Learn these 5 leadership skills to improve your life chances

A woman using a laptop to work from home.
(Image credit: Shutterstock - fizkes)

A leadership role doesn’t have to mean being a company-heading manager or executive. It could be as simple as being a project leader for a specific task, or even being an assistant to a high-level executive - we have more on what makes a successful assistant .

Whether you’re looking to explore new boundaries or just want to make a lasting impression in a one-off task, chances are you’re here because you want to refine your leadership skills.

Improve your chances of success with these five easy leadership skills.

1. Goal setting and decision making 

As a leader, you’re going to be working to deadlines. Having a clear goal in mind is paramount to your success, helping you to envision the end process and allowing you to plan out a strategy step-by-step.

For this, you will need to be decisive. Formulating quality decisions that are likely to impact your success in a positive manner is key.

Once you’ve made a decision, you should be able to stand by it for the entirety of its journey and be able to deliver on your promises, so setting and managing realistic expectations is key here.

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2. Communication 

Part of being a leader is managing a team, and to do so you should have impeccable communication skills. This will typically involve anything from writing detailed instructions and presenting to a group of people to listening and absorbing information; always remember that good communication works both ways.

A leader will typically encounter conflict, which can be as simple as a friendly discussion of disagreement. Conflict management usually involves being able to mediate between two parties, even if you are one of those parties. Healthy discussion is key to ironing out any issues before they become too large to handle. 

A good communicator will be inquisitive, wanting to hear and explore other people’s opinions. This allows a certain degree of empathy, giving other team members a sense of security, thus improving productivity.

3. Integrity and resilience 

Being a leader can be challenging at the best of times, and often involves a lot of thinking. To have integrity, you should be able to stand by your decision and be able to answer any questions that may arise regarding your vision. The face of the project you’re working on, you will be held accountable for any failures as well as successes, so being prepared for this will stand you in good stead. 

Having said that, things can often go the wrong way, taking unexpected turns, and you should be able to adapt to these changes by assessing any revised plan’s strengths and weaknesses. Flexibility in these situations will lead to better results, however it’s always useful to have backup plans set out in advance to avoid this scenario altogether. A good leader will be able to predict changes. 

Dependability is an equally desirable trait, and being someone your colleagues can come to when they encounter obstacles matters. Setting standards is a surefire way to be firm, but you should work to these standards in order to encourage others to do the same. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is never a good working ethic.

4. Motivating 

A team leader will inevitably have one of the hardest jobs in any project: as well as heading the working methods and holding accountability for successes and failures, a leader should be able to motivate their colleagues.

Showing appreciation is one way to do this, but you should read deeper into what this means. Appreciation doesn’t just involve explicitness; you should make less obvious gestures as well. This could include bringing snacks and treats to meetings, or offering shorter hours when progress is on track or ahead of time.

Building a good working relationship with your colleagues will help prevent sick days and other absenteeism, in turn boosting productivity and happiness.

It’s important not to forget yourself, though. Spending all of your time improving your team’s morale can lead to you forgetting about your own, so remember to treat yourself in a similarly respectful way. Avoid overworking with healthy delegation to keep your mind clear for others.

5. Delegation 

It’s easy to nail the four skills above, especially as they are key to success in many other roles. Delegation, on the other hand, is something that many new leaders will have trouble perfecting as it can be particularly difficult to ask something of other people; it can even feel embarrassing to some.

Fortunately, there is a method that helps to alleviate the stress of delegating, but it starts early. Think back to when you have been delegated workload by a leader, and how they went about it: the words they used, the amount and style of work you were given, and how your role fitted into the wider team. If this is an experience you struggle to locate or remember, consider asking a successful leader to share their ideas. People generally love to share what they know with others.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!