Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. No, even the most ambitious young professionals still need to gain valuable experience and pick up essential skills in order to successfully lead a team of their own. The good news is that while it may take time to prepare yourself for a leadership position at your company, you can do so with hard work and application. Indeed, leaders are made –– not born. So even if you never thought of yourself as a leader before, know that it is possible to grow your own startup or to succeed in a high-ranking managerial role. Just make sure to master these five skills first:
In many instances, great leaders act as facilitators. They set agendas, delegate tasks, and monitor progress. In order to do all of those things effectively, leaders have to have excellent communication skills. They need to be able to connect with their team as well as with clients and other business partners. They need to be clear and concise in their messages, and they need to offer support and advice when necessary. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be a great orator or even an extrovert to lead effectively. But you do have to know how to get your point across to your team members.
As a business leader, the buck ultimately stops with you. This means that you have to have a system in place for keeping tabs on all the moving parts associated with your company. So, unsurprisingly, being organized is a must for business leaders. Note, no two people think or visualize in the same way. This means that “organization” can take many forms in the practical sense. Some business leaders may benefit from tracking progress on a massive white board in their office. Others may prefer dozens of neatly-sorted files. However you stay on top of your responsibilities, though, you should have a consistent plan for doing so.
The best leaders don’t just cut down on inefficiencies or eliminate internal mistakes. While those are certainly good goals to have, the best leaders also build meaningful relationships with their team. This requires empathy and compassion. Understanding the problems and challenges your team faces will help you help them. In return, when you act with care toward your staff, they’ll likely reward you with quality performances and loyalty. Considering how valuable staff retention is, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of positive employee-management interactions.
In business, as in life, unforeseen problems are bound to occur from time to time. No matter how organized and prepared you may be, new issues could pop up at any moment. As such, it’s crucial that business leaders know how to handle stressful scenarios. It’s not easy to act with grace under pressure, yet composure could be the difference between overcoming a major challenge and failing to meet the moment. The best way to develop poise is to put yourself in stressful situations and to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while. It’ll help you grow as a person and as a leader!
This might sound obvious, but quality leaders generally want to get better at their jobs. Leaders should be curious, willing to try new things, and constantly look for ways to improve themselves and their organization. This could include everything from reviewing supervisor training topics to attending a national conference to discuss best practices with other business leaders. Simply trying to become a better leader is in itself a large aspect of leadership.
Leaders, like everyone else, are unique. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through when you accept a leadership role in business. People love and respect bosses who are genuine and honest. In other words –– just be yourself and try hard, and you’ll be sure to go far!