“The role of the leader is to work the central paradox, or tension. To locate the ever mobile sweet spot, somewhere between system and analysis on the one hand and free flowing creativity of individuals on the other” – John Kao
Do you have what it takes to be a positive and successful leader? Do you fulfill the business leadership skills required to be an effective leader? Truth be told, not all leaders are created equal – and in business – leadership is not meant for just everyone. It takes understanding.
Often, people are stronger leaders than they realize. Having effective leadership skills in business requires a refined toolset for success. Being a business superstar is great, but succeeding as a leader should always be your primary goal.
Learn the top ten effective leadership skills you’ll need to succeed in business:
1. Lead by Your Example.
As a leader you are entrusted to make the tough choices. You can’t be aloof and detached as pots don’t stir themselves. You must be available, ready to make some noise, attract attention to your actions and always willing to get your hands dirty.
If you want to get things done in a big way, then lead by example – pitch in where needed, lend a helping hand and make sure that the work you do is clearly understood by your team. Remember to value your time, watch everything around you and react to things that don’t measure up to your standards. If you don’t set a good example, you are leaving a huge gap in your effective leadership.
2. Find Your Passion.
If you are a leader without passion, without fire, without intensity, then you aren’t really a leader. Don’t be a paper pusher, a taskmaster, or someone who simply goes through the motions. Passion drives lives and businesses forward; you can inspire intensity in others through your own passion and enthusiasm.
Being passionate means striving to always improve yourself and your effective leadership skills. Finding your passion doesn’t mean you have to be constantly cheerful, but you must always be involved and truly believing in yourself, your company and your leadership potential.
3. Strive for Organization.
A leader who is disorganized runs the risk of letting all your ducks fly away instead of putting them in a row. Organization is one of the most important leadership skills as it means creating a plan and direction to follow. Don’t chase your own tail; alignment from purpose through execution is essential.
Effective leaders know that disorganization breeds nothing but more chaos and inefficiency. If you’re frazzled and messy, your team will be too. Good leaders know when to rise to the challenge and find new ideas, but having a plan in place first is essential to be organized.
4. Be Confident and Delegate.
You can’t do everything no matter how strong your effective leadership skills. A great leader is one who hopes for the best but prepares for the worst. You need to be able to delegate quickly and effectively. The best method to delegation is by giving your employees ownership of any work you assign them to finish.
A personal leader knows his/her strength as well as weakness and your biggest challenge is not to make all the decisions yourself. If your employees feel like they own the work, then they will respond much more positively.
5. Take Ownership and Responsibility.
Once your delegated work onto your team then your effective leadership skills really come into play. You need the ability to take ownership and responsibility of the outcome even if the work is truly owned by your team. Effective leaders who respond to the groundwork they lay out are the most successful leaders.
Your team must know that their leader will be available and do more than sign an initiative or give a speech; you must be there for them through right/wrong and good/bad. Taking ownership doesn’t mean absolving people from making mistakes. It doesn’t mean glossing over sub-par work or effort. It means taking responsibility for the big picture and following up the results.
6. Communicate Positively and Effectively.
This point should be blatantly obvious – everyone knows effective leaders must be great communicators. But communication must be positive to achieve “delegation for results”. Don’t forget the basics of effective leadership skills in business – failure to communicate feedback and the outcomes of actions can be crippling It’s critical that you communicate how your employee’s work matters to the organization. You must display feedback showing the difference they make.
Communicating success is a skill where many leaders forget to follow up. Your employees and team needs positive affirmation. They want to know they did a good job and that takes communication. Don’t ramble and don’t cut off your feedback too quickly. Show your interest but also get to your points. Whether you’re giving constructive criticism or defining goals and to-dos, you have to figure out how much to say and in what order. Be precise, specific and concise.
7. Be Brave and Honest.
Show your bravery and honesty as an effective leadership skill. Cowardly leaders will shy away from any number of situations that crop up regularly when running a team. The project your team has worked on for 6 months just got shelved. Now what? Or you have to talk to someone about their lack of effort recently. Do you ignore the problem? Or maybe it’s time to take your product into a new market. Do you hobble forward, scared and nervous, or do you grab the market by the throat?
Effective leaders are brave, honest, and know how to delegate for results not tasks. Don’t sugarcoat your feedback, don’t obfuscate your intentions, but don’t be overbearing. You have to learn how to present things to your team in an honest but balanced manner.
8. Become a Great Listener.
The best communicators, both personally and in business, are always superior listeners. If your effective leadership skills only goes as far as talking to inspire people, then you’re not doing enough. Becoming a great listener means embracing ideas instead of just paying “lip service”.
Leadership skills such as motivating employees, asking questions, understanding issues and providing positive feedback are all a part of listening. To be an effective leader you must listen more than others, allowing you to respond effectively and get to the heart of business situations.
9. Know Your People.
Leaders don’t just have to work with their people; they have to know their people. You don’t have to be friends with your staff or even socialize outside work, but you do have to try and understand what makes them tick. You must look for what drives them to succeed. You must see how they get inspired. If you don’t know, it can be as simple as asking the right questions.
Effective leadership skills only go so far – you have to take the time to get to know something about the personal lives of your people since their lives outside work matter. Learn to keep track of important things such as birthdays, marriages, children, and the like. Effective leaders know that finding common ground with employees helps them connect and reach people better.
10. Know When to be a Follower.
A British prime minister is famous for declaring that “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” Leaders must know that their position only stretches as far as the people underneath them – the people that ultimately make them a “leader”. Great leaders must know how to be a follower as well. If you find that you are a leader without following, then you’re just a dictator.
Being a leader-follower means finding value in your team, becoming inspired by your team, encouraging your team to communicate, learning when to listen and accept ideas openly and honestly. Finding business success as a leader requires knowing when to let others skills take precedence over your own effective leadership skills.
Very few people can become great leaders overnight. It takes time, effort and practice in a business environment. As long as you are an open leader, able to develop your leadership over time instead of just dictating to your employees, your people can find that success along with you.
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