Good leadership skills are at the top of the competencies that recruiters must consider when hiring new employees or promoting leaders from within the organization. The most prestigious corporations seek people with proven leadership abilities to fill their most sought-after executive positions.
We frequently discuss how many things are required to be a successful freelancer, but we rarely specify which ones because there are many. Everyone who has worked freelancing for at least a year understands how broad the required skill set can be.
Those considering freelancing and wondering what you can do to improve your chances of success should be aware that becoming a freelancer transforms you into a jack of all trades.
You will be running a business (probably entirely on your own at first), so you will need certain personality traits and skills to get successful. Anyone can be placed in a leadership position, but solid leadership skills are required to be good and thrive.
1. Develop Relationships with others:
Some leaders will argue that they do not need to be liked at work to succeed. This may be true, but great managers must have the leadership skills to forge strong working relationships with their employees to build a cohesive and engaged team.
Leaders with strong, trusting, and authentic relationships with their teams understand that investing time in developing these bonds makes them more effective leaders and lays the groundwork for success. Good working relationships boost sales and employee engagement, and according to Gallup’s employee engagement meta-analysis, business units with high employee engagement have 41% fewer quality defects and 37% lower absenteeism.
Higher employee engagement also resulted in a 21% increase in productivity. Even if you believe you don’t need to be loved at work, you will need to be skilled at building positive relationships to be an effective leader.
If your team is highly engaged and happy at work, you are likely to be well respected as a leader by employees who love what they do and the strong relationships you cultivate will, hopefully, help your team perform at its peak.
2. Adaptability and Agility like a Good Leader:
One of the most critical leadership qualities identified in a 2008 study by Development Dimensions International was the ability to facilitate change. In 2022, adaptability will be one of the most critical leadership skills. Leaders must contend with a hyper-competitive business environment, geopolitics, climate change, the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many other factors that necessitate adaptability and agility.
Influential leaders must be able to adapt to internal and external changes, even if it means working outside their comfort zone. As a leader, you must cultivate a lifelong learning mindset to avoid being left behind by industry shifts and to give your company a competitive advantage. As a leader, you must be adaptable in this situation, which is easier said than done.
One crucial way to develop leadership agility and adaptability is to be accountable and assume your responsibilities while ensuring that you have a plan for how you will respond to change. This plan should include an achievable timeline that allows you to assess how well you constantly adapt to the change and communicate this to your team.
3. Being a Leader Be Creative and Innovative:
Every business relies heavily on leadership innovation. Ideation — the phase in which outstanding ideas are developed and become the foundation of innovation success — is the starting point for successful innovation. Consider some industry leaders:
What did it take for Apple to become a technology industry leader? They made product improvements with their customers in mind. Steve Jobs, perhaps even more so, Tim Cook, led Apple Inc’s innovation and creativity by staying ahead of the competition, making them some of the most innovative leaders in the tech industry.
The growing demand for creativity and innovation will continue to be a driving force for executives who need to hone their leadership skills in these areas to be effective and competitive.
4. As a Leader, Maintain Employee Engagement:
In tandem with relationship building, changing your workforce is critical to maintaining high employee engagement. Knowing how to motivate employees is one of the most effective leadership skills, which requires leaders to be connected to their teams and aware of what is happening around them.
According to a study conducted by the firm Interact on 10,000 employees in the United States, the number one complaint (63%) from employees about their managers is a lack of appreciation when managers appreciate their contribution, their engagement increases by 60%.
Another study by Westminster College discovered that boosting morale is the most preferred (32%) motivational technique among employees. Absenteeism, attrition, and low productivity can all have a negative financial impact on a company if its employees are not motivated.
Motivated employees are more engaged and more self-assured in what they do and can do. This teaches them how to react in difficult situations and generate innovative ideas that can help improve business performance.
5. Decision-Making Power Like a Leader:
A leader is constantly tasked with making decisions. To be an effective leader, decision-making abilities must be exceptional. Critical choices impacting your organization must be sound, rational, and solid.
In reality, your decisions as a leader will determine who you are and potentially the success of your organization. Making decisions, no matter how big or small is essential to leadership. As a leader, you must develop strong decision-making skills and the conviction to stand by your decisions while recognizing the need to adapt when those decisions do not result in the desired outcome. It is a one-of-a-kind balancing act.
Remember that not all decisions are always favorable. Making an unpopular but necessary determination is one of the most challenging tasks a leader’s faces. Still, you must recognize your responsibilities and make clear decisions for your team or organization.
6. As a Good Leader, Become a Problem Solver:
According to the American Management Association, managers spend at least 24% of their time managing conflict. Any business can experience conflict. A conflict is defined as any dispute between two or more people that has the potential to disrupt work.
Business conflicts can extend beyond the workplace, involving customers, suppliers, and competitors. When a dispute arises, an effective leader should be able to intervene and resolve, or at least mitigate, the battle before it harms the business.
When handled properly, competition can benefit your organization, often leading to stronger bonds or new ideas. To be an effective leader, you must be skilled at identifying conflict and planning how to resolve it. When confronted with competition, it is also critical to remain rational.
Conflict resolution is undoubtedly one of the essential leadership competencies, but according to Robyn Short, 60% of U.S. employees have received no conflict resolution training. As a leader, you must be able to manage conflict, but developing these skills in your team can help you avoid conflict entirely.
7. Negotiate Like an Effective Leader:
Negotiation is when two parties with opposing viewpoints come together and mutually agree on an outcome. Good negotiations can benefit an organization by strengthening relationships both internally and externally. They will also assist in determining the best long-term solution by making the most of two opposing viewpoints to move an organization forward. A leader uses negotiation to understand employees’ interests and to find ways to satisfy those interests to achieve organizational goals.
8. Think Critically like an expert Leader:
Running a business is unquestionably difficult. A leader must make many difficult decisions to be successful. According to Brandon Hall Group research, critical thinking is the essential skill leaders require to lead an organization successfully.
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly while connecting disparate ideas logically. Critical thinkers make wise decisions, are highly analytical, and are always rational. These characteristics are required to guide an organization toward its goal.
Critical thinkers typically question ideas and assumptions rigorously. They always seek to determine whether the opinions, arguments, and findings represent the accurate picture and whether they can frequently recognize inconsistencies and errors in reasoning to achieve the desired outcome.
9. Concentration and achievement:
In a high-pressure leadership role, many events may occur concurrently, so it is critical to developing the skill of focusing on what matters most and understanding the impact on an organization.
The third habit in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is “first things first”, and he explains that leadership starts with a personal vision and personal leadership. Covey’s time management quadrant can help you prioritize tasks so you can focus on what’s most important first.
The second habit he mentioned is “beginning with the end in mind,” which means that a highly effective leader must be results-oriented. This is an important habit to develop because a leader must be able to visualize the desired outcome before starting work on it. When you can focus and orient yourself toward your desired goal, the direction you will take to get there becomes much more evident.
10. Communicate well:
Leadership requires excellent communication skills. When promoting managers from within an organization, good communication skills are one of the most difficult to find, especially in a technology or manufacturing company where people are initially hired for their production skills.
To allow their employees to advance within organizations, businesses must invest in communication management skills training rather than solely hiring externally. Good communication leads to fewer conflicts, better negotiation outcomes, and solid organizational relationships.