How to be a leader, The essential leadership skills you need

It seems common nowadays that you hear one of your friends, a family member or even yourself complaining about his boss at work while praising a manager in another department. This might seem strange to you but in actuality, it might just make perfect sense. 

Most of you are probably familiar with what’s stated above, not all of you though might have given much thought to why that is. 

why would two people assume the same position yet one seems to be unable to motivate his team or inspire them, leaving them agitated and negatively affecting their productivity, while the other is adored and respected by his team members and non-team members & is able to drive results without pushing his team beyond their breaking point?

The answer to the above question lies in the fact that not every manager is a leader but any person who is viewed as and has leadership qualities can with ease be a manager. So who exactly is a leader, why it’s important to be one & what are the makings and qualities of an effective leader?

1) What is a Leader?

Figuring out what a bad leader is like to most of us might be pretty easy but what exactly is a great or good leader, is he the complete opposite or is there more to it?. First, let’s start with the definition of a leader

A leader, as defined by Wikipedia, is defined as someone who people follow on a legitimate basis, so in the world of business, a CEO or a board of directors member is a leader or a manager who has a bunch of employees that follow his orders?

Another way to define a leader is through defining what leadership skills are. Leadership skills are the skills you need for organizing a group of people ( whether you’re a manager or not ) around achieving a common objective and motivating them to push through. 

So this would mean that a leader is someone who inspires and is followed by others to achieve a specific objective as he motivates them and drives them towards that previously mentioned objective

2) Why is being a good leader important?

Now that we have somewhat of an outline of what differentiates a manager from a leader and what a leader is, why is it important what leadership style or if the person in charge has leadership qualities or not.  

There are a couple of reasons why having managers and others that are responsible for achieving your company’s objectives or managing the team that has adequate leadership training and follow effective leadership methods, some of which are

  • Although traditionally a manager does have direct authority over his team or those working under him, without having any leadership skills he will not be able to run the team efficiently or get the most productivity out of them and perform his leadership roles effectively
  • Being a great leader rather than a great manager assures that you’re getting the most out of your team, which in turn will distinguish you and make you stand out within your workplace.
  • According to Soapboxhq, companies that hire based on talent see a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in Productivity & 30% increase in their employee engagement scores alongside a 19% decrease in turnover.
  • Managers account for at least 70% of the variations in employee engagement scores. 

So it’s evident that having a true leader around is beneficial for the business, employees and company loyalty. So how do you become a Leader at your workplace?

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3) How do I become a leader?

By now you’re probably asking yourself how do i become a leader. What leadership skills do I need? The answer to these two questions is not just about acquiring some new management skills or communication skills, it’s more than that

What we can do, however, is tell you some pointers to put you on track to being a true leader which are.

Bring a positive attitude

Nothing draws attention and is as contagious as bringing a smile to your work. In general, people are drawn and attracted to optimistic and cheerful people, moreover, it’s a great way to spread some good vibes in your team and amongst your colleagues. 

Focus on positive outcomes

Being a leader is all mostly about how strong your soft skills are & how emotionally intelligent you are. A small exercise in getting used to being positive is to increase your positive interactions like greeting people with a  smile, spending your break with your team instead of eating alone

This will greatly affect how your colleagues and your employees feel towards you, in a positive way of course and will deeply resonate with those who you interact with

Improve our communication skills

One of the most common traits amongst political, business or industry leaders is that they are excellent or at least good communicators. Communication is key to speed up processes, avoid confusion and make your employees feel that they are part of the decision making process.

So make sure you communicate important and need to know pieces of information to your team as leaving them in the dark will only make them feel more frustrated and trust you less

Help others achieve their goals

One of the must-have traits of a leader is his ability and drive to help his team members, company, and colleagues to achieve their goals. 

When doing this you are not only showing that you’re a team player, you are building trust between you and your colleagues and some might even consider you an authority on the subject at hand which is a great reputation booster & opportunity opener. Be sure to be empathetic towards your colleagues and get to know them. 

Set an example

One of the best ways to encourage people to do something is to lead by example. If you’re gonna ask your team to stay up to finish a report, stay up with them, if you want them to work on themselves then do the same.

Sustain a positive environment

A tensioned or unhealthy environment is not something that beneficial for anyone. Create an environment where people are able to participate, share ideas, share information and techniques and nurture and grow that team spirit amongst your team members

That can be done with a variety of different techniques and approaches whether that be creating in-office team activities, going on team outings, socializing outside of work as a team and so on and so forth. 

Those were some of the things we believe are the makings of a successful leader and are the essential qualities of a good leader. We hope you found this piece interesting and gave you enough reasons to lead your team rather than manage them. 

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