Many people believe that leadership is an inherent trait: You’re either born with it or you aren’t. In fact, the ability to gain the respect of others and lead them is a skill, which means it can be learned.
To build leadership skills, practice using the following tools:
Practicing Technical Skills
Managers often reach their position by first demonstrating their skill in the positions they’re then asked to supervise. Being promoted to leadership, however, doesn’t mean that you’ll never need your technical skills again.
By practicing these skills, you learn how to better explain and teach them to your teams. Showing your team that you’ll work side by side with them also builds trust and respect.
As part of the team, you focused on concrete tasks; as its leader, you’ll need to be able to understand and explain how those tasks connect to the bigger picture. Being able to see a larger concept, analyze and diagnose problems, and communicate how individual tasks contribute to the whole is essential for leaders. These skills allow managers to more accurately predict problems and to keep team members on track.
Listening and Connecting
Good communication skills begin with the ability to listen. When you practice hearing out your team members before responding, you gain a more complete sense of an issue. In addition, listening to others and putting yourself in their shoes – even if you don’t ultimately agree with them – demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of your team that pays off in increased loyalty and respect.
Prioritizing Key Tasks
Managers are frequently asked to juggle a wide range of tasks, from teaching skills to work in the trenches to settling interpersonal conflicts. The ability to prioritize is a must. New leaders can start by prioritizing their own tasks: At the end of each day, write down your top three “must-do” items for the next day. Leave this note on your keyboard or another location where you’ll see it the moment you walk in. This list will help you focus, so you can get essential tasks done.
The best leaders know when to reach out to other professionals with specialized skill sets. For instance, many managers improve their own leadership by asking a staffing firm to help them vet candidates, build their employment brand and develop strategic staffing plans.
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At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters can help you find the talent you need, so you can focus on effective leadership. Contact us today to learn more.