Five Critical Leadership Skills To Grow

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We begin our careers loading up on every technical skill we can. We want to master every part of our job and be comfortable carrying out each task with agility. That’s our goal as we strive to be the best leader we can and add value to our teams. Yet at some point we notice that although we may be capable of successfully completing any project, we are facing some different kind of challenges in persuading others.

This realization for some leaders that something has changed is expressed so often in many of my leadership workshops. An energizing discussion often emerges.

“Why won’t my team members listen to what I have to say?”

“I support my co-workers best with my strong technical skills. What’s wrong with that?”

“I am so frustrated that I can’t finish my assignment by myself. If I work with my colleague it will take twice as long.”

Have these thoughts crossed your mind and you are wondering how to promote your ideas more effectively?

 As we grow in our jobs and careers we need to realign our leadership to become more people focused and less task focused.

Five Critical Leadership Skills As You Grow- The 5 S’s:

1. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU

The first place to begin to grow is through the understanding that leadership is all about people. It is about developing relationships and helping our co-workers see their potential and worth. Instead of just focusing on what we individually can contribute, we need to see how the strengths of those we work with can be utilized.

  • Who can help showcase the project in an impactful way?
  • What pieces are missing and who is best to work on them?
  • Which person has the time and the skill set to take charge?

2. SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE

As we grow we need to be generous in sharing our knowledge and experience. One leader worried that if she showed her special tips then she would be of no value. What she learned was that team members would be eager to turn to her for guidance if they saw how willing she was to support them.

3. SPEAK WITH RESPECT

Strong and effective communication is key for leaders to master as they grow. What does that mean? When connecting with others we need to be clear, open and direct while still respectful of the other person’s point of view. We also need to be aware of how others receive and process information. Some of us prefer more details. Some of us would rather just have bullet points. Whatever works is great as long as we are respectful.

4. START PROMOTING OTHERS

In switching to a more people focused perspective, leaders help their team members and colleagues identify their gifts as well as create opportunities to sponsor them.

  • Encourage others to lead the presentation
  • Tell other teams about the strengths of your co-workers
  • Connect co-workers with people that may need their talents
  • Become known as a leader who recognizes others

5. SHARPEN YOUR LISTENING ABILITIES

Probably the most essential skill of all in growing our leadership is to become a strategic listener. One leader in a recent program thought it was best to just tell others how to do things in order to save time and meet deadlines. The problem was that their team member had some great ideas but felt they weren’t being heard. Keeping an open mind and listening to really hear what is being shared will empower you to become a highly approachable and credible leader.

What skills have helped you grow your leadership?

(Image credit: Pixabay)

8 thoughts on “Five Critical Leadership Skills To Grow

  1. Interesting topic, Terri…one of the things that “held” me back from moving into management positions in the FBI was that I recognized that I was primarily a task-oriented person. The further one ascends the management ladder, the more people-oriented one needs to become—as you so aptly point out.

    What I discovered is that I could be a leader on my squad without needing to buy into the other stuff that management often requires of us. The upshot? Without an official title, I could balance between people-oriented management and task-oriented leadership.

    Management is undoubtedly laden with a responsibility of teams while leadership can be a bit more fluid…a great article on how to parse the difference between the two!

  2. It is true LaRae that one does not need a title to lead, but rather a desire to take on the necessary responsibilities to get the job done. Being people focused also encompasses building trust and deeper connections which we can do from wherever we lead. As long as leaders keep in mind the perspectives of others while making their decisions they will be influential leaders.
    Thanks LaRae for sharing your experiences in leading!

  3. Great article Terri. The ability to get the best out of others is such a critical skill and is why so many “managers” never become “leaders.” Your point about not making it about yourself is spot on as leadership is always about others. Great insight!

  4. When leaders realize that although they may have reached their current positions due to their technical skills and expertise, they will really grow their leadership if they connect with others in a meaningful way. Helping team members and colleagues see their gifts and strengths is what leadership growth is all about.

    Thanks Kaylene for adding your great comments!

  5. Each of us does have unique perspectives that are a result of our experiences and opportunities. The best way to grow our leadership is to listen strategically what other leaders are generous enough to share. I have learned so much from the many leaders I meet and I try to keep an open mind and heart to see the world through their eyes. It has really helped me grow.
    Thanks Chery!

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