Leadership is not just about being a manager or a boss. Being a leader is about having the skills, qualities, and attributes to inspire as well as mobilize other people to bring an idea or project to fruition.
Leadership skills are important to develop, whether you are a student, at entry level, or a senior executive moving up the career-ladder. The ability to take ownership of something and bringing forward momentum to ensure that goals are achieved is a key differentiator wherever you are in your career.
So even if you are at the very beginning of your professional life, it is important to start displaying leadership as soon as possible. You are going to want to demonstrate to your boss or superiors that you have the initiative, drive, staying power, and the vision to take on more responsibility or even qualify for promotion.
That said, a true leader does not just look to developing his or her skill set in order to achieve rewards. You will end up disappointed when expectations are not met. True leadership is built on authenticity, integrity, and a body of core competencies that drive success in every area of life – from management, to research, to the simple accomplishment of everyday tasks, to how you manage your private life.
Being able to display leadership qualities requires a robust set of skills to be proficient in and have become part of your personality. Below we have broken them down and given brief explanations. As you go about with your day-to-day, look for opportunities to develop all of these skills and actively work to improve your abilities.
20 Leadership Qualities to Develop
Problem Solving Ability: Leaders are adept at solving problems – identifying the challenge, breaking it down into its constituent parts, and devising the processes as well as the approaches that lead to a workable solution.
Having an Open Mindset: Part of effective problem solving is being open to try new ideas, new approaches, new angles – wherever they come from. Knowing that you do not know everything is a key leadership attribute and opens the door to insight and solutions from a broader range of sources, influences, and cultures.
Ability to Inspire: Managing other people’s input does not have to be overt or official –the badge of manager is not required to lead others on your team. Leaders are those people that inspire and motivate others, by a variety of means to pull together effectively to get something done.
Intuition: Good leaders trust their instincts. They learn from experience. As well as from listening to others and being guided by their peers, who in turn inspire them.
Innovative Mindset: Seeing things from a different angle. Trying new ideas out. Being open to input and suggestions from diverse sources. Experimenting. Failing and trying again. These creative qualities are fundamental to good leadership.
Positive Mindset: Maintaining a positive approach and learning not be side-tracked by the negative has a strong impact on teams and individuals. It’s very easy in work environments to get sucked into negativity that can quickly turn toxic. Good leaders know how to side-step this trap and keep focused on the objectives and tasks that yield results.
Confidence: Believing in yourself, knowing you do not know everything but have the right attitude and the open-mindedness to find solutions. As well as embracing diversity in thought and learning from experience. Working towards positive results – all of this generates an inner-confidence that reaches and inspires other people.
Robust Communication Skills: Part of leading is being able to share and articulate what you think, need, or want to achieve. Building strong communication skills so that other people can understand and buy into your vision or idea is key.
Ability to Delegate: It is impossible to do everything yourself. And most people hate to be micro-managed in their work. Learning to delegate and to recognize other people’s strengths is a core leadership skill that helps inspire and motivate as well as leverage diverse skills.
Trustworthiness: Transparency is key. Along with strong communication skills, you need to demonstrate to others that you have integrity and you can be trusted to deliver. You are the kind of person that says what they mean and mean what they say. As well as being reliable to not take credit away from those who work alongside you.
Determination: You have a clear idea of what you want, how to get there and how to overcome the roadblocks you might encounter along the way.
Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the interpersonal ability to forge or work with other people, in teams, or on a one-to-one. You take the time to understand others and build the skills to connect.
Persistence: You are not a quitter. No matter how difficult a job is or how long it takes to accomplish, you have your eyes on the prize. Being able to endure and continuing, despite obstacles is a key indicator of a leader.
Reliability: You stick to a schedule, you arrive on time, you deliver what as well as when you say you will deliver. Other people know they can depend on you.
Developer of Relationships: You take the time and the effort to see other people’s strengths (and weaknesses). As you develop the inter-personal relationships to develop these strengths in order to build synergies and get things done more efficiently.
Ability to Think Strategically: You understand why you are doing something. You grasp the necessity behind the task and how it fits into an over-arching goal. You think about how best to utilize resources to reach your goal. You are able to make the connections between the different stages of a plan.
Being Organized: From time-keeping to planning to reporting, good organization ensures that things go to plan in the allocated time.
Meticulousness: Good enough is not enough for you. You pay attention to the smallest detail. You are a holistic thinker – thorough and particular in your approach to everything.
Being Humble: Good leaders are those who have the humility to listen to others, recognize and reward them and in doing so, inspire, and motivate them to work together around a shared vision.
Authenticity: It is easier than you think to spot someone who is insincere or prone to “schmoozing.” Real leaders are just that – they are real. They believe in what they do and say. Your charm is genuine.
Take a moment to reflect on how many of these attributes you say are innate to your personality? And how many do you have to work on developing? Leadership, like all other skills, is something that can be actively refined, developed, and improved over time.