaluate your leadership potential. Here are a few examples:
- What do you like about managing people? How about the things you don’t like?
- What happened the last time I had a conflict with a colleague?
- How do I react when people approach me with new ideas?
- When was the last time I truly convinced someone to do things my way?
These and many other similar questions will help you to analyze your personality and learn what can be improved. The other way to the self-assessment is to run an online leadership test. It will show how you approach issues such as time management, multitasking, organizational communication, etc. Upon completion, you will get a full report with clear instructions on what to do and how to improve.
2. Superb Communication Skills
Quality communication is one of the basic traits of a genuine leader. Why is that so? It’s because you need to avoid confusion and misunderstandings in your team. The only way to do it is by using clear and concise language that leaves no room for misinterpretations.
You should delegate tasks with precise performance indicators, thus making sure that everyone fulfills their share of duties. Keep in mind, however, that organizational communication represents a two-way process, so you must also allow colleagues to express their ideas freely.
For this reason, it is critical to regularly organize meetings – preferably each week – to see what has been done so far and what needs to be done in the coming days. This is also the opportunity to brainstorm, come up with fresh ideas, and get an update about competitors’ activities.
Internal communications experts at AssignmentMasters.org suggest that leaders shouldn’t neglect the power of written communication, too: “As a leader, you should write things down and send the most important meeting conclusions to all team members. That way, you’ll have everything transparent and easy to double-check in case of possible disagreements.”
3. Listening and Analytical Skills
A business organization is rarely ever a group of perfectly compatible individuals. On the contrary, professional teams usually consist of employees who possess completely different personal traits, which is why the leader’s job gets even harder.
A good manager is watching over his colleagues, listening to their needs and analyzing their skills. That way, he can indulge individual demands of each member of the team while keeping the group fully operational and productive.
The crucial thing is to recognize two basic types of workers:
- Rule-followers: This type includes individuals who prefer strict rules and clear instructions. They do everything based on leader’s inputs but don’t really bring innovation to the business. It’s often easy to manage such employees because you only need to provide them with a simple to-do list.
- Creators: The second type represents professionals who are creative and passionate about their jobs, but don’t really like to follow procedures. As a leader, you should give them just enough freedom to express their creativity, but don’t allow them to act 100 percent independently as it may compromise the work process.
4. Mentorship Skills
Micromanagement is sometimes inevitable, but it’s not the best way to run your organization. Instead, you should develop mentorship skills and gradually teach your colleagues to work independently. How can you achieve it?
The first lesson is to let employees fail. They must learn to crawl before they can walk, so don’t be afraid of giving them the chance to understand the lesson. This means allowing them to work without your supervision, so you can discuss the good and bad sides of the work later.
Another important detail is to avoid perfectionism while mentoring an employee. You can probably do something completely right, but if you really don’t need to more than 70 percent or 80 percent, let the colleague give it a try. Get used to task delegation – your team can perfect professional skills this way, while you can rest assured that the world won’t end when you are not there to supervise everything.
5. Be a Role Model
Being a role model is the last, but certainly not the least important leadership duty. If you don’t work hard, how can you expect your employees to give their best? If you don’t respect company procedures, why would someone else do it?
You have to treat subordinates as equals because it’s the only way to build trust and loyalty. This skill encompasses a wide range of activities, but here are several examples to remember:
- Be enthusiastic: Stay positive and keep the upbeat tone while discussing work-related issues.
- Communicate honestly: Don’t trash talk your employees, but rather try to communicate with everyone directly and openly.
- Show respect: Don’t humiliate people or make fun of them when they do something wrong.
- Keep learning: The more you know, the better you perform. If you know everything about the ongoing project, the rest of the team will try to follow.
- Show that you care: A leader knows that relationship-building goes outside the office. You should be a good friend who pays attention to the personal needs of his colleagues – it will earn you authority and respect.
Most people believe that leaders are born, not made. While it is true that some individuals become leaders much easier than others, it is also true that you can become a leader through practice.
This article showed you five main skills that make a successful leader. Following our tips and suggestions, you can learn how to lead your team more effectively, so don’t hesitate to give them a try. Enjoy the process and leave us a comment if you need additional explanations about this topic!