Build your Essential Leadership Skills

Learn how to develop your leadership skills and lead your career to the top

  • 12 November 2019
  • Author: Suellen Machado
  • Number of views: 3959

There is no such thing as someone born to be a leader. Everyone can learn how to be a better leader and apply the concepts daily. A portion of natural ability can of course help, but the development of soft skills is extremely necessary for today’s work environment. Leadership talents are increasingly in demand and are essential to attract more creativity to the workplace.

The 4 Building Blocks of Great Leadership

The development of soft skills takes time and training. Developing a new skill requires commitment and the ability to incorporate it into your daily habits. In order to grow the building blocks of a great leader, vision, communication, interpersonal style, and decision-making skills are essential. Below you can see the importance of them.

Communication Across your Stakeholders

You don’t need to be a leader, or even have a desire to be the one, to develop your communication skills. The ability to communicate well can make a great impact on your career and give you advantages in the workplace. In a world full of technology, communicating using the likes of instant messengers, email and social media channels, we need to be careful to not lose our ability to truly communicate and listen the others in real-life situations. Technology helps, but it is our responsibility to recognise the implications and limitations of it and, in the end, decide how to make the most of them.

Organisational Awareness

Part of the development of your communication skills involves being aware of your environment. This is a balanced mix between being self-aware, having interpersonal skills and organisational awareness. Almost everybody can achieve organisational awareness, but to do it you must observe and learn how the information flows, you need to familiarise yourself with the strategic direction of the company and understand companies’ culture.

Once you have mastered those 3 abilities you will be in your path to develop your leadership skills.

Part of the communication journey involves the ability to listen properly. In a busy and noisy world, we tend to lose our genuine talent to listen. These are seven steps to improve our listening skills.

  • When you are listening, listen. Multitasking doesn’t work.
  • Avoid interruptions.
  • Aim to spend at least 90% of your time listening and less than 10% talking.
  • When you do talk, make sure it’s related to what the other person is saying. Questions to clarify, expand, and explore more information are key tools.
  • Do not offer advice unless the other person asks you for it.
  • Make sure the physical environment is conducive to listen.
  • If it is a conversation where you are required to take notes, try not to let the note-taking disturb the flow of the conversation.

Tips to Be a Better Leader

We already know that great leaders should have a vision about their business or the business they represent. Communications it’s also part of this group, flowing by interpersonal style and problem-solving/decision-making skills.

And how about the ones who didn’t have these skills yet? How weren’t born natural communicators? Even leadership skills can be developed through training and constant learning. We gathered below some tips which will help you to be a better leader or to prepare to be one.

Understand Your Leadership Style

Your leadership style is attached to your personality, is easier to develop an ability and train to be better at something when you know your style. Being a strong leader involves understanding your unique leadership style. There are many combinations of qualities that make for an effective leader. For example, some leaders want to be known as visionaries or coaches, while others take a bureaucratic approach.

The first step is to consider your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. There are many leadership assessments that will test your strengths and give you an idea of the different types of leaders that exist. Once you determine what kind of leader you want to be and the areas you want to improve, you can move on toward becoming a better leader.

Courses which can help you:

Practice Listening and Communicating Clearly

Here it is communication skills again. Communicate well is an asset to everyone, not just leaders and managers, everyone besides their level at the career leader can benefit from it and should make an extra effort to develop their communication abilities.

Good leaders communicate clearly with their teams in both individual settings and large groups. In a one-on-one environment, leaders can build relationships with their team members and keep the lines of communication open. Express care for each group member, and make sure they all know you’re willing to listen to their needs. But being a good listener and communicator is not just about paying attention to your team. It also means learning to admit when you’re wrong or when you don’t know the answer.

Act as a Mentor

Don’t just act as a manager — be a mentor and role model, too. Great leaders exemplify the behaviours they want their employees to adopt. Show off the characteristics that will make your team better, such as positivity, accountability, and honesty. As a result, your team will admire you and try to emulate your behaviours.

But mentorship isn’t just about getting your team to mirror your qualities. Mentors meet directly with their team members to give them feedback, discuss what they could improve on and help them take the next step in their careers. They really understand and learn how to identify the talents of their teams.

Encourage and Reward Creativity

Even if you work for a traditional company you deal with modern problems and all the changes that the digital environment brings to our work lives. One of the best ways to solve problems and came up with new ideas is to encourage team members to express creativity during their work.

When employees have the opportunity — and the incentive —to work around difficult tasks with creativity, they’ll flourish. It’s important to promote teamwork and allow employees to tackle challenges outside of a controlled environment. Out-of-the-box thinking should be recognised and rewarded.

Courses which can help you:

Empower Your Team to Go Above and Beyond

Your group should feel empowered to take charge of projects, speak up during meetings and generally participate. They should be inspired by their leader or manager and feel comfortable sharing their ideas.  

It’s not always easy to be an “inspiration,” though. It’s a good starting point to keep a positive attitude, listen to your employees’ ideas in a one-on-one setting when they may be nervous and show off how passionate you are about projects and goals.

Courses which can help you:

Embrace Failure

The reality is that the failure will happen at some point and there is no problem with it, it’s part of the learning process. Too many novice managers feel that failure is not an option — but it is. If you don’t embrace such failure, you might stick with a project for too long or spend too much money trying to fix and cover up mistakes.

When you’re willing to admit mistakes and embrace failed ideas, you might find a new solution or come up with a way to prevent such problems in the future. It’s important to encourage your team to accept failure and learn from it, as a constant process of improvement.

Courses which can help you:

How to Develop Your Soft Skills

As everything in life soft skills can also be developed through training and practice. At New Horizons Ireland we offer a wide range of Leadership and Professional courses tailored to help you in this journey. One of the paths is Communication and Interpersonal Skills, which were designed to help you improve your ability to communicate well and negotiate properly on a daily basis.

Click here to see our Communication and Interpersonal Skills list of courses.

Our Centre for Leadership and Development is divided into 5 main paths that will help you to develop your leadership skills. Leadership and Professional Development, Human Resource Management, Business Analysis, Project Management, and IT Service Management. Choose the best option for you and increase your chances in the market. 

All Leadership and Development courses

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