The key to motivate employees, even when the going gets tough
When you gaze out over your team, whether at the office or on a grid of video feeds from home, what do …
Leadership skills play a huge role in your professional development.
The technical skills that you have will only go so far, developing some soft skills will help you be a good leader.
Leadership is something that takes time to get good at, and something that requires a lot of practice.
Leading a team is a tough thing to do, and requires a robust skill set to ensure your team’s success.
If you want your team to be successful, you need to learn how to handle all of the different issues that come up, like inter-team problems, introverts vs extroverts, putting out fires, etc.
Let’s go through the different skills that you need to be a better leader, along with some tips on how to develop each of these skills.
Being self-aware is the most important skill to build, and it’s the one that I’d recommend building first.
Without this skill, you’ll have a much harder time developing the other skills on this list.
Without understanding yourself, you can’t improve yourself.
According to Daniel Goleman, the godfather of emotional intelligence, self-awareness is the core of EQ.
Self-awareness leads to self-regulation (one of Goleman’s five components of emotional intelligence) and empathy, which are key traits to positively influence those around you.
Self-awareness also helps you make decisions, which is something leaders need to be able to do well and quickly.
When you’re aware of yourself, you’re more comfortable and confident with each decision you make.
Self-awareness also allows you to understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you know where to focus your time and energy.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy writes in her book “Presence” that when people first meet you, they ask themselves two questions right away:
In her research, she found that in professional settings people believe that being respected is more important, because we want to appear smart and knowledgeable enough.
But Cuddy says that being trusted is the most important factor for how people evaluate you. They want to know if they can trust you.
Even if you’re the smartest person in the room, if people don’t trust you, they won’t respect anything you’re saying.
I believe that empathy is the most important skill to build, whether you’re a leader or not.
If there was more empathy in leadership, the employee engagement problem would go away.
At the end of the day, employee engagement comes down to treating your team with respect. In order to treat your team with respect, you have to understand them.
Building empathy will help you understand your team.
A study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership found that empathy is positively related to job performance.
The study found that leaders who show more empathy to their team are viewed as better leaders.
This is a difficult skill to develop, because most of us have a problem letting go of control, but this is an important skill to have to earn respect from your team.
As a leader, you need to learn how to give up that control. While it might be tough for you to do, the damage it’s doing to the morale of your team is huge.
People need autonomy to be motivated at work and to feel like they’re making real progress.
Even worse, when a leader says they’ll give autonomy and don’t or delegate and then jump in mid-way or towards the end of a project, it ruins motivation very quickly.
If you say you’re going to delegate, then you need to actually do it.
The Progress Principle and the power of small wins are important concepts that leaders need to be fully aware of.
We’ve written a lot about how to give feedback to your team because it’s one of the most important things to do, but one of the hardest things to get right.
People react differently to different things based on their personality, and so leaders need to be mindful of this and be a little more sensitive with their feedback.
The keys to remember when giving feedback are:
Arguably more important than how you give feedback, is how well you’re able to take it.
Hopefully, you don’t get defensive and react negatively.
Smart leaders understand that they need to constantly grow and get better, and receiving constructive feedback is the easiest way to figure out how you can optimize your behavior for your team.
A question you should be asking yourself is, do people on your team give you feedback?
If not, then you need to figure out why? Do they feel comfortable? Do you encourage them to give feedback? You should. It will help you grow and become a better leader.
Leaders need to have incredible communication skills. Think about all of the different scenarios that require leaders to communicate effectively:
Some of the biggest issues in the workplace come from lack of communication or miscommunication, so improving your communication skills is so important.
A study from Michigan State University found that having a boss that’s unpredictable is too stressful for them to handle.
In the study, 100 workers in different companies filled out surveys over three weeks about their perceptions of fairness. Employees that had unpredictable managers were more likely to be stressed, dissatisfied, and emotionally drained at work.
You need to stay consistent with what you say over time, otherwise your trust and respect will start to disappear.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!