When you have the privilege and responsibility of leading a company, knowing how to lead is essential to success. Business owners and managers need to understand the difference between a leader and a boss and which skills distinguish the two. This is a list of the 10 most important leadership skills you need to cultivate.
Share a Vision
This skill refers to how clearly a leader can see his or her vision, share it with employees and inspire them to support it. The ability to lead also entails how well a leader can motivate employees in order to get the desired business results. For example, each employee should understand how his or her job contributes to the company’s overarching goals. Instilling this information is part of a leader’s responsibility and will help employees feel motivated and have a sense of purpose.
All great leaders need to be good communicators because they need the ability to explain their ideas, describe the company vision to employees, ensure tasks are done on time, facilitate office conversations, and know when it is the right or wrong time for a meeting. Leaders must also be able to communicate what a job entails before someone is hired, and explain the reasons for firing someone.
Creating and fostering relationships with both employees and clients is one of the marks of a leader who is truly dedicated to his or her position and company. It takes an investment of time, emotion, and effort to maintain business relationships, and this is not overlooked by your team members or customers. These relationships will help inspire your team to work harder and even go above and beyond the call of duty.
It is difficult and demoralizing to follow a leader who does not understand what he or she is doing. Great leaders must lead in both the workplace and in their respective fields. They must be a voice of authority that clients, employees, and other industry professionals look to and respect. They must apply this expertise to make important decisions and know what is and is not possible for the team to accomplish.
Perceptive of Team Needs
In addition to having leadership skills, managers must make sure their teams also have the skills they need to succeed. Leaders should be able to determine the most vital skills for a position, and either find someone who already has those skills or hire someone who is a good fit for the team and company culture and then train them. Great leaders can identify all of the skills within the scope of a role, ensure the new team member has the proper training and certifications and understand what equipment and tools are needed to do the job.
The most trusted leaders gain the trust and respect of employees and clients because they display integrity and honesty. Being seen as trustworthy will increase your team members’ commitment to their goals, and inspire their best efforts. This includes many factors such as competence and perceived intent. Being trusted by your team also helps the communication process, because team members will be more likely to take risks during brainstorming sessions and come to you with any problems that are interfering with their ability to do their work.
Time management is often cited as an important skill for employees, but it is even more important for leaders. Great leaders have to keep track of their own time as well as steer the entire company toward meeting its goals. Therefore, time management for leaders entails knowing how and where to spend their own time, understanding how employees spend their time, and what objectives each department should spend its time on. Leaders must decide where to invest the company’s time and resources, which clients have a good return-on-investment, which employees need more mentoring and which business ventures will benefit customers.
Great leaders are committed to their business, their employees and their customers. They understand that what makes a product or service great is an ongoing commitment to excellence. A leader who is not committed to a company should not be leading it, and a lack of commitment to customers and an unwillingness to listen to complaints and suggestions means customer service will decline and innovation and satisfaction standards decrease.
Confidence inspires trust and helps leaders present themselves and their company well. Leaders need confidence to make and stick to important decisions. There is a lot of pressure in business for leaders to be decisive, and changing your mind often sends a message that you do not have a plan or strategy.
All leaders must know how to solve team- and company-related problems. The best companies offer products and services that solve specific problems for their clients as well as internally. If an employee comes to you with a problem, your number one goal as a leader is to help them solve that problem in their best interest and that of the company.
All of these factors are essential in a well-rounded and highly-effective leader. Consider each of these elements as you move grow your company and become the best leader you can be.
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