If you are looking to advance to a leadership or management position any time soon, you may have already identified the areas where you need to gain more experience; or the knowledge you need to develop in order to progress.The skills associated with success in leadership roles are often not closely aligned to the technical knowledge or hard skill sets associated with particular careers or industries. The skills needed to succeed as a leader are sometimes referred to as soft skills which relate to the way in which we interact with and treat others, or the way we react to different situations. Some of the best managers don’t necessarily have the best industry or technical knowledge related to the organisation they are working for. We’ve identified five key skills needed to succeed in senior roles.
1. Communication: Knowing exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is not enough – you need to be able to clearly and concisely articulate what you need from your team. Communication happens everywhere in leadership roles – with your employees or team members, with senior colleagues and with customers. This skill doesn’t just include talking and writing, it also includes listening which is one of the single most important traits a manager can have. The ability to stop talking and listen is vital for success. Listening to your customers and employees will give you invaluable insight into what’s really going on at the grass roots – and a better chance at fixing anything that might be broken before it’s too late.
2. Interpersonal: Being able to develop strong relationships, especially with your employees is important. Listen carefully to understand any concerns – is there anything standing in their way? What can you do to help them become more efficient, effective and enthusiastic? Developing relationships is one thing, maintaining them is another. Good leaders are consistent in their support and show their team that they are always there for them. Likewise with customers, partners and other external stakeholders, take an interest in their opinions and listen to their concerns. Seek their advice (if it’s relevant) to let them know they’re valued. How you interact with people has a significant impact on their perception of you as a leader.
3. Creative Thinking & Innovation: While the ability to think strategically and clearly express your organisation’s vision and engage employees to achieve business goals is essential, being able to think creatively is just as important. Competition is fierce today across most industries, budgets are tight and doing things the way they’ve always been done probably won’t cut it any longer. Leader’s need to be visionaries with the ability to think outside the box in order to achieve success.
4. Accountability & Problem Solving: Taking responsibility for your own and your team’s performance and decisions is important. There’s no one else to blame if customers or share holders are unhappy. While an individual or team may be responsible for causing a specific issue, the buck really does stop with the leader. Being aware of any issues, following up and taking steps to identify viable solutions is what makes a good leader stand out. Likewise, recognising success and giving praise where it is due makes you accountable for your success.
5. Teamwork: The ability to work well with others, collaborating and appreciating the input from different team members is essential. Encouraging team members to follow you and work together will result in higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Again, asking for input from team members where relevant will make people feel valued and important.
Being a leader is about sharing your enthusiasm and passion for your brand to achieve company success. Like most roles, achieving success is often an ongoing process and one that can constantly be improved upon. Strong leaders are sometimes born, but more often than not the skills and traits needed to succeed can be learnt.
These are just some of the many skills good leaders need to possess. Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to help you identify whether you have what it takes to become a leader? Perhaps you’re already in a leadership or management role and would like to improve your skill set. If so, please see our Career Counselling services.