Do you want to know how to build your leadership skills?
You might be thinking, “What does leadership have to do with me?”
Leadership is not limited to CEOs and presidents- it’s about how you conduct yourself as a team player or individual contributor.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or just someone trying to get ahead at work or in life, your ability to lead will determine how successful you are.
So what exactly are these elusive leadership skills?
And more importantly, how do I learn them?
This blog post is here to answer all of these questions.
Understand The Difference Between Management and Leadership
In the business world, it is important to have a good understanding of what leadership and management actually are as they can sometimes be confused with one another.
Generally speaking, managers tend to control resources while leaders influence people – managers focus on tasks whereas leaders target performance – leaders strive for results but managers focus on planning .
Managers are essentially the facilitators of processes, ensuring that things get done by overseeing knowledge workers and making sure they are doing their jobs.
Leaders however take accountability for having an impact on others through the way they influence them to perform better than before.
Management is about getting things done through other people – usually employees, but it could also be a team or as well.
Leadership on the other hand is about motivating people to accomplish tasks
How To Build Leadership Skills
What is Leadership?
According to Merriam-Webster: “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” and “the position of being in charge.”
Leadership means different things for different positions and organizations.
Some companies might value leaders who are decisive and confident, while others might prefer a more consensus-driven approach.
The most important thing to remember is that leadership is about serving the team or organization and moving it towards success.
There are two types of leaders: the person who takes control and gets things done by force of personality, and the person who truly leads by example.
The first type of leader is often found in politics, or at least they have to be good actors if they are not naturally charismatic.
However real leadership comes from being able to lead through influence rather than domination.
Great leaders can rally other people to accomplish a shared goal without having to order them around, and people want to work with them because they inspire and motivate others.
Leadership is about more than just giving orders or telling people what to do; it’s also the ability to shape the future, motivate others and inspire positive change in yourself and your team.
A leader is someone who knows how to get people on board with their vision for a better world (or part of life) and make it happen.
So what are Leadership skills?
What Are Leadership Skills?
These are skills you use when organizing other people to reach a goal.
Leadership skills can also be defined as the strengths and abilities of an individual that helps to guide and motivate others to achieve goals.
That is to say, anyone that can organize people to achieve a goal has leadership skills.
However, these skills have nothing to do with age as young persons can lead an organization effectively.
Furthermore, it has nothing to do with your background.
Nonetheless, leadership skills are sought by different people.
Especially business owners, or entrepreneurs as it involves dealing with people in such a way as to motivate, enthuse and build respect.
Aside from business owners, or entrepreneurs, regular individuals also seek after these skills as it helps you in all aspects of your career or personal life.
So What Are The Key Leadership Skills Every Leader Needs? Here They Are:
A Shared Vision – If you want to lead a team or company toward a goal, there has to be one single vision everyone can get behind.
This means no arguing over different strategies; instead, you need to create a vision everyone can believe in and rally behind.
Ability To Inspire Others – Real leadership comes from the ability to inspire others to believe in your vision and follow you into battle.
You can have a shared goal, but it’s not really accomplishing anything if no one is willing to put their heart into it.
Great leaders can rally people to do things they never thought possible.
Resilience – No matter how good a leader you are, there will be times when everything seems to fall apart and it all looks hopeless.
The ability to keep going through difficult situations is crucial for success in the long run – because every great victory came from overcoming failure first.
Ability To Be Decisive – A key leadership skill is the ability to make decisions.
You can’t flounder around trying to please everyone; eventually, you have to choose a path and stick with it, even when people hate your decision or disagree with what needs to be done.
Ability To Get Things Done – Once the goal is set, then there is a need for follow-through and action to get it done.
This is even when obstacles arise or people are resisting change.
Patience – One of the most common mistakes I see with new leaders is that they are too impatient.
They want results now, but great things take time to build!
You have to be willing to put in the effort and wait for it all to come together if you really want success in Leadership
Followership – A good leader can’t exist without a good follower, and this goes both ways.
Integrity – Integrity is an essential leadership skill.
It ensures longevity in leadership.
There are plenty of people out there trying to lead by manipulation instead of inspiration, but they will never succeed in the long run because no one is willing to follow them.
These are bad leaders and eventually, their manipulative tendencies are exposed.
No one wants a leader that does not have integrity– if someone does not have integrity, it’s only a matter of time before everything falls apart.
Flexibility/Ability To Adapt – Leadership has very little to do with being perfect and knowing everything; it’s more about having the ability to adapt when life throws obstacles in your way and learn from mistakes so you can keep going.
You have to be smart enough during a crisis that you aren’t going to make things worse by being stubborn.
