There has been a debate as of late if true leaders are born or made. We tend to believe that, like any skill in life, leadership can be taught, learned, developed and perfected. Being a team leader or a super of any kind requires a wide variety of characteristics and skills to be employed properly. We are talking mostly about soft skills that would help a leader of any kind with interacting with employees and team members. The ability to effectively communicate and motivate their team is paramount. Other than that, there are plenty of other responsibilities, like listening to feedback, problem-solving skills, delegating responsibilities, etc. These skills are also valuable not only for those already established leaders but also for those that have such positions clearly in their sights. These are the most valuable assets in your quest for climbing up the corporate ladder or acquiring that promotion. Here are some of the must-have skills that come naturally or through formal education that every aspiring leader must have and master.
First things first, proper communication is the foundation of every successful collaboration. We live in a world of information where the only strife is to properly transfer it between one another. For a leader, it is imperative to possess this skill in order to explain to employees all the necessary topics. From organizational to highly specific tasks, through proper communication, information must be conveyed in a clear and straightforward manner. There is more than one form of communication. One-on-one, departmental, full-staff and indirect (through an online medium such as phone, email, video conferences, and social media for example). These require plenty of experience and know-how to manage properly. A big note of communication is that it is not all about speaking. Rather, the biggest portion of it is listening. And there is a big difference between hearing and listening. Leaders need to establish an unimpeded channel of communication between all planes, both vertical and horizontal. Leaders need to be always available both physically and open-mindedly for discussing issues, concerns, and ideas with employees. Some of the terms to look into and study more closely are active listening, clarity, expression, various forms of nonverbal communication, public speaking, written communication, etc. These and many more, are big topics, each for itself. We highly advise all aspiring leaders to study them closely and get familiar with these tools that will make life much more manageable further down the road.
With the advent of online communication and various other tools, the traditional nine to five job routines are giving way to other methods. Teams are now able to work from remote locations and at different times. There are plenty of platforms that are trying to facilitate remote works as seamlessly as ever. For us as leaders, this opens up new avenues to make our lives easier but does come with its own set of problems and responsibilities. We need to adapt to the constantly changing professional work environment. Knowing how to efficiently utilize the tools that facilitate remote work and properly manage people involved are skills that are essential for any modern business to have.
Businesses are built on foundations of a relationship, trust, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Leaders need to devote a significant portion of their time to build relationships, especially outside of their workplace. Customers, industry partners, vendors, and the community will inevitably offer valuable insight or maybe even future business opportunities. One of the most important traits for a leader is to constantly be researching new skills. You never know when you might need to tackle a new piece of technology or a new legislature relevant to your industry. A true leader makes the most out of an employee in such a way that makes them feel fulfilled, not exhausted. Persons with disabilities come to mind, as they absolutely can be integrated into a working environment, with a little leadership skill. There is a lot that goes into that but knowing how to register a business with NDIS is a good start.
Relationships with employees will inspire teams to work harder. Understanding employees at a deeper, more personal level is not to be underestimated. They are, after all, individuals. Understanding what makes them tick also offers valuable insight into our business operations and how to motivate them. On the other hand, hearing their feedback, both positive and negative, will provide us with plenty of invaluable information on how to improve all aspects of doing business.
All that we have covered might seem like a lot to accomplish. And it can be if one does not know how to manage time properly and efficiently. When we say time, we mean both in a personal and a professional sense. Time management is an important skill for anyone to grasp, employee and leader alike. The difference is that leaders need to manage other people’s time and make it work in conjunction with one another across multiple sectors. Depending on the industry, staff and many more factors, it can prove to be a challenging task but is far from impossible. Leaders need to know how, when, where and with whom to spend their time most efficiently. Also, you need to understand your employee’s time usage and what objectives need to be accomplished by each department. Only then will a leader know how to delegate time to each sector or maybe even down to an individual, if need be for such micromanagement. A good and most important variable to start on is the ROI (return on investment). What will bring us, our company and our employees the most profit for the amount of time we and they have invested? That is the main question that revolves around optimal time management.
In the era of information and education, people usually come highly skilled and experienced in the workplace. If not so, they tend to quickly grasp the ropes. It falls onto us, as leaders, to assess the situation from a bird’s eye view, process all the information and maximize their potential in a mutually beneficial way.
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