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How to boost your leadership skills

All companies need good leaders, and all good leaders need strong leadership skills. Whether you are already in a managerial role or hoping to progress to one in the near future, there are certain key abilities which will be crucial for your success. In this post we’ll take a closer look at what skills are required, and how you can take yours to the next level. 

What skills does a good leader need?

There are many skills which are vital for those working a leadership position to have. Although there is some variation by industry, the following list gives you a good overview of the sort of abilities all good leaders need:

  • Interpersonal skills to work with people of all ages, backgrounds and temperaments
  • An ability to motivate and inspire those you lead
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills, including the ability to give bad news
  • Flexibility to deal with internal and external changes
  • Problem solving and analytical thinking
  • The ability to mediate and resolve conflicts between individuals and teams
  • Good financial and administrative skills
  • General transferable skills such as time management and organization

How can I improve my leadership skills?

Now that you have a better idea of what skills you need to be a good leader, let’s move on to how you can acquire them:

  • Study for a formal degree, such as a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. This will give you the most thorough education in leadership. You’ll complete a series of academic modules, followed by a final project that brings together all the knowledge and skills you’ve learned. It’s a more expensive and time-consuming path, but you’ll graduate with an official qualification that greatly boosts your employability.
  • Take a short course in a select few skills. This is a great method for people who are already working in a leadership role but recognize that there are one or two areas they could improve in. For example, you could take an online course in conflict resolution or join an in-person workshop on public speaking.
  • Find a mentor to help you. Working with a mentor on a one-to-one basis offers a fantastic personal touch that you can’t always get on a course. Try reaching out to people who have the sort of job you are hoping for, and also the sort of leadership style that you would like to emulate. Offer to buy them a coffee in exchange for some advice – you never know where it might lead.
  • Create your own study program. Formal education isn’t the only way to learn, so why not try putting together your own course by reading recommended books and journals, listening to relevant podcasts, and watching industry videos online. This is a good way to tailor your learning to your specific needs, and enables you to focus on only those materials that you find interesting. 
  • Get real-world experience. Seek out opportunities to improve your skills in your current job role by volunteering for extra responsibilities, asking for feedback where possible, offering to teach others where relevant, and taking an active role in new initiatives. Turn every day into a chance to learn.
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