Leadership skills are a product of repetition. If you want to be a good leader, you have to act like one. Not only are good leadership skills one of the key hallmarks of someone who is on the promotion track, but they can also just make you better at your job, and even more pleasant to work with.
But what are they, and how can you display them? In this article, we take a look at some key leadership skills, and how you can use them to improve your performance on the job.
To be a leader is to have a set of soft skills—that’s to say, abilities that can’t precisely be taught or quantified—that you display in all of your workplace interactions. While you can’t exactly force soft skills into existence, you can nurture the ones you already have with effort and awareness.
Establishing yourself as a leader will ultimately depend on your ability to cooperate with your coworkers. However, by working on the skills listed below, you will improve your performance in the workplace, and set yourself apart.
Collaboration is the bedrock of leadership. Be the person that shows up in a team capacity, and when you do, resist the urge to take charge. Thinking of yourself as a leader can be a handy way to know how to act in the office. Assuming others should do the same is…offputting.
Set yourself apart in collaboration by working hard, producing good results, and behaving with energy and charisma. If you act like a leader, you’ll be seen as one.
Be an Active Listener
Leadership isn’t just about telling people what to do. Active listening is a much more valuable workplace trait. View every interaction as a potential to receive a great idea. The goal isn’t to have your way on every workplace decision. It’s to produce the best possible outcome.
Effective workplace leaders understand that crowdsourcing ideas is an effective way to achieve good business outcomes. Your coworkers will feel comfortable coming to you if they are sure their ideas are being heard and taken seriously.
Flexibility is an important component of being a leader. Workplace situations can change on a dime. How capable are you of adapting to a new situation? Or a new idea? It’s important to be able to adjust quickly when things change.
This might mean pivoting into a new solution when a coworker offers an alternative to your idea. It could also just mean keeping an open mind.
Positivity can take several forms in the workplace. In the capacity of feedback, it means being respectful and supportive of colleagues. For example, if you intend to critique an idea, it’s not productive to denigrate it. Instead, point out what makes the idea good, and make suggestions for how you think it could be even better.
This ensures that your coworkers will feel comfortable collaborating with you in the future. It will also make them confident enough to continue making suggestions.
You should also apply a positive attitude during tense situations. Of course, positivity doesn’t mean being unrealistic. Acknowledge situations for what they are, while staying calm. If you can’t convince your coworkers that things will work out for the best, you probably won’t be a very effective leader.
Charisma without action is just the appearance of leadership. To really be a good workplace leader, you have to work at least as hard as anyone else in the office. Why is this important? For one thing, it inspires confidence amongst your coworkers.
People like working with coworkers who give it their all. If you don’t, they won’t consider you a leader no matter what your official position within the business is.
The things that make you special can also make you a leader. People will be happy to look to you if you can dependably be the “idea” person. Don’t be afraid to get creative when solving workplace problems. Innovative solutions set you apart from your coworkers and establish you as someone who is not afraid to make suggestions and pitch out ideas.
For the person who wants a leadership role, this will be a key skill that higher-ups look for. For the person who has already landed the promotion, creativity is equally important. Establish an ability to solve problems in a way that is uniquely you and people will take note.
Align Yourself with Company Values
This is a bit of a tricky one because it has to be accurate. Pretending to be aligned with company values is both unsustainable and unsatisfying. Ideally, you will already be working for a company that you believe in.
Assuming this is the case, it’s important to establish a personal brand that accentuates this. Demonstrate your commitment to value X (whatever it may be) in the way you behave at work and in your personal life. You should also make sure these values are reflected in your work.
Businesses today take branding very seriously. If it’s very clear that you exhibit qualities they are looking for, you’re sure to be looked at for potential promotions.
Have a Vision
It’s also important to show that you have a perspective. The best employee in the world will never get promoted if they can’t show that they have ideas that might improve the business. If you are reading this article, the chances are good that you’re the sort of person that does have opinions.
What to do with them?
Make them structured. Get a clear idea of what you think and how it should be done, then look for ways to introduce your vision into your work and communications. Speaking of which….
Communication is King
Leadership without communication is…well. It’s not leadership at all. Almost all of the skills included on this list hover around the concept of communication but it’s so important it gets its own heading. You need to be able to express your ideas in a way that is clear, affable, and effective.
You also need to be able to receive ideas the same way.
It All Boils Down to Working Hard and Working Well
To be a leader, you need to stand out. This means working hard and well. You can accomplish this by making a targeted effort to develop and display the skills included on this list. It’s been said that leaders are born, not made, but with the practice and hard work you can nurture abilities you already have to make an impression both with your coworkers, and your higher-ups.