Are great leaders born or made? The topic fuels an endless debate as some people believe leaders are born with exceptional leadership skills, while others claim that leadership skills can be learned over time. Regardless of what people may believe, one thing is sure; influential leaders result from significant time and effort. Therefore, if you’re serious about developing your skills as a leader, you need to begin by understanding the accurate definition of an effective leader.
What is an Effective Leader?
An effective leader is an organization’s primary asset for development, innovation, and corporate growth. No organization can dream of being successful without impactful leaders. While there isn’t a “by the book” method to learn how to become an effective leader, you can adapt to your organization’s corporate culture and needs to become one. To do so, you’ll need to understand your business’s needs and hone relevant skills by employing the right tools and resources. If you’re looking to become an effective leader in your organization or industry, here are eight skills you should be focusing on:
Effective communication with coworkers and other stakeholders is the key to becoming an aspiring leader. The art of communication allows you to motivate and interact with your team so weaknesses can be addressed and strengths can be utilized. Some important aspects of communication that effective leaders focus on include:
- Adaptability: communicating in different styles, under varied situations, to a broad audience.
- Active listening: communicating in an engaged and attentive manner.
- Transparency: communicating openly.
- Clarity: communicating in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
- Inquisitiveness: communicating with open-ended questions that spark thoughtful discussion.
- Empathy: communicating emotionally.
- Body language: communicating with comforting body language.
2. Supply Chain Management And Financial Literacy
Every high-quality Online MBA program these days is majorly focused on teaching the leaders of tomorrow about financial performance and supply chain management. Being skilled in these subjects can help you learn the art of handling broad managerial responsibilities in various industries. Enroll in a prestigious online degree program to study key concepts in a convenient online format. With an online degree, working professionals can enjoy putting their knowledge to good use at their workplace to firsthand experience the benefits of financial and supply chain management knowledge.
3. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in the corporate environment. Unfortunately, most leaders fail when they cannot recognize and manage their emotions and other people in the organization. To maximize emotional intelligence, an aspiring business leader must be:
- Self-aware to identify personal strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.
- Socially aware to understand others’ emotions.
- Adept at managing relationships with others through mentoring and resolving conflict.
4. Strategic Thinking
In today’s dynamic corporate environment, 83% of organizations prioritize developing leaders at every company level. Therefore, companies are looking for individuals with a knack for strategic thinking, which can help solve problems, make decisions, analyze, and plan ahead. However, if you are looking to become an effective leader, you must focus on setting a vision and utilizing other people’s skills to turn your vision into reality.
Effective leaders employ clever ways of empowering employees to improve team performance and perform essential leadership tasks. When people are empowered, they feel greater job satisfaction, engage with the workplace better, and enjoy additional benefits. While every leader has their own way of empowering employees, most depend on the following strategies:
- Building a culture of trust
- Delivering honest feedback
- Showing empathy
- Fostering open communication
- Being purpose-driven
- Supporting growth opportunities
In today’s competitive marketplace, innovation is the driving force of businesses. If you want to emerge as a successful leader, you need to prioritize the skill of workplace innovation. Organizations are actively looking for great ideas and efficient business practices. In addition, companies prefer individuals who initiate change for the better. In all this, leaders must remember to depend on constant learning to develop meaningful skills throughout the innovation process.
The business environment is fast-paced and uncertain, meaning things seldom go according to plan. In the circumstances like these, businesses are looking for resilient individuals to step up as leaders and counter risks under pressure. A successful leader can adjust to changing scenarios and plan and implement new courses of action for their team without succumbing to the pressure. Some effective strategies to build resilience in your leadership style include:
- Reflecting on a situation before acting
- Striving to learn and improve continuously
- Remaining purpose-driven at all times
- Cultivating strong relationships with stakeholders
8. Self Awareness
Leaders need to be self-aware to recognize and control their emotions well in both calm and stressful situations. Being self-aware can also help you identify your leadership style among the following and leverage its strengths to your advantage:
- Authoritarian leadership (autocratic) – the leader makes decisions without input from the rest of the team.
- Participative leadership (democratic) – decisions are open for debate as leaders value their colleagues’ opinions.
- Delegative leadership (laissez-faire) – leaders believe in giving their employees autonomy and creative freedom.
- Transactional leadership (managerial) – leaders value order and systems by outlining the rewards and penalties.
- Transformational leadership (visionary) – leaders use a mix of empathy, enthusiasm, and praise to energize teams and sell a company’s vision.
Focusing on the powerful leadership skills mentioned above can promise you a successful career in today’s corporate environment. You can begin mastering these skills by first understanding your strengths and weaknesses to identify areas that need work. Enrolling in an online MBA course can also help you conduct a leadership assessment, practice self-awareness, and hone your skills. Experts suggest improving your leadership skills every step of the way by reading books, researching, and putting knowledge into practice at the workplace. Understand which way you learn best and commit to that learning style to emerge as an excellent leader. Good luck with becoming an effective leader of tomorrow!