Sticking stubbornly to your stand and refusing to explore trying different things or different opinions is a recipe for failure
Commitment – If you want other people to follow your lead, they have to know that you are committed to the vision, goal, or project.
If not, they will think you’re just going to give up or walk away as soon as it gets hard and won’t bother trying themselves.
Authenticity – Great leaders are real people who know what they want and aren’t afraid to show it!
You have to be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.
Fairness – You can’t be a great leader if you aren’t fair.
People don’t want someone who plays favorites, so make sure to treat everyone equally and give them all of the opportunities that they deserve.
Ability To Problem Solve – Sometimes when people face a problem, they can get so caught up in whatever is going wrong that it prevents them from finding a solution.
You have to be able to step back and look at the big picture before you decide what needs to happen next!
Attitude – Even if you’re dealing with a difficult situation, you have to find ways to keep your attitude positive and learn from whatever mistakes happened so they don’t happen again.
No one wants to follow someone who always thinks the worst of every situation.
You should try and find something good in every experience.
Being negative will only bring everyone else down as well.
Stamina – You can’t be a great leader if you aren’t willing to put in the work it takes – no one is going to follow someone who isn’t willing to put in the same amount of effort that they do!
You have to be willing and ready to take on whatever obstacles come your way.
Good Communication – It doesn’t matter how many leadership skills you have if no one knows what you’re trying to say!
You need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly so everyone is on the same page and understands how they can help you accomplish your goals.
Listening – Being a great leader isn’t about talking all the time, it’s more important to listen and make sure that everyone else is heard as well.
You should always be open to others’ ideas because you never know when they might have some good insight!
Creativity – If you want people to respect your leadership skills, you have to be able to find new and innovative ways of doing things that no one has ever thought of before!
You can’t just keep following the same old routine if you want people to really believe in your ideas.
In order for leaders to become great at these skills, they need to practice them.
This means you have to make a conscious effort every day and try your best to improve yourself as much as possible.
So how do you go about building leadership skills? Here are some tips:
Ways To Build Leadership Skills
Practice Discipline; a great way to build leadership skills
Meriam-Webster dictionary defines discipline as orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.
That is to say, discipline is the attribute to resist the urge to give in to negative behaviors and help you focus on all of the positive attributes.
And this is the first and foremost way to build your leadership skill.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, that has acquired other leadership traits and does not possess discipline, you find out you achieve little because of your lack of discipline.
Therefore discipline is the bedrock of other leadership skills.
Learn to be a good listener.
Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop in terms of leadership.
People will appreciate your willingness to listen, and they’ll be more likely to follow when you demonstrate that you’re listening carefully.
When someone shares information with another person, both parties walk away having learned something.
This is a win/win situation every time.
Even if you don’t agree with what someone says, listening is a sign of respect.
Listening shows others that their opinions matter to you and encourages them to speak up when they have something important to add.
In this way, effective communication can be the foundation of your leadership style – so get started by working on developing strong listening skills.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
It’s one thing to say you feel sorry for someone, but it shows that person much more respect when you demonstrate how their situation makes sense in your eyes.
Being empathetic means understanding what might be running through a person’s head at any given moment and imagining yourself in their shoes.
Making this effort requires putting your own thoughts and emotions aside long enough to view a given situation from someone else’s perspective, which takes time and patient.
It also takes the ability to put others first sometimes.
Developing empathy is one of those invaluable life skills that can pay big dividends later on; it forms the foundation of successful leadership.
And when you choose to be empathetic, it’s important not to lose yourself in someone else.
That is, don’t let empathy turn into pity or sacrifice your own needs in the process.
Instead, allow others to see that they’ve made an impact on you with their struggles and concerns.
That’s how you can best demonstrate empathy.
Be Open Minded
The ability to accept and respect other people’s opinions, even if they don’t match your own or the status quo is a valuable leadership skill.
Every person brings their unique perspective to any situation.
Moreso, by keeping an open mind you can gain invaluable insights into new ways of thinking that help you be more effective as a leader.
Don’t shy away from people with alternative perspectives.
This is especially so for those whose opinions go against the grain.
You never know which seemingly irrelevant idea might turn out to be a game changer.
And don’t forget that your willingness to listen and learn can make others feel valued as well.
This will encourage them to tap their own creativity in response.
Control Your Emotions
If you feel yourself becoming angry, take a step back and really think about your next move.
Remember that the most important thing is building relationships with people around you.
This is what will help build leadership skills faster than anything else.
This means being kind to everyone, even those who may not be as nice in return.
Work Well With Your Team
Leadership is about building relationships with your team.
Practice showing appreciation for your team members when they do good work.
Encourage everyone to share their ideas in meetings.
