28 Apr 2016
Why leadership skills are important in the workplace
Leadership skills are often sought after by many employers; they not only show that you have good interpersonal skills, they also show that you have the ability to co-ordinate, motivate and shape a team.
What makes leadership skills important in the workplace?
- Initiative: Often good leadership skills make you more likely to have a good sense of initiative. This means you don’t wait for other’s to tell you to perform tasks or actions. You are forward-thinking and as a result more prepared to deliver solutions to problems that arise.
- Innovativeness: Leadership skills improve your ability to find new ways of doing things in an organisation. You are driven by the ability to change or re-invent common practices, all of which can serve to benefit an organisation.
- Pro-activeness: Leadership skills improve your ability to be proactive. Leaders do not just ‘plan to do’, they actually ‘do’. The ‘do-ers’ are the ones whom are identified as being the most reliable and productive. If you are able to successfully execute written plans into practice, you are showing that you are able to take control of situations rather than just responding to them.
What makes you a leader?
You might not know that you have already developed leadership skills or that others may see you as a leader. Here are just some of the many traits that make you a good leader.
- Strategic Thinking: Do you think strategically? In this case, what this means is that you often plan effectively for the forthcoming future based on a range of objectives which you set for yourself or your team. Strategic-thinkers are visionary, creative and willing to take risks. They are focussed on the long-term goals and implications of meeting them.
- Decision-making: You can easily choose between one or two courses of action at least 70% of the time. You are able to make firm and prompt decisions with ease despite all of the options available also shows you have exceptional problem-solving skills. A good decision-maker bases their decisions through a good balance of emotional and logical reasoning; this means considering the facts as well as the way in which a decision will effect others.
- Time-management: This skill goes hand in hand with being organised. Do you find it easy to keep to a schedule which you set out for yourself. Are you able to prioritise effectively with tasks and deadlines. This is even more important when you are in the position of leading a team as you will need to effectively map out timelines for others.
- Charismatic: Are you considered to be confident, assertive and/or charming? Leaders possess a certain strength of character and a strong sense of individualism. Charisma is a natural characteristic that makes it easy to influence others. Public speaking skills directly develop your level of charisma and ability to be listened to.
- Listening: Contrary to popular belief, leaders are not always bossy. In fact they are supposed to know when to listen and when to direct. Being able to listen to suggestions and ideas effectively will help a leader implement the correct plans according to their team strengths, weaknesses, concerns and capabilities.
How to develop leadership skills
- Learn new skills: Boosting your capability is a great way to build your confidence in your ability to lead. Taking opportunities that allow you to learn leadership skills gives you the ability to influence others and work better in teams. You can do this at no cost by taking advantage of our employability courses and leadership programmes. Additionally you can self-teach by visiting sites such as Udemy.com or other knowledge-based platforms.
- Step out of your comfort zone: Get yourself in unfamiliar territory. It is the quickest way to have to think on the spot and teach yourself. When you have no one to rely on but yourself in order to complete a task or action, your need to research and be bold is developed despite any uncertainties. You will be taking responsibility for everything that you do. This can be achieved by doing things such as volunteering to manage a project in an area you don’t know much about or even travelling and exploring different cultures.
- Go the extra mile: It’s as easy as it sounds. Do more than what is expected. This can include anything from making a head start on projects which you know won’t start til later, or offering your support more to those that you feel could use it. In the long run, doing this develops your hard-working ethic and most importantly, you’re drive to go above and beyond.
- LEAD: Simply put, just lead! Get involved in activities that put you in a position to do so, whether you want to apply for a leadership job role or be the leader of a student society or group project.