Top Effective Steps to Build Leadership Skills

Top Effective Steps to Build Leadership Skills

06 Nov 2023

This informal CPD article, ‘Top Effective Steps to Build Leadership Skills’, was provided by keySkillset, a muscle memory building educational platform to master Excel, PowerPoint, Python Coding, Financial Modelling skills and more.

Leadership skills are vital for success in both business and career development. The good news is that effective leadership is a skill that can be learned and cultivated. In this article, we will explore various aspects of leadership, including communication, delegation, motivation, and their long-term benefits. We will also delve into the definition of leadership skills and offer a step-by-step guide to enhancing them.

Now, you can check out these statistics on Leadership skills, based on various studies:

  • About 10% of the population are natural leaders.
  • 20% possess leadership traits, and with training and guidance, they can become great leaders.
  • Approximately 69% of millennials feel a lack of leadership development.
  • Nearly 95% of learning organizations intend to increase and maintain investment in leadership development.
  • 83% of businesses agree on the importance of leadership development.
  • Leadership quality is perceived as high by 48% of leaders in current companies, compared to 34% in 2011.

Leadership skills are emphasized as crucial tools for effectively guiding and collaborating with others, regardless of one's profession or career level. Read on to discover how these skills can make you an effective manager and help you reach your goals more efficiently.

Understanding Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are essential for orchestrating groups of individuals towards common objectives. These skills encompass various attributes that collectively empower individuals to inspire and motivate others to accomplish specific tasks. While they are invaluable for professionals in managerial or leadership roles, they can also be advantageous in various aspects of one's career, such as job interviews and career advancement opportunities.

Differentiating Leadership and Management Skills

While leadership and management skills overlap, they have distinct focuses. Leadership centers on inspiring and guiding individuals and groups, while management concentrates on planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific objectives. Effective leaders often incorporate management skills, but they also prioritize interpersonal and motivational abilities.

Benefits of Effective Leadership Skills

Effective leadership skills offer numerous advantages, including achieving long-term success, positively impacting teams and organizations, and fostering personal growth and development. Leaders who cultivate these skills are more likely to excel in their careers and inspire others to do the same.

The Importance of Leadership Skills in the Workplace

In the workplace, leadership skills create a positive environment, motivate employees, and help teams work toward common goals. Effective leaders foster collaboration, encourage innovation, and build strong relationships with team members and stakeholders.

Challenges Facing Contemporary Leaders

Today's leaders confront various challenges, including rapidly changing environments, the need for adaptability, and the demand for data-driven decision-making. Navigating these challenges requires agility and continuous learning.

Demonstrating Leadership Skills in Practice

Leadership skills are most valuable when applied in real-world situations. Leaders should actively listen, motivate and inspire others, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively to achieve success.

Steps to Enhance Leadership Skills:

1. Identify Your Strengths and Areas for Improvement:

Begin by identifying your existing leadership strengths and areas that require improvement. Seek feedback from trusted mentors or colleagues to gain insights into your strengths and areas of growth. Personality and aptitude tests can also provide valuable insights. Reflect on instances where you received praise, promotions, or recognition, and identify the common traits and skills that contributed to your success.

2. Determine Your Leadership Style:

Recognizing your personal leadership style is essential. Here are some common leadership styles to consider:

Authoritative: Making decisions independently and expecting full compliance.

Democratic: Involving team members in decision-making and valuing their input.

Coaching: Focusing on developing team members' talents and potential.

Laissez-faire: Delegating tasks and intervening minimally in team activities.

Transformational: Constantly seeking to improve operations and foster innovation.

Bureaucratic: Adhering strictly to organizational rules and procedures.

Choosing a leadership style that aligns with your strengths allows you to target opportunities that best suit your abilities. You can also improve your leadership skills through mentorship, workshops, and feedback from colleagues.

Identify potential mentors in your network

3. Set Realistic Development Goals:

Establish clear and detailed goals for skill development. These goals should be meaningful, achievable, and realistic. Consider setting short-term objectives to track your progress and maintain motivation. Ensure that your goals are specific and include a plan for how and when you will work towards them.