Be a role model for the behavior you want to see in others.
In addition, share credit and praise with your team when things go well.
Praise people in public, reprimand them privately.
Encourage others when you see them do good work.
Furthermore, make it a point of congratulating and rewarding those who show initiative in their jobs or take on extra responsibilities.
It is also important that each member of the team is given a chance to contribute their ideas in meetings.
This will make them feel like they are an integral part of the process and that you value everyone’s opinion.
Continuous Learning; It Aids the Building of Your leadership Skills
Continuous Learning is essential for success in any field.
The same holds true when it comes to leadership skills.
Leadership is a skill that can be learned, practiced and mastered.
Those who are best at leading others have done so by learning what works – and doesn’t work – through trial-and-error, observation of leaders they respect, reading books on the topic, and through experience.
You can learn the skills necessary to become a good leader by reading books on leadership.
In addition, you cal also attend seminars that focus on leadership improvement.
Then, implementing what you’ve learned into your daily routine.
You might also consider enrolling in an adult education class where you’ll have the opportunity to work with others who are pursuing similar goals.
It’s important to note that developing your leadership skills can be a lifelong process.
Have A Mentor
Mentors are experienced people that influence, guide, or direct you in your life.
They also provide a less experienced person with information, support, and friendship.
Hence, making it a great way to build leadership skills.
Because the mentee gets more information on leadership, career, etc.
Above all, the mentee gets emotional support from their mentors.
With this in mind, you can have a mentor by asking and allowing the relationship to grow.
A good mentor can help guide you.
This person should be someone who is already successful with leadership skills, and knows how to handle difficult situations.
You will learn through experience what works for them so that it may benefit your own personal development as a leader.
It is not enough to wish for leadership roles when you can not handle these roles when given to you.
Hence the only way to handle these roles is to practice leadership skills.
Practicing leadership skills prepares you for responsibilities to come.
Despite you are not leading an organization or group of people, there is a need to practice these skills.
You can, however, practice these skills where ever you find yourself.
Either at the home, office or an outing.
Furthermore, these skills can be practiced by making good use of opportunities.
That is to say, take action when you are faced with opportunities.
For instance; your manager is absent from work and you notice your colleagues are not motivated to work, you can grab that opportunity to motivate your colleagues.
By so doing, you are practicing leadership skills.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you can practice leadership skills on your workers.
This will help you learn from your mistakes.
Practicing these skills at home can also help you improve them as well.
For example, practicing communication and listening skills by having a conversation with someone close to you.
You can also practice these skills by taking up a leadership role in a club, social group or voluntary capacity.
Upgrade Your Specific Skill Set
In other, for you to build leadership skills, you have to upgrade your set of specific skills that help you function as a leader.
By so doing, you are preparing yourself for leadership responsibilities.
Consider upgrading yourself in the following skills;
- Handling and resolving conflicts
- Critical thinking
- Set concrete goals and execute them
- Delegation of responsibilities
- Beef up your communication
- Brush up on your hard skills
Be A Source Of Motivation To People
Being a source of motivation means in spite of the challenges, you choose to inspire and empower people.
You let them know how valuable they are to the organization and society at large.
Furthermore, you show them that you believe in them.
Hence you can motivate them in the following ways;
- Empower them
- Listen attentively to them
- Create a positive environment
- Offer guidance to them
In addition, you can also motivate them by using rewards.
Assess Your Current Leadership Skills
Start by evaluating yourself: what is going well?
What areas could use some improvement?
This kind of self-reflection can be difficult, but it’s important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses if you want to build on them.
The more specific you are about what works – as well as the areas that require some work – the easier it will be for you to hone those skills in a way that makes sense for you.
Based on this you can develop a specific plan for improvement based on where you are.
Take Leadership Courses
Leadership courses are courses that will help you develop the skills which are essential for leaders or managers.
These courses look at the different qualities you may adopt, the techniques for motivating people, and the ways in which you can unlock your leadership skills.
More so, these courses help you to understand the ideas behind the different leadership styles.
Leadership courses are a great option to develop yourself as a business owner or entrepreneur or existing employees into leaders
Benefits of Building Leadership Skills
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Implement an effective leadership style
- Make better decisions
- Develop greater self-confidence
- Builds your character
- Increases your communication skills
- Expansion of skills and talents
- Increased flexibility and ability to adapt to change
- Creates good relationships
- Transformation of individuals into leaders
Final Thoughts on How To Build Leadership Skills
The ability to lead is a skill, and as with all skills, it can be learned.
In this blog post, we have discussed the various ways that you can develop your leadership skills.
These skills help you become a more effective leader in your personal life organization or industry.
Try some of these tips and let us know how you get on with them.