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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? Experts in leadership agree that the skills you require to be an effective leader are skills you can develop, but many managers try to get by without them. If you do not have the leadership skills you need, you will find that you have difficulty in motivating your staff members to perform at their best for the good of the team. If you want a highly productive, motivated team, you need to know how lead people. Here are the top five leadership skills that are essential for every leader to have.

  • Time Management

    If you find yourself continuously running late to every meeting or turning up unprepared, you lack time management skills. Managers have many different claims on their time and you need to know how to juggle a multitude of tasks. Good time management is an essential skill for everyone in a leadership position. You need to be able to keep up with the day to day business tasks, while finding time to plan, prepare for meetings, and motivate your staff members. If you find that you never seem to have time to plan and only work in a reactive instead of a proactive way, you definitely need to brush up on your time management skills, if you want to be an effective leader.
  • Interpersonal Communication

    Without the ability to communicate effectively on many different levels, you will face challenges as an effective leader. Many business leaders tend to ignore interpersonal communication skills, until they discover that they can achieve nothing without the support of other people in the business world. You can not get your staff to work productively if you can not communicate effectively with people. Good interpersonal communication has an essential ingredient – it is personal. That means as an effective leader, you need to relate well to people on an individual basis, and use that knowledge to motivate the individuals to give their best performance to the work.

  • Negotiation

    Negotiation is a far more subtle art than simply getting people to do what you want. Great negotiators know how to create the perception of win-win that enable ongoing relationships to make the next negotiation with that individual or business even easier. Too often, leaders mistakenly believe that the art of negotiation means forcing the other party to accept their terms and conditions, but real negotiation relies on a different perspective and allows both parties the freedom to compromise and discuss the terms and conditions together to ensure a sustainable relationship. This skill will lead to better business relationships within your team and with external parties and is therefore on the top five leadership skills you need to have.

  • Task Matching to Individuals (Delegation)

    While most people can delegate tasks to someone else, this skill goes far beyond just asking or telling someone else to complete a task. Effective leaders know their staff members well and know what tasks are within their capabilities and skill sets. Matching tasks to individuals to get the best out of each individual is essential for effective leadership. Without the ability to understand the intricacies of delegation, you may find that you neglect to develop your team.

  • Team Building Skills

    Without your team, you are not a leader. Effective leaders know how to get individuals working together to form a team, not just a group of people who happen to share the same work space. A good team will produce more work of a higher quality than individuals working alone, so team building skills are essential for the team leader. Avoiding arguments and personality conflicts to create an effective team is not always easy, but a good leader can recognize the signs of impending disaster to take early action when needed.

So, what happens if you find that you need to work on some of these leadership skills? You can develop these skills and practice them daily in your work life to become a better leader. Leaders who can acknowledge areas where they themselves need to learn and improve are more likely to be able to mentor and encourage staff members to undertake personal and career development courses too.

Everyone wins with good leadership. Make sure you have these top five leadership skills to be an effective leader.

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