The capability of operating as an effective leader requires several key traits. Leaders are able to organize, motivate, and direct people in many situations to solve problems or improve results. People will follow good leaders without question. Here are some of the essential skills to leadership, no matter what industry you work in.
People, or “soft” skills, are vital to communication and negotiation. Leaders with good people skills intuitively observe and listen. You should know how to empathize and how to initiate meaningful dialogues that feel natural and authentic. With good people skills, you understand how to express ideas clearly, and establish and develop relationships. Soft skills can be taught or learned through experience, and are critical in service industries where client satisfaction drives business.
It’s important to have the support of both your team and senior management to see projects and challenges through to a timely and efficient solution. A lack of confidence in your own methods or understanding is easy to spot and begins to erode trust in your competence. However, false confidence from assuming you are more talented than you really are is just as damaging. For example, it’s important to be able to honestly gauge your own strengths and weaknesses to inspire improved productivity in manufacturing.
A Sense of Mission
Every business has a mission that expresses what they hope to accomplish. Good leaders are not only in tune with that mission, but able to communicate it to others. A strong sense of purpose helps to motivate and build dedication among employees. This is necessary in industries like healthcare, where 42 percent of nurse managers are employed by acute care facilities. If you can translate your mission into actionable tasks and procedures, others will look to you for guidance and inspiration.
In any business, decision-making needs to be informed and timely. Frequently making rushed or bad decisions tends to be seen as more like gambling than actual ability. Conversely, excessive caution can make it seem as though you’re unwilling or unable to make effective choices and may result in missed opportunities. In technical companies, a qualified leader such as someone with a master of electrical engineering will be capable of making good choices.
No matter what the industry, a business leader must know his/her team, company, and mission. A great business leader is able to coordinate all influences into a plan that others have confidence in.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.