4. Seek Mentorship:

Experienced leaders can offer valuable feedback and guidance on skill development. Identify potential mentors in your network or study the leadership journeys of public figures you admire. Books, interviews, and speeches by accomplished leaders can provide insights into effective leadership traits and behaviours.

5. Seek Leadership Roles Outside of Work:

To gain leadership experience without workplace pressures, consider volunteering to lead local sports teams, groups, or projects. If you're already involved in a community or organization, offer to take on leadership roles. This extracurricular leadership can bolster your confidence and readiness for leadership positions in your career.

6. Actively Pursue Leadership Roles at Work:

Proactively seek leadership opportunities within your organization. Offer to lead projects, suggest improvements, or request opportunities to gain leadership experience. Any chance to lead can help you assess your current leadership level and areas for improvement.

7. Practice Discipline:

Discipline is a fundamental trait of effective leaders. Demonstrating discipline at work involves consistently meeting deadlines, keeping appointments, and respecting time boundaries in meetings. If you struggle with organization, start by cultivating good habits in your personal life, such as waking up early and engaging in daily exercise. Your discipline at work will be a reflection of your leadership capabilities.

8. Take on More Projects:

One way to develop your leadership skills is by taking on additional responsibilities beyond your job description. Stepping out of your comfort zone and showing initiative will make you stand out to executives and colleagues alike. By accepting more projects, you'll gain valuable experience and demonstrate your leadership potential.

9. Learn to Follow:

Effective leaders are not threatened by differing opinions or ideas. Learning to yield control when appropriate and valuing others' input is a sign of strength. Keep an open mind and give credit where it's due. By respecting and supporting your team members, you'll foster a collaborative and trusting environment where others are more likely to contribute.

10. Develop Situational Awareness:

A mark of a good leader is the ability to see the bigger picture and anticipate problems before they arise. This skill is invaluable, especially when handling complex projects with tight deadlines. Being able to foresee issues and offer solutions enhances your leadership effectiveness. Practice situational awareness, even when leading remote teams, to become more attuned to your team's needs and project dynamics.

11. Inspire Others:

As a leader, you are part of a team, and your role includes motivating and inspiring your colleagues. When team members require guidance or encouragement, be ready to provide support. Sometimes, all someone needs is a listening ear and empathy. Your ability to inspire others will contribute to a more collaborative and productive team.

12. Keep Learning:

A commitment to continuous learning is a hallmark of great leaders. Embrace opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills. This practice keeps your mind sharp, your abilities up-to-date, and prepares you for new challenges. Learning enhances your leadership capabilities and equips you to tackle unforeseen obstacles.

13. Empower Your Teammates:

Acknowledge that no one is the best at everything. Effective leaders empower their team by delegating tasks, allowing team members to excel in their areas of expertise. Delegation not only frees you to focus on your strengths but also empowers your colleagues, fostering a sense of ownership and contribution.

14. Resolve Conflicts:

Leadership involves addressing conflicts rather than ignoring them in the hope that they will disappear. Engage in private discussions with those involved to resolve interpersonal conflicts. Be open to reassigning team members if necessary. Effectively managing conflicts promotes a harmonious team environment.

15. Be a Discerning Listener:

Leadership doesn't mean always being in the spotlight; it includes active listening and valuing input from others. Pay attention to suggestions, ideas, and feedback from your team members. Effective listening extends beyond words and encompasses non-verbal cues such as eye contact and body language. Becoming a discerning listener fosters collaboration and encourages your team to contribute more effectively.

Leaders must actively engage in listening

Key Leadership Skills to Focus On:

Enhancing leadership skills involves honing specific abilities, including:

  • Communication: Clear and persuasive expression of ideas, coupled with active listening.
  • Problem Solving: Calmly identifying and implementing solutions to challenges.
  • Dependability: Consistently meeting commitments and deadlines.
  • Mentorship: Guiding and teaching others to improve their performance.
  • Integrity: Upholding ethical values and fostering an inclusive environment.
  • Decision Making: Analyzing information and making rational decisions that benefit the team and organization.

