This Leadership Skills List Makes People Want to Follow You

leadership skills list

Being a leader that makes the people around you happy, that makes people actually want to work for you, and who can inspire your employees to follow you sometimes seems impossible. But like any skill set, leadership is just another skill that can be honed and improved with time and the right tools.

Here’s a leadership skills list that will help you inspire, motivate and LEAD those around to bigger and better things.


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1. Honesty

Honest is the most important leadership skill on this entire leadership skills list.

Why?

Because from honesty comes trust, faith, and respect. It also sets the bar for what you expect the people you’re leading to behave like. It’s just like the old cliché “lead by example”.

Naturally, you want the people you’re leading to be honest. And the best way to get that result is to be honest with them.

Being honest will also garner you respect. For example, imagine that you had two bosses. One was always honest, the other one had a history of exaggeration and lying to avoid unpleasant truths. If they both asked you to work late because an order came in at 4:59 on Friday and needed to be filled, which one would you believe?

Probably the honest one. So while you’d probably do it for both, your inherent trust in the honest boss because of her honesty would probably mean you’re a lot less bothered about it.

That’s why honesty is so absolutely critical to any leadership skills list. Without it, you have no integrity as a leader and thus, end up being ineffective.

2. Communicate clearly

Communication is so important to any leadership skills list. Why? Communicating with those who follow you is going to be 99 percent of what you do as a leader.

And we’re not talking just about stuff like being polite in emails, scheduling regular check-in meetings, and getting to know the people who might work for you.

Communication is about conveying what needs to be done and your vision for what you want in a clear, open and positive way. Because if the people who are following you don’t know what you want, then how are they supposed to be able to give it to you?

In a professional environment  (where most people find themselves needing leadership skills lists for the first time) this usually means conveying what you want to be done and what result you want to achieve.

But communication expands far just delegating via email and status meetings. It’s also about making sure that people understand why something needs to be done a certain way and why you’re bothering to do something at all.

For example, imagine you were a chef, and instead of slicing onions, you diced them instead. Now, imagine that the head chef came over and told you to start again.

Would you prefer the head chef said: “you diced the onions instead of slicing them. You need to do it again.”

Or:

“You diced the onions instead of slicing them. You need to do it again because otherwise, the smaller onion will burn when we add the meat.”

If you’re anything like us, you probably preferred the second one.

Why? Because it’s a lot easier to do something when you know why you’re doing it.

Finally, communication is all about people feeling comfortable to come and talk to you about their problems and you feeling comfortable about chatting to the people following you about yours.

In an office, an open door policy is a great way to get this going, as is greeting everyone when they arrive, having small informal conversations, and regularly checking in.

3. Listen to what your followers want (don’t just read leadership skills lists!)

Hot on the heels of communication is actually listening to what your followers want.  This can be especially hard because oftentimes, your followers demand more attention than you can give. Regardless, you need to make an effort to be an active and engaged listener for your followers. It will help you:

  • Connect and engage with the people you’re leading, so they know that you’re there to help
  • Demonstrate empathy with those who follow you (especially at work)
  • Learn where problems are likely to crop up and help you put out fires before they start
  • Identify new opportunities to act on and embrace

4. Be comfortable delegating

A big part of being a self-confident and comfortable leader (especially at work) is knowing what you’re good at, knowing what you’re terrible at, and being able to delegate effectively to the experts accordingly.

We should state the obvious. If you’re leading even a team of one person besides yourself, there is already more work to do then you can do on your own. There simply is not enough time in the day for you to do the work of two people and STILL make it home to sleep.

Second, delegating is really just a working term for comparative advantage – basically, there is stuff that you as the leader can do that other people can’t do. So your time is best spent on that stuff, and you can delegate the stuff that you or your team can do to your team.

The point is that you need to be able to say “I trust you to do this” and then be comfortable assuming that it’s going to be done.

Which leads us to our next leadership skills list item…

5. Don’t micro manage

If you’re going to delegate, you have to actually delegate. Even if you see an employee or a team member doing something differently or perhaps less efficiently than you would, you still need to just let it go.

First, you’ve delegated. You need to give them a chance to succeed.

Second, there’s nothing to say that your way is actually the best way.

And third, you probably have better things to do than chasing something you’ve already delegated to a team member.

So take a deep breath and leave the micro management for others.

Conclusion

There you have it. Five brilliant ways that you can be a better leader today. All it takes is honesty, trust, good listening, and the ability to delegate (and RESIST micromanagement).

Other than that, just treat your team the way you would want to be treated – with respect and integrity.

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