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What are Leadership Skills?
Leadership skills are the soft skills that you need to cast vision, motivate, inspire, deal with conflict, and hold team members accountable. These skills are what is essential and expected for leaders to be effective in their role.
Leadership skills, like clear communication, are absolutely essential to leadership. Imagine how effective you can be as a leader if you were speaking a different language than your team. When leaders aren't clear, it can be a lot like they are speaking two different languages.
Leadership skills are expected because each country, culture, and even company will have specific expectations of what a leader is and how they should behave. Leadership isn't a universally accepted list of skills. It's a fluid idea that takes different forms under different circumstances. Most of the leadership skills lists, even mine linked below, is based on a Western cultural bias. I admit it I'm a product of my culture.
Leadership in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or South America will have other emphases on what's essential and what's expected.
1. Get a Coach
This is probably one of the more expensive ways to up your leadership game. You don't have to take my word for it, here's a Forbes article that outlines how an executive coach can make you more successful. But the lessons you learn with a coach will persist because they are learned in “real-time” in actual leadership situations. You can learn more about how I coach leaders here. This is something you can pay for yourself or you can request your company subsidize the process.
2. Get Training
The benefits of leadership training have been listed in many places. Ask your manager or training director what training you can attend to help you increase your leadership skills. This is another way to quickly increase your leadership acumen. What I find when I conduct leadership training is that it can be a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. There are so many good ideas in such a short time, it’s easy to forget some good ideas and therefore not implement them. I am launching an online leadership course by the end of August, sign up here to know when it happens.
3. Take an Inventory
You should look at the way you are leading right now and determine if it’s effective. Learn from your shortcomings and double down on your strengths. This can be done through a 360 degree assessment or by asking co-workers or reviewing a leadership checklist. I created a leadership checklist based on my work coaching and training leaders. You can download it here for free.
4. Read. Read. Read.
It’s been said that leaders are readers and it’s not just because it rhymes that it’s true. Reading is a great way to encounter new ideas and different approaches to solving problems. You can have a virtual meeting with a leader you admire and learn from them through their writing. Set a goal for the number of books and blog posts you want to read this month.
For the record, audiobooks completely count. So if you have a long commute or don’t like to read, audiobooks are a great option as well.
This way you can measure your intention against your actions. Here are a few blog posts to get you started:
7 Leadership Skills to Make You a Better Leader This Week
5 Common Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
34 Leadership Lessons from Avengers: Endgame
Here are a few leadership books I’ve read and recommend:
Heart of a Leader by Ken Blanchard
Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, Mcmillan
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
Youtube doesn’t have a lot of leadership content, but there are channels, like mine, that focus on providing quick, practical and proven leadership skills. Do a search on what you are looking for and you might find something that helps.
This doesn’t necessarily fall into the quick category, but you can always go back to school to earn a certificate or another degree. My doctoral work put my years of leadership experience into perspective and helped me to see how I could improve as a leader. Some certificates can be earned in just a few months.
I left the best for last. If you want to become a better leader quickly, listen to the people you lead. Ask them how you can improve and where they think you are doing well. Take it with a grain of salt, but understand it’s in their best interest for you to be a great leader. You might just learn something you didn’t know.
There are no shortcuts to becoming an epic leader so you have to learn, implement, fail, learn from that failure and try again. The faster you can do this the better leader you will be.
1. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and honed.
2. When it comes to leadership most lessons are learned over time.
3. There are so many resources free and paid to help you develop into an epic leader.
4. Leadership isn't a universally accepted set of skills or traits.
Until next time,
Make Today Count!
Excellent list for emerging leaders and as a self assessment for long tenured leaders who may have never learned or forgotten these points. Maybe they have become stagnant because they figured that they “made it” and no longer need to evolve. Regardless, this is a list with a little something for everyone who is or aspires to be in a position of leadership.
Thanks Din. I’m glad you found the list helpful.