If you are striving to move up the ranks or if you are an already a leader trying to sharpen your talents, it pays to consider 10 skills every leader needs to have to succeed. Your next step to consider: Which talents do you need to work on? How can you increase your knowledge, experience, and insights? And which have you already mastered? Here’s hoping this list gives you a good base upon which to build, as you consider the top skills that every leader needs to have to succeed going forward.
LISTENING: Anyone can talk, but the best people can truly listen. If you do not take the time to hear what people are saying, you will be a frustrating person to work for or with. When an employee needs your ear, stop and focus to make them the center of your attention.
COMMUNICATION: After you listen, make sure you can speak. You must be able to clearly explain your goals, intentions, and vision to your staff. Be transparent whenever possible when explaining why decisions are being made or why shifts are occurring. The easier it is for you to be understood, the better chance your staff will do as they are asked.
PRIORITIZING: You know there are a million things that need to happen, but what is the best sequence and order in which to get them done? What effective ways can you manage your workload so that the most important things happen first? Great leaders know the what and when of their business.
DELEGATION: You can’t do it all — it’s a basic fact to keep in mind when considering skills that every leader needs to have to succeed. The best leaders know how to manage a team and pick the best people to do the best work. When building a team, think of them of colleagues like X-Men: Each has a special power and it’s up to you to know when and how to ask each to apply these talents.
NEGOTIATING: Leaders are making deals all day long. Whether agreeing to a price with a vendor or getting a new client to give your team a shot, the best leaders can find a way to win each battle and make everyone feel as though they came out on top.
HAVING HIGH EQ: EQ stands for Emotional Quotient, the ability to read people. It may be a more important quality than IQ in today’s workplace. If you can have a consistent grasp on the way your staff is feeling and understand their reactions to certain things, you can anticipate their emotions and help navigate them to better places and more positive outcomes.
SELF AWARENESS: A great leader knows exactly who they are. They know their own strengths and weaknesses. They understand who they work well with and what their trigger points are. You also know your own limits and how to take care of yourself to bring your best work to the table.
DECISIVENESS: As a leader who will need to make many decisions each day. And although you can take the time you need to consider things carefully, it’s important to “make a decision” and stand by it. The more you waver, the less others will trust the calls you make.
ADAPTABILITY: Life moves fast. Business moves faster. Any organizational leader in an needs to adapt to a changing marketplace and they need to lead their team through each change with ease.
INNOVATION: Success comes through constant evolution. You need to know how to create and innovate, whether through iteration or invention. If you make the same choices again and again, the results may stay the same. The world will go on and you need to think about how your company can make strides toward tomorrow (i.e. the future) today.
It’s never too late to hone your skills, no matter what level you’re at. Here are more skills every leader needs to have to succeed today.
Victoria Cairl writes about women and work. She's is the VP of Business Development at Show-Score.com, having previously worked at Lincoln Center, The Met Museum and Disney Theatrical. She is a mentor, feminist and an entrepreneur based in New York City.