Your most productive employee may have excellent technical skills. The temptation is to promote these high performing workhorses up the ladder and into leadership positions. Technical competence is an important element of effective leadership, but much more is needed.
Without helping the employee cultivate the necessary skills through leadership development, the employer could be setting everyone up for disappointment.
What Are the Most Important Leadership Skills?
Among the many important leadership skills, these five are often identified as critical in leadership development that will put you on the path to success:
Establishing yourself as an honest and trustworthy individual will help you climb to the top of the career ladder. Your reputation for honesty and integrity will form the foundation for your ability to foster team-building, communicate effectively, and cultivate respect at all staff levels. If your staff trusts you, they will feel able to come to you to discuss even the most sensitive matters with candor.
You can recognize people who are trustworthy. They are reliable. They keep their promises by following through on their commitments. When they make mistakes, they take responsibility and do not blame others. When they explain a concept or activity, they are prepared and can articulate details with accuracy and anticipate questions. They keep confidential the information given to them in confidence.
2. Communicates Effectively
Effective communication is another skill widely recognized as critical for sound leadership. As indicated above, it is a skill that fosters trust in the leadership. It also helps the team understand the mission, direction, and purpose, so that everyone is on the same page. Communications are professional, respectful, and business-like, with personal points of view and emotions kept in check.
A person shows effective communication skills when the person is able to articulate a vision and purpose for the team. Such a person shows good listening skills by seeking out feedback from team members at all levels and factors it into the tasks at hand. Listening skills means the person shows interest in what others are saying and asks questions to better understand the others’ points of views. The person is aware of body language also, making sure to portray assertive yet respectful communication. These communication skills help build good relationships with coworkers – another key leadership skill.
3. Building Relationships
Everyone knows those people at work who are the “go to” people to help problem solve. They are the ones you get to know soon after you start a new job. They have relationship building skills. It entails networking inside and outside of the organization and taking an interest in the people.
You can cultivate these skills by practicing them until they feel comfortable to you. Start by expressing a pleasant greeting for those you encounter in the workplace, no matter what position they hold. Become accessible and willing to help someone work through a problem, even when you are busy. Offer words of encouragement and hope and optimism in difficult situations. Look for opportunities to share lunch with colleagues, meet face-to-face with team members to resolve problems, and seek feedback from interested parties.
4. Time Management/Setting Priorities
Time management is not just managing your own time; it is also managing the company’s time. Effective time management entails setting priorities for the entire organization, managing competing priorities, and orchestrating the process of bringing together many people and many moving parts. By necessity, an effective leader must manage time by delegating responsibility to appropriate management and other personnel.
You can recognize a person who has good time management skills. They anticipate the next step in a task and stay ahead of it. They usually set realistic deadlines and meet them. If they anticipate delays, they provide appropriate notice to stakeholders and offer a new, realistic deadline. They delegate well, and break large projects into smaller tasks to stay on track.
5. Problem Solving
Effective problem solving skills does not mean coming up with a resolution by yourself. Because you have proven yourself to be trustworthy, reliable in your communications, and interested in the success of those whom you work with, you can bet that your team members will give you their best efforts in helping you with problems the organization faces.
People with good problem solving skills are able to focus. They are willing to face possible conflict and access available resources for help. They seek the input of stakeholders to identify the issues, brainstorm and outline realistic options.
Speak to an HR Professional for Help with Leadership Development Needs
The competition for good leadership development is strong. Making a poor choice is expensive. Consult with the professionals at Smart HR for more information about how they can provide HR solutions to help your organization develop employees into better leaders and accomplish organization goals.