Can good leadership skills be developed?

Can good leadership skills be developed?

07 Jun 2023

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No matter what industry or position you are in, leadership is a highly valuable quality in life and business. It is also a set of skills that can be taught, learnt, and further developed. This CPD article will explain why good leadership is important in the workplace, including what effective leadership means and some simple strategies to improve your leadership skills.

What is leadership?

Leadership can take many different forms but can broadly be seen as being at the head of a company, managing a department, or any group or community. However, it is not restricted to those in a hierarchical or official position within a professional capacity. Leadership can be shown by anyone when necessary, such as deciding what to do in an emergency, organising help for those affected or, in cases such as undertaking a group task or teamwork exercise.

What are the characteristics that make a good leader?

Leadership is not just one skill, but instead refers to a combination of several different skills working together. Simply put, leadership skills are the qualities that individuals possess to help oversee people and processes, guide initiatives and drive employees toward achieving goals. The following are some of the key traits and skills most important to being an effective leader:

Delegation - Leaders aren’t expected to do everything themselves. Great leaders can assign tasks to their team while managing its strategic direction with a hands-off approach. Good leadership means knowing when and how to delegate. A leader must recognise when others skills can better complete a task. This also helps with relationship building within the team as employees feel valued, respected and trusted.

Communication - A highly recognised skill among leaders, a leader with a team under them must be able to effectively communicate their expectations down the chain of command, as well as assist any members of their team who need further support. Managers and leaders are expected to convey directives or inspire the team in their work. This is applicable to both oral and written communication, so it is important to be fluent in both.

Problem-solving - Effective leaders must be able to adapt to both internal, and external changes – even if that means working outside of their comfort zone. They are capable of making and enacting successful decisions when problems arise and finding solutions for complex and unexpected situations while delivering projects on time.

Most important skills of an effective leader

Time management - This is an essential skill for leaders, as they will need to delegate tasks, prioritize commitments, set attainable goals and multitask. Successful leaders can practice time management skills by setting SMART goals for themselves and their team members.

Learning agility - Meaning an ability to learn quickly and apply that knowledge in critical situations, this is an invaluable skill for a leader as they will then be able to adapt to varied situations, whether that be changes in staffing, or developments in the market. They’re also able to ensure that customers remain satisfied while changes occur.

Empathy - It must always be kept in mind that those workers not in a leadership position are still colleagues and valued members of the team. It is important that you understand their feelings and support them when they are struggling and praise them when they have performed well. This will build trust and encourage them to give their best in future, increasing productivity.

Courage - It is important for a good leader to have courage in the workplace in order to make the often tough decisions that are necessary. This could be anything from a bold change of direction for a company’s aims to firing or disciplining members of staff who have not performed as was expected of them.

Why is good leadership important in the workplace?

In the workplace you will always need some kind of vision for the future of the team or group, whether you are managing a non-profit organisation, a branch of government, or a team of other professionals. A leader’s vision and mission serve as the foundation for an organisation’s direction, setting long-term goals and creating a strategic plan to achieve them. A strong leader will also ensure staff are reminded of these values and that they are implemented into employees or departments daily actions. 

Leadership plays a vital role in helping organisations to develop and build their own culture and in reinforcing it among employees. Those without a leader often have no direction and can face stagnation. Good leaders ensure that team morale remains high and that workers are motivated to perform well so that they take a positive approach to their jobs and the organisation. In business, this can bolster and promote teamwork, cultivate a sense of greater good, motivate, inspire trust, or provide purpose and collaboration.

An effective leader should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team and develop a strategy accordingly to ensure these affect output and productivity positively. A leader is also able to identify potential problems and take the necessary steps to correct them. This is especially important when delegating, as it ensures that tasks are performed with the highest quality and efficiency.

Even at lower levels of management and in roles that don’t on the surface appear to be leadership positions, many similar traits of being a good leader can still be as important. Aspiring to become a leader can help people realise their own potential and develop new skills through regular Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This can lead to higher employee satisfaction and retention.

Benefits of good leadership in a team

Can good leadership skills be developed?

Like any skill, leadership can be developed and improved for maximum success. Therefore, acquiring leadership skills should lead to greater success in your personal and professional life. Whether you are already in a leadership role, or are looking to become a more effective leader, good leadership requires a specific set of qualities that can be developed by utilizing the following strategies:

Determine your leadership style

There are many ways to lead and they all have certain strengths and weaknesses. You may wish to be a hands on leader who gets stuck in and does the same work as your team. Or you may find the situation requires you to delegate tasks and provide an overview of the situation and what needs to be done without becoming too involved in any one aspect. Think carefully about what most suits your skills and the situation.

Model inspirational leadership

Your employees are taking cues from your behaviour, and your example could affect the team culture, and the way your staff acts throughout their careers. Leading by example will show your team you are willing to put in the work and that you are confident and competent in your abilities.

Analyse your own abilities

A Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is very essential for developing leadership skills. The more aware you are of your own abilities and the more open you are about them, the more successful you will be as a leader. If you are seeking to develop your leadership then it helps to have clear and aspirational goals to work towards. This gives you goalposts to achieve that you can build upon.

Admit when you are struggling

A good leader tries their best not to fail. However, they also recognise when they have made a mistake or when to admit a task is challenging. This allows them to build upon previous experience and to develop their weakest areas for future tasks. 

Take leadership training

One possible way for enhancing your leadership skills is by taking training courses. Undertaking courses can help to increase your confidence, knowledge and ability to inspire and lead. In addition to training, it can be beneficial to stay up to date on industry trends through attending relevant conferences, subscribing to helpful publications or even joining professional associations. 

How can I improve my leadership skills?

There are various effective ways to improve your leadership skills. These can vary in range and formality but will all prove a useful learning experience. Knowledge is one of the most important assets of a leader and you should continuously learn and develop with regards to your own role and capabilities. 

An ability to lead can also be achieved through awareness of what is going on around you and, most especially, through real-life experiences where you can gain important insights as part of the learning experience. It also helps to learn from more experienced leaders who can provide insights to enable you to build on existing leadership and management skills.

You don’t need to be in a position of authority to improve leadership skills. You can step up and take charge in a given situation such as when participating in a group or family activity, for example, or join a group or organisation that enables you to fill a leadership role, especially if started or organised by yourself. In addition, you could also participate in a class, online session or CPD event which will allow you to practice the fundamental skills necessary for effective leadership.

Where can I find CPD leadership courses?

Leadership courses help new, aspiring and existing leaders refine their leadership skills through participatory and practical training. Leadership training and development programmes enable individuals to acquire leadership skills or attributes. They also help in developing communication and decision-making skills as well as accountability, which are all key skills that make for a good leader.

There are a wide variety of formal CPD training programs, workshops, eLearning, seminars educational events available for those looking to grow professionally as a leader in the workplace. If you wish to learn more and develop your interest in leadership skills via Continuing Professional Development (CPD), a comprehensive and wide range of accredited training can be found online here.

How to become a CPD accredited training provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses or events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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