Published August 27, 2020
Top Five Leaderships Skills You Should Adopt
Most people in business like to think that they are, or have the potential to be, good leaders. However, the stresses of everyday life and working routines can lead us to forget the fundamentals of what strong and successful leadership looks like. Effective leadership is vitally important, whether you have a team of five or fifty, your attitudes and work ethic ultimately affect your employees and how they work. A strong leader equals a strong team and successful leadership will drive any business or organisation towards success.
Divergent and Convergent thinking
When we’re busy it’s easy to slip into the same routine of working, not giving much thought to how we make business decisions. Divergent thinking is defined as generating creative ideas to explore multiple solutions to a problem or challenge. Divergent thinking’s counterpart, Convergent thinking, explore ideas in a linear and focused way often leading to one solution. These methodologies may seem like polar opposites but both are vital when it comes to decision making and leadership within business. Divergent thinking allows us to solve problems in a flexible manner developing multiple strategies and is often more common in those who are innately creative or artistic. Convergent thinking is described as more of an analytical approach, focusing on reaching one conclusive resolution to a problem. This is often how many of us make decisions every day without even realising it.
As a leader in business you often need to make quick and concise decisions but it is important not to dismiss a more holistic way of problem-solving in your decision-making process. It is something that should be instilled in your team to allow them to explore multiple perspectives and solutions to tasks and challenges. For example, when faced with a problem to be solved, encourage your team to discuss the problem to create multiple solutions. Ask them to think outside the box and put forward any ideas they come up with, even if they feel the idea isn’t fully worthy. Once you have multiple solutions you can then use Convergent thinking to analyse them and weigh up the pros and cons of each solution.
Learn more about Divergent and Convergent thinking here.
We all know that communication is important when it comes to leadership but it’s not often something we are taught to do effectively. When communicating with your team you need to ensure that the information your providing is clear but also motivating. Think about how you would want to be communicated with. What’s the best way in which you retain information? What kind of discussion motivates you?
Leaders naturally do a lot of talking but it’s equally essential to listen effectively. When communicating with others we often get wrapped up in what we have to say and forget to fully take in what others are saying. This is where mindful communication can benefit our working relationships. Mindful communication is all about applying the principles of mindfulness to the way we engage with others such as being fully present with who we are interacting with, being open and non-judgmental and setting intention to take in information. It sounds simple but how many times have you been listening to someone talk and suddenly realised you can’t recall anything they’ve said? It’s normal for all of us to do this on occasion but getting into the habit of mindfully listening to your team and colleagues will gain you respect and credibility as a leader.
For tips of mindful communication click here.
Honesty and integrity
Your employees may not always like what you have to say but they will always have respect for you and your decision making if your message is honest and credible. It can be said that many professionals model themselves on a manager or leader that they respect. If you’re honest with your employees those who want to succeed in your business or industry will do the same. Being trustworthy in a leadership role may sound obvious but a staggering 82% of employees claim to not trust their boss, this, of course, can have a negative effect on your business. Aim to be as transparent with your employees as you can. Think about elements of your business that you would want to be aware of if you were an employee. Not only will this gain you respect as a superior but will also empower your team with autonomy and a willingness to work hard.
Developing and mentoring others
Sharing professional knowledge is not exclusive to workshops and training sessions, it’s often the information you deliver day to day that really sticks with people and as a leader, it’s essential to invest in your team. What did you want to learn when you were just starting out in your career? What advice would you give your former self? 87% of young people rate professional growth and development opportunities as the most important factor in role (link) so its important to deliver development opportunities day-to-day as well as informal settings such as employee training.
Giving direction and relinquishing control doesn’t come naturally to some but delegation of tasks will assist you in developing the skills of your employees, making their professional development a priority. Be clear on what is expected of your employees, set goals and be present to offer guidance and motivation. As well as sharing knowledge and coaching your employees you need to provide positive reinforcement to keep them motivated. Once tasks are completed set aside time to provide considered, constructive feedback on their performance.
Effective communication, developing others and honