The 10 essential leadership traits that you need now more than ever

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Leadership-traits-290X217The professional world is evolving faster than ever and the skills once considered the ultimate skills to lead and manage a team are now just the building blocks from which to advance further and remain ahead of the game.

These are the top leadership qualities and abilities that you as a leader must develop to face huge changes like Brexit, GDPR and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

1. Gained trust

Be honest, fair dealing and unambiguous - it goes a long way to gaining respect and trust of your staff and co-workers. This entails not only charisma but the ability to value, empower and reward your team members. Without these factors the workplace becomes an abrasive and harsh environment. In cases like this, is essential to know how to handle difficult conversations.

2. Resilience

In today’s rapidly changing business climate there’s a lot to do but less little time to do it in. So a resilience to pressure and stress is becoming increasingly more important in the toolbox of any employee or manager. Time management and prioritisation is a critical skill that has a huge contribution to a leader’s ability to manage themselves and others.

3. Emotional intelligence

Having the collective skills known as emotional intelligence is a determining factor in how you can communicate with staff and co-workers, how to help your team perform better and achieve results. Emotional Intelligence is the combination of:

  • Empathy: Understanding and developing others, anticipating others' needs, leveraging diversity 
  • Social skills: Building bonds, influence others, manage conflicts, catalyse change
  • Motivation: Self-drive, commitment to the organisation’s goals, initiative
  • Self-awareness: Self-confidence, accurate assessment of strengths and limitations

4. Active listening

When we talk about influencing other people the terms ‘Push and Pull’ are often referred to. The most effective form of influence is ‘Pull’ where people feel empowered to participate and make decisions and are then more likely to buy in to those decisions. Leaders who demonstrate an approach of active listening are often viewed as influential leaders for this reason. They really understand the needs, challenges and problems of their audience and propose value-adding solutions.

5. Cultural and diversity management

Modern teams are not only inter-functional, but international and multi-ethnic. This can be a huge asset for a culturally-aware leader. By recognising and working sympathetically in a plural ethnic, religious or cultural environment you can help the people you manage or work with to achieve better outcomes and results. Without doing so, divisions increase and unnecessary friction can result in failures and unhappiness.

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6. Change management

From Brexit to the 4IR, huge changes are happening all around and affecting every aspect of business. Leaders must stay flexible, adaptive and focused on the end goal by knowing how to devise and implement effective plans and objectives. The key to employees’ adoption is to make them participate to the change process from the start, asking for inputs and feedback, instead than imposing change on them. 

7. Ambiguity and complexity navigation

Expect the unexpected. In today’s business environment, ambiguity and uncertainty is a constant factor. Being able to operate without 100% assurance that everything is known and take calculated risks is a basic requirement of most managers today. As a leader you have to work with others in a more participative way to make decisions on issues where there is a lack of information and certainty of the outcome.

8. Flexibility and versatility in multiple business areas

The mark of a good leader has always been their ability to adapt to their surroundings, the people they lead and the context of the business they are in. Managing multiple sites with a diverse product or service range has extended that requirement even further. The ability to react quickly is both demanding and essential. A dynamic market place which is constantly moving and alive with different priorities means only managers who are light on their feet are likely to survive and prosper.

9. Embracing Innovation

With competition constantly looking to exploit any weaknesses or shortcoming, managers need to be able to know how to use their staff and their own ability to innovate and harness it to improve performance and achieve more. Innovation should not be seen as a burdensome duty but should be embedded into the company culture, backed up by bottom-up processes. Learning new skills, methods and knowledge is a sure way to remain a step ahead.

10. Coaching

Developing and enhancing the people who report to you uplifts you as a manager. Without coaching skills, the risk is two-fold: you might lose the knowledge and experience of your best employees and you might skip on the chance to improve the abilities of high-potential employees and lose on their potential contribution to the team and to the business.

 

Did you find this helpful? The L&D experts at EEF have created the definitive guide to success as a team leader. Register now for the free webinar.


Develop today the leadership skills that will make a difference tomorrow with our wide range of leadership training courses, from essential management skills to advanced accredited leadership and team skills.

 
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