Key Leadership Skills that Help to Enhance Your Career

Taking Initiative: Career growth often hinges on your willingness to go beyond your comfort zone. Embrace new responsibilities and expand your skill set beyond your primary expertise. By taking the initiative, you build a track record of proactive problem-solving and learning.

Critical Thinking: High-profile roles demand critical thinking skills. Effective leaders anticipate and address potential challenges, while also identifying opportunities for improvement. They take a proactive approach, ensuring the team is prepared for any unforeseen issues.

Effective Listening: Communication is a cornerstone of leadership, and listening is paramount. Leaders must actively engage in listening to understand their team's feedback and concerns. This fosters an environment where employees feel valued and heard.

Motivating Others: Leaders have the power to energize and motivate their team, especially during times of waning enthusiasm. Understanding team members' needs and recognizing their efforts is crucial. Positive reinforcement and creating a supportive work environment are key motivators.

Discipline: Discipline is the bedrock of goal execution. Even the most visionary ideas are ineffective without discipline. This applies to personal discipline and instilling discipline within the team to ensure tasks are completed efficiently.

Continuous Learning: Leadership and learning go hand in hand. Emulate successful leaders, incorporating their traits and methods into your own style. Staying adaptable and open to new ideas is vital in an ever-changing landscape.

Delegation: Effective leaders don't micromanage; they delegate tasks to empower their team. Assign tasks based on individual skills and competencies, and provide clear expectations and deadlines. This allows leaders to focus on broader goals.

Managing Conflict: Leaders must adeptly handle difficult people and resolve conflicts. Address issues privately and engage in open, honest conversations. Listening to both sides and making informed decisions is essential in conflict resolution.

Empowering Others: Recognize the value of team members and encourage their growth. Support and mentorship help team members develop their skills. A leader's belief in their team's potential can boost confidence and initiative.

Strategic Thinking: Developing the ability to set priorities, make informed decisions, and allocate resources effectively is crucial for leaders. Strategic thinking involves considering the long-term impact of decisions and conducting data-driven analyses, such as SWOT analysis.

Change Management: Leaders are responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring changes to achieve organizational goals. Agile leadership, emphasizing adaptability and quick decision-making, is particularly vital in change management.

Interpersonal Skills: Leaders must excel in interpersonal communication, both verbal and nonverbal, to build relationships and influence others. Understanding organizational behavior and motivating and inspiring team members are key aspects of interpersonal skills.

Management Skills: Management skills involve planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources and personnel to achieve specific goals. Effective planning, organizational skills, and monitoring progress are crucial components of successful management.

Communication Skills: Good leaders are adept communicators who convey messages clearly and concisely. They prioritize active listening and understand the significance of body language and tone. Effective communication is essential for motivating teams and building relationships with stakeholders.

Improving leadership skills is a valuable endeavor that can benefit individuals in their careers and personal growth. By identifying strengths, selecting a compatible leadership style, setting achievable goals, seeking mentorship, gaining experience outside of work, and actively pursuing leadership roles, individuals can enhance their leadership abilities and achieve greater success in their professional journeys. 

Leadership skills are pivotal for career development, often complementing technical expertise and formal education. To excel as a leader and propel your career forward, honing soft skills, such as effective communication and active listening, is crucial.


Leadership skills are vital for career advancement and are highly regarded in all fields. Stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges is essential for growth. Effective leaders possess critical thinking abilities to foresee and prevent potential problems. Strong communication, including active listening, is a cornerstone of leadership. Motivating and positively influencing others are fundamental aspects of effective leadership. Discipline, continuous learning, delegation, conflict resolution, and empowerment are essential leadership skills.

Strong leadership skills are indispensable for career development. Demonstrating your ability to lead and influence others can fast-track your career. Whether you're seeking a new job or a promotion, a track record of successful leadership roles in both your professional and personal life can make a significant difference. Remember that leadership can be learned and developed, and continuous improvement in these skills can lead to greater success in your career.

We hope this article on essential leadership skills and strategies for enhancing your leadership capabilities was helpful. For more information from keySkillset, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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