What Leadership Skills Do You Need?

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What Are Leadership Skills?

Leadership is the ability to guide a group of people toward a common goal. It is not one specific skill that makes one a good leader, but rather a set of them. Each is valuable on its own, but taken together, these leadership skills allow an individual to succeed in certain occupations or advance through the ranks of an organization. To be an effective leader, you must be able to:

  • Communicate VerballyA strong leader must be able to impart information to others.
  • Listen: Good listening skills will allow you build rapport with your subordinates, understand their concerns, and answer their questions.
  • Persuade: Good leaders don't simply demand their workers follow their commands blindly. They convince them that it is the best thing to do.
  • Use Critical Thinking to Make Decisions and Solve ProblemsWhen making decisions and solving problems, you must know how to compare various actions and solutions regarding their costs and benefits.
  • Delegate Work to Others: Even if you have the know-how to do every task, which is highly unlikely, it is much productive to assign work to those who can perform it as or more effectively.
  • Organize Your Own and Others' Work: Good organizational skills will allow you to complete work efficiently and help those you lead to do the same.
  • Take Responsibility for Yours and Your Subordinate's Mistakes: An effective leader doesn't blame others for his own mistakes, and because he is responsible for his subordinates' work, he also shares ownership of their errors.
  • Persevere: No matter how difficult things become, and how often your plans get thrown off course, if you are tenacious, you will be able to reach your goals.
  • Adapt to Change: When things don't go as expected, which often happens, flexibility is of the utmost importance. If you can adjust your plans, you will have a better chance of succeeding and helping your team move forward.
  • Build Relationships: As a leader you must develop good working relationships with both your subordinates and superiors.
  • Show Respect for Your Subordinates: If you want those under your authority to respect you, you must also demonstrate that you respect them.
  • Support Others: It should always be evident to those who work for you that you are on their side when it comes to helping them reach their goals.
  • Manage Crises: Good leaders respond quickly and effectively when problems arise.

Careers That Require Strong Leadership Skills

Excellent leadership skills are required in many occupations, especially if you aspire to a managerial position. Here are some careers for which this skill set is especially important:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Usually referred to as a CEO, she helps a company or organization achieve success by setting goals, implementing strategies, coordinating senior staff, and reporting to the board of directors.
  • Athletic CoachA coach teaches individual or team athletes the fundamentals of a sport and trains them to succeed in it.
  • Pilot: Although a pilot's primary responsibility is flying an aircraft, he is also in charge of a plane's crew.
  • Choreographer: A choreographer designs dances, instructs dancers and leads rehearsals.
  • Judge: Presiding over legal cases, a judge makes sure they are handled fairly according to the law.
  • Producer A producer oversees financial and business matters for movies, television shows and stage productions.
  • Director: A director makes sure the creative aspects of films, stage productions and television shows run smoothly.
  • Clergy Members of the clergy, including rabbis, priests, imams and ministers, organize and lead religious services and educational programs in houses of worship.
  • Teacher: In addition to helping students learn and apply concepts in a variety of subjects, a teacher supervises teachers' aides and mentors newer educators.
  • DoctorA doctor diagnoses and treats medical conditions, and may manage other health professionals.
  • Recreational Therapist: A recreational therapist plans and coordinates recreational activities that are used to treat ill or injured people.
  • Funeral DirectorA funeral director helps bereaved families plan their deceased relatives' funerals.
  • ChefA chef runs a kitchen and supervises other culinary employees in a dining establishment.
  • Athletic TrainerAn athletic trainer treats athletes and others who have injured their muscles or bones.
  • Fashion DesignerA fashion designer creates clothing and accessories. He or she may direct workers who cut patterns and construct products.
  • Registered NurseA registered nurse treats patients and advises them and their families. He or she may also supervise other healthcare workers.
  • Urban or Regional Planner: An urban or regional planner makes recommendations to a community about how it can best use its land and resources.