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.