Getting where you want to in life often requires developing key leadership skills, even if the only person you lead is yourself. It is not easy to learn these skills, but you do not necessarily have to be born with them as talents to get ahead as a leader. Knowing key communication, motivation and responsibility skills can open doors to more opportunities and you can learn these skills with the right teacher and daily practice.
Effective communication is the benchmark of a good leader. Not only will you need to communicate tasks and goals to employees, you will need to give effective feedback with positivity and trustworthiness for it to be well received. Leadership development teachers will tell you that active listening is the first step. This means engaging in eye contact when having a conversation, repeating back key points, and keeping an emotional distance from what the other is saying. Sometimes an angry employee is mad at you, but most of the time he or she is frustrated and finding out why is more effective than getting defensive.
Not only do you have to know how to motivate yourself, you need to inspire others to be motivated as well. This means determining what they need and want and finding a way to provide that. Many times, what will motivate an employee is your positivity and commitment to the work, the team and the employee in question. Knowing that their contributions are valued and recognized can be all that is needed. Having to do the same mundane, repetitive tasks every day can be frustrating. By actively listening to your employees, you can motivate them to think of solutions. You could also innovate a way to automate the process and use that solution as further motivation.
Having responsibility and taking responsibility are vastly different things. Taking responsibility for the tasks and teams under your management means using skills of delegation, creativity and flexibility to find the best team member for every task, be willing to change things up when needed and even taking on difficult challenges yourself. If your team members see you getting into the thick of it, you will inspire confidence and trustworthiness as well as a motivation for the whole team to work harder.
Good leaders are built, not born, and the skills needed to be a good leader start with active listening, innovative motivation techniques and knowing how to handle and delegate responsibility. You can practice these skills in areas of your life outside of management positions and work teams by actively listening in every conversation, finding innovative ways to motivate yourself and taking responsibility to delegate tasks or finish them yourself.