Leadership is an important function of management which helps maximise efficiency and achieve organisational goals. It is also one of the most sought after skills in recruitment besides flexibility and problem-solving, with companies spending nearly $167 billion on leadership development programs. Recruiters emphasise the importance of leadership skills in their job applicants. As a job seeker, if you want to showcase your credibility and stand out from the other candidates, you should boost your organisation leadership skills by mapping your skillsets against key personality traits and cognitive abilities that all effective leaders share. The traits include the following:
Strong influencing behaviour
Leadership is the ability to influence the behaviour of others, said Richard Petronio, Founder, President & CEO at Surcon International Inc. Leaders need to know how to influence and persuade their peers, both in pitching a new idea and trying to change a departments’ way of thinking. This will need good communication and other behavioural-based skills. That said, you are advised to train your way of communicating with others. Petronio said that effective leaders communicate with empathy. They strive to identify and understand their colleagues’ motivations and use that knowledge to make a change and build trust.
In a world where quick changes are made, leaders need to bounce back from failures and disappointments and not labour on them, advised Petronio. That said, it is important for leaders to remain emotionally and mentally calm in order to tackle this fast-changing and competitive world. To have stronger emotional resilience, you should rebuild your self-efficiency, emphasise empathy, practice patience, create better self-capacity, and always perceive possibilities.
While leaders need to have the emotional resilience to deal with problems, they must be able to separate fact from emotion when making a decision. Solutions based on practical evidence are valid information. To be a practical leader, you should focus on carrying out concrete actions that can help achieve organisational objectives with more or less immediate reinforcement. However, you need to also carefully assess where you are gathering evidence to avoid any inaccurate reporting or miscommunication that might lead to poor decision-making.
Petronio said that effective leaders need extroverted tendencies, meaning you cannot just stay holed up in your office or room, laser-focused solely on your work. You need to walk around, connect, and communicate with transparency, as well as collaborate with others. This, however, does not mean that introverted individuals cannot be a good leader. A study published at Semantic Scholar found that introverts and extroverts are equally effective as leaders in both academic and corporate environments. Yet, the characteristics of introverted leaders might depend on the context in which they lead, meaning introverted leaders should emphasise on learning and collaboration.
Effective leaders listen and focus not on what they should say, but on what it is being said. When spontaneous decisions are required, leaders need to fight their urge to react. Hence, managing your emotion is crucial here.
Ability to solve problems
In the 21st century, businesses compete with more companies and make faster, creative and meaningful decisions in order to not lose from business rivals. As a leader, you are responsible for winning this competition – because if you don’t make a change, your competitors will. Successful leaders are comfortable in assessing situations and thinking holistically about organisation, as well as the long-term impact of their decision-making.
Apart from solving problems and being a good listener, leaders are also expected to be an expert in their field, meaning leaders should have additional competency-based skills when managing teams. This skill varies depending on job title and position’s level in an organisation. As an example, if you are working in the business development sector, your competency-based skills should cover all that is needed to achieve good and successful results in your department.