Most leaders have excellent technical skills and a wealth of experience. However, leadership skills often revolve around soft skills – problem solving, communication, an eye for innovative solutions, and being able to motivate your team.
The good news is that just as technical skills can be improved, it is also possible to enhance your leadership skills – often by developing your soft skills.
Leadership skills rely on good communication
All leaders need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Don’t just think about what you say, consider how you say things to your employees. Be clear and to the point. Use an upbeat tone to motivate your staff, and be sure that what you say matches what you do. If you want employees to put in an extra effort, you need to demonstrate that you too are working hard.
Drive innovation through shared ideas
Delegation is one of your most useful leadership skills, and you need to trust people to find their own solutions as this can encourage creative thinking.
But maintaining a collaborative approach can also pay off when it comes to innovation. Encourage your people to share their ideas by being open to all suggestions and not dismissing any comments as silly or poorly thought out. Sometimes the most innovative ideas can come from the people you may least expect, but it will only happen if they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Celebrate and reward
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership can be motivating your team. However, it is one of the core leadership skills that will help you bring out the best in your people.
Motivating staff starts with setting goals or targets they can realistically achieve, and checking in regularly to see if they need further support or assistance. Rewards are critical. Publicly acknowledge and celebrate excellence, and reward outstanding performance. Your team will be encouraged to keep heading in the right direction.
Learn from other leaders
An important way to continually improve your leadership skills is to learn from others. Team up with a mentor, perhaps someone more senior in your company or an industry expert, who can coach you on ways to develop your qualities as a leader.
Tap into your professional network, or take an active role in industry bodies. Both can offer valuable insights into areas where your leadership skills can be improved.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
All leaders, even those who are very experienced in a senior role, make mistakes from time to time. Being fearful of making a mistake can see you avoid making decisions altogether, and this can limit your team’s achievements.
While it makes sense to avoid slip ups, the key is to own mistakes when they happen. Accept responsibility rather than point the finger of blame, and learn from what has happened.
Continually working on your leadership skills will bring valuable benefits in terms of your team’s productivity, your company’s success – and it will drive your own career further.