Critical leadership skills required at the workplace

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills a characteristic that not many of us are endowed with, and that is perfectly okay because a leader has to be able to inspire those who are directly under him, particularly at the work place. Interestingly, there are many people who are leaders but who have not the slightest idea that they have the capabilities. Leadership is manifested on different fronts, but the fundamental similarity lies in an individual’s understanding of how they lead, and the reason they do it. This article highlights 10 integral leadership skills that you must exhibit if you are to be a successful leader.

Leadership Characteristics

1. As a leader, you must be extremely passionate about what you do as well as about the team that rallies behind you. A leader who does not have passion ceases to be a leader. Passion inspires the people that you lead; it boosts their energy levels and helps them be the best that they can. Make no mistake, being passionate does not necessarily mean that you always have to be smiling. Passion means believing in your dream, having faith in the vision of your company as well as the abilities of your team members.

2. Proper leadership skills call for an organized individual. If organization is not your cup of tea, it may be wise to look up to other options. A disorganized leader simply inspires his team to more disorganization, and this is certainly something that you want to steer clear of. Organization allows the team to be optimally productive while still learning from each other. When you are organized, it is possible to help your team members acquire the same skills.

3. A leader leads by examples. You have probably heard of the saying, leading from the front. That is what proper leadership is all about. You cannot allow yourself to drink from the cup of aloofness. A leader is capable of getting down and dirty when the situation calls for him to do so. A great leader is always around when his team is in need, helping out to make sure that the task at hand is completed. This is a key distinction between great leaders and not-so-great individuals. The former shows the team how it is done while the latter lazes around, ordering team members to do what they have not been able to do. Leading from the front means that your team comprehends what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done.

4. A great leader acknowledges that while they need to be available for the team, they cannot possibly accomplish everything when it needs to be done. In recognition of this fact, leadership skills place a demand on such an individual to delegate duties to the team that s/he leads. The trick lies in delegating wisely otherwise this could lead to the opposite effect. When delegating tasks, a great leader will often consider the qualifications that an individual has, alongside the requirements of the task at hand. This allows the employees to have a sense of ownership of the work, hence improving their productivity.

5. As much as a great leader delegates duties, he also has to have a sense of ownership that permits him to take full responsibility at all times. This simply means letting your team know that they can count on you through thick and thin. This does not necessarily mean letting your employees go when they err, neither does it mean taking work that is below acceptable standards. It means correcting your employees when they make mistakes, taking into account the bigger picture.

6. It is virtually impossible to talk about , leadership skills without making mention of communication skills. The two are actually complementary, and great leaders have to possess these skills. To put this in perspective, it is important that a leader is able to effectively communicate the effect that an employee’s work has in the long run. This means praising the employees when a good job is done. You have to give your employees the affirmation that they need to let them know that they have done a good job. In the same breath, a great leader gives constructive criticism. When doing this, make your points brief and precise.

7. Part of great communication skills involves listening skills, so a leader must be a great listener. You cannot afford to keep talking if you want to be an effective leader. Part of motivating your staff means listening to them and asking them questions as well as looking to understand their issues, both at the workplace as well as personal ones that they may be looking to share with you.

8. Leadership requires that one is brave and can stand up to the different challenges that they encounter in their line of work. So, the contract that you got has just gotten cancelled. Do you run away from the situation, or ignore it altogether? Or maybe you need to launch your product in a new market. Do you strut forward in confidence that the product will launch successfully, or do you shy away? In the same stride, leaders are honest and do not present matters in a way to cause emotive responses. Great leadership is about presenting matters in an honest straight forward yet balanced approach.

9. Knowing the team that you lead will go a long way in promoting team spirit. This does not mean prying into their private lives, rather it means knowing what makes your employees tick. You need to be aware of a thing or two besides their work life. It could be their birthdays, their children, their hobbies etc. the more you know what someone is like outside the office, the greater the chances of finding common ground.

10. Lastly, a leader must draw inspiration from those who have gone ahead of them. This means being a leader who follows someone else, but still manages to find the value of his team members.

At the end of the day, great leaders are not made overnight- it takes time, patience and determination.

-- Tony B.

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