Essential Leadership Skills and Tips to Help Employees Develop Them

In this article, we will be sharing the most important skills leaders need to have and our top tips for turning your employees into leaders.

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We all have an idea in our heads of what an outstanding leader should be. Although there is often the misconception that some individuals are just natural-born leaders, there are many important qualities and skills that a leader must possess if they want to make an impact. Whilst, some people may believe that a leader just needs to be a charismatic person with a can-do attitude, you can’t expect anyone in the world to automatically become a great leader without any previous doing so.

Helping employees make the transition into leadership takes time and patience. However, when you manage to successfully develop leadership, you’ll see several impressive benefits such as: Improved productivity Organisational growth Improved teamwork Greater reputation Improved employee engagement Higher employee morale Organisational adaptability

These are just some of the benefits that can be seen when organisations take the time and invest resources into leadership in the workforce. In this article, we will be sharing the most important skills leaders need to have and our top tips for turning your employees into leaders.

10 Essential Leadership Skills

There's more to being a leader than meets the eye. For your employees to be effective leaders and drive your organisation towards success, there are several skills they need to have. Some of the most important skills leaders need include:

1. Decision-making skills: Leaders are responsible for making rational decisions, often promptly. From hiring new team members to implementing new platforms within an organisation, the role of a leader comes with making both large and small decisions. Leaders who make good decisions, earn the trust and respect of their team whilst assuring that the organisation becomes prosperous.

2. Communication skills: Communication is key for leaders. Strong leaders need to have great communication skills and be able to communicate with their team well. From the ability to convey their ideas clearly to actively listening to what their team is saying, communication skills are something that makes the difference between a good leader and a great one.

3. Strategic thinking skills: Leaders need to be able to think strategically if they want to meet any organisational goals and overcome challenges during the decision-making process. Leaders need to be innovative and capable of aligning their actions with any strategic objectives, making well-researched decisions on their journey.

4. Motivation skills
: A strong leader is motivational and brings positivity with them into the workplace. Leaders need to be able to motivate their team and inspire them to be the best they can be. Leaders need to be able to motivate employees to do their jobs and act as role models, setting high standards of performance and behaviour.

5. Emotional intelligence skills: To be an outstanding leader, the individual needs to have emotional intelligence. All leaders should be able to manage and understand their own emotions, whilst being able to empathise and relate to the emotions of their team, understanding things from their perspectives. This skill is essential for building thriving teams, resolving any conflicts and bringing positive changes to the workforce.

6. Relationship-building skills: The ability to build strong relationships is a skill that all leaders need to have. Good leaders earn the trust of their employees, promote teamwork and create a positive working environment, through the healthy relationships they build with their team members. Strong leaders recognise that building good relationships helps build powerful teams.

7. Organisational skills: Being in leadership requires lots of organisation, which is why this skill is crucial for those wanting to become an effective leader. There are many ways leaders need to be organised in their role such as organising tasks to ensure that all deadlines are met, or arranging their team members into groups to complete assignments. These are just a few examples of why organisation skills are essential.

8. Conflict resolution skills: Workplaces can quickly become a stressful environment for employees. Sometimes, conflicts arise between team members or departments, which is where leadership needs to step in to help unify employees. Good leaders need to not only know how to avoid any unnecessary conflicts but also resolve them efficiently.

9. Time management skills: A big part of a leadership role is time management. Leaders need to be able to prioritise tasks, manage their time correctly and delegate tasks to the appropriate team members. A leader needs to be able to make sure that not only do they complete their deadlines but also their teams, whilst achieving organisational goals.

10. Feedback skills: A good leader can give and receive feedback. An effective leader will never pass up the opportunity to provide constructive and honest feedback to their team. Good leaders can receive both negative and positive feedback and use it to their advantage, using the feedback they receive to work on themselves for example or helping their employees see the areas in which they can improve.

7 Tips for Turning Employees Into Leaders

Understanding the essential skills needed by leadership within an organisation is the first step in making the right choices on what method you want to use to help your employees be great leaders. To develop your employee's leadership skills and abilities, consider using some (or all) of the following tips:

1. Set clear expectations and identify essential leadership skills

Before teaching your employees leadership skills, it’s important to not only set clear expectations of what is expected from leaders within the organisation from the start but also identify what leadership skills are needed for employees to thrive in the workforce. Every organisation has unique wants, needs and preferences and so requires a different mixture of skills and abilities to ensure leadership is adequate. Prioritise what skills are needed and provide employees with expectations they need to follow. This way, you’re able to plan training to ensure it meets the needs and demands of both the organisation and the employees taking part.

2. Offer a variety of leadership training

All employees have unique learning styles, which is why it’s important to offer a variety of training methods that meet their preferences. Offering leadership-specific training opportunities, allows employees to learn the skills they need to become the best leader they can be. Leadership training can be internal or external and can be adjusted to meet the budget and resources available in your organisation. Things such as e-learning programmes, webinars, workshops and practical guides are just a few of the methods you can use to help teach leadership within your organisation. Some programmes work better than others, so it’s always best to see which one is more suited to the employees you're trying to train. The topics covered in these training sessions could be solely focused on skills or real-world scenarios for your employees to solve.

3. Use coaching and mentoring programmes

One of the best ways to help employees develop and grow is to implement coaching or mentoring programmes within your organisation. A mentor or coach is there to guide their employee through the challenges of leadership, offering their advice, guidance and support whilst helping them develop the skills needed to progress in their career. The mentors or coaches in your programme can be leaders willing to take on another individual to show them the ropes, however, these programmes are flexible and can be structured to meet the needs of the individuals involved. Mentors and coaches are highly beneficial and something we truly recommend that organisations consider adding to their strategy. To learn more about mentoring and coaching programmes and how they can be used in your organisation, book a free demonstration with PushFar today. We’re the world's leading mentoring and career progression platform and have supported hundreds of organisations to help their employees thrive.

4. Give employees leadership experiences

If you want your employees to become great leaders, then you need to provide them with leadership experience to help them settle into their new roles. Provide employees opportunities to be a leader by delegating tasks such as taking leadership on an upcoming project or asking them to manage conflict between colleagues within their team. When you allow your employees to grow and take on leadership responsibilities, they will soon realise the leader they can be. It’s also important that you give them diverse experiences and provide opportunities for them to manage different challenges if you want the learning to be useful.

5. Have clear career progression opportunities

Whilst all employees must develop the skills required to be leaders, if you’re going to invest a lot of resources into training then you need to make sure that there are clear opportunities for growth within the organisation. When you’re giving your employees more responsibilities, including training to help them develop their leadership skills, they need to be able to visualise how they can grow, otherwise, they will quickly become demotivated. When there is a clear promotional track available for your employees, they will feel more inclined to take part and actually want to expand their skills and knowledge to progress within their careers.

6. Self-directed learning

One of the key responsibilities of a leader is being able to self-direct their own learning and responsibilities. We suggest providing your employees with the opportunity to self-direct their own learning by providing them with the most relevant resources and learning materials so that they can engage in learning in their own time and in the way they prefer. Whilst this isn’t always the best option for everyone, it gives your employees the flexibility they need to keep up with the other responsibilities in their personal and professional lives. Self-directed learning further enables your employees to learn about the things they feel are most important, for example, they might lack communication skills and would want to prioritise this.

7. Offer feedback

If you have an employee in mind that you think would be great within a leadership role, then of course you want to train them to be the best leader they can be. Not only is this beneficial for them, but for the organisation as a whole. Feedback is essential in all areas of life and is crucial in learning and development. Feedback is a great way to guarantee the growth of employees, as it allows them to see what they are currently doing right and what might need some improvement. Your employees need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are if you expect them to know what they need to focus on. Regular feedback helps your employees address any issues promptly and keep on top of their growth. Feedback is also important to reinforce good behaviours from potential leadership and show proper recognition for their successes.

Final Thoughts

Leaders make such a huge impact at work, that actively neglecting the development stage is a sure way to guarantee failures. Leaders have many skills that they need if they want to be successful, such as decision-making, communication skills, strategic thinking, motivation, emotional intelligence, relationship building, organisational, conflict resolution, time management and feedback skills.

Knowing the number of skills that leaders need, many organisations can start to feel overwhelmed in helping their employees develop into the leaders of the future. As mentioned throughout this article, 7 strategies you can use for developing leaders include setting clear expectations from the start, offering a variety of leadership training, using coaching and mentoring programmes, giving employees leadership experiences, having clear progression paths, offering self-directed learning and providing feedback to these employees.

By using some, or all of these tips, you’ll soon reap the rewards that come with having amazing leadership within your organisation.

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