Simply because someone has worked for several years in a particular role or industry doesn’t mean they’ve automatically gained the qualities and skills needed to successfully lead a team. Also, being promoted to a management level position doesn’t automatically transition someone into a great leader.
As more businesses begin to recognize the importance of strong leadership, they may also realize that key members of management lack the skills to effectively lead a team.
Below is our list of seven skills that every great leader should possess. We also include a link to relevant courses for those who'd like to take action immediately and develop oneself into a true leader.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It generally includes three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.
- Associated Course: Expanding Your Emotional Intelligence
This course does much more than cover the theory of EI. Incorporating powerful tools and classroom activities, you'll practice and hone your skills, mastering the strategies learned to effectively communicate, connect with, and support others through healthy and productive interactions.
2. Conflict Resolution
Conflict is inevitable, and the ability to govern disputes and even avoid them is vital. When conflicts go unaddressed, they can have a negative impact on productivity and teamwork. Using conflict resolution strategies in the workplace will help maintain a healthy work environment. Conflict resolution requires specific leadership skills, as well as problem solving abilities.
- Associated Course: Constructive Conflict Management
In this course, you'll learn to recognize the warning signs that precede quarrels and how to mitigate their impact, as well as constructive ways to harness the differences between team members and shift them toward productive, positive outcomes.
3. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to remove all emotion from an issue and observe the facts objectively to make a logical decision. How many times have you responded in haste, or made a quick business decision, only to find that you needed to correct yourself later? Critical thinkers are open-minded, confident, decisive, not reliant on approval, and are able to see past their emotions when making choices.
- Associated Course: Thinking with Critical Insight
In this course, you'll learn to inquisitively explore challenges, defy incorrect assumptions, and look at things with new and differing perspectives, incorporating these insights into your thought processes, and enabling you to find creative solutions to even the most difficult tasks and issues.
4. Ability to Negotiate
Successful negotiation requires two parties to come together and settle upon an agreement that's acceptable to both; however, in many disagreements, individuals understandably aim to achieve the best possible outcome for themselves. Still, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit, and maintaining a positive relationship are the keys to a successful outcome.
- Associated Course: Strategic Negotiation Skills
In this course, you'll learn the essential strategies and techniques needed to guide negotiations from opening discussions through to a positive result. With discussion and hands-on training, you will leave with practical solutions to negotiating effectively.
5. Coaching & Mentoring Abilities
The most successful leaders recognize that their success depends upon the progress of those they lead. Enabling others to grow and fulfill their potential by coaching them to discover and apply their talents and strengths is at the core of effective leadership. Whether supporting employees to optimize their contribution, or enabling them to further their career, your coaching should have a positive impact that can foster an environment of growth.
- Associated Course: Effective Leadership through Coaching
Throughout this course, you'll learn to recognize and remove any obstacles to employee success, develop a positive partnership that supports employee growth, while motivating and supporting your employees to achieve their goals.
6. Effective Facilitation
Facilitation is often referred to as the new cornerstone of management philosophy. With its focus on fairness and creating easy decision-making, facilitation can help any organization make better decisions. Successfully mastering critical facilitation skills and applying them effectively can help drive results. This requires commitment to engage, support, and empower team members as they work together and separately to reach organizational goals.
- Associated Course: Critical Facilitation Skills for Leaders
In this course, you'll learn how to develop and apply facilitation techniques to support your team at every stage of the team life cycle. You will enhance your interpersonal competencies and observational abilities to deal effectively with disruptions and dysfunctions, and guide groups to reach consensus and achieve results.
7. Positive Assertiveness
Whether addressing behavioral issues or directing a meeting, it's important to be self-confident and emphatic, while maintaining positive work relationships. Business professionals who are positively assertive thrive in the workplace, since they're able to stand up for themselves in a way that doesn't disrespect others. They're very transparent in their dealings with their colleagues and are clear and honest in their communication. They also generate results by controlling their immediate environment in a very positive manner.
- Associated Course: Mastering Positive Assertiveness
In this course, you'll discover the best techniques to be properly assertive, and what are the ideal approaches in differing situations.
Some Closing Thoughts
Although it may seem like some professionals are simply gifted with these skills, the truth is that most leadership traits can be learned and sharpened with time and practice. In order to become an effective leader, you must acquire and hone your skills quite frequently. You may even notice that the best leaders at your place of business are often those that are continuously educating themselves by reading books, attending seminars, and enrolling into professional development courses consistently throughout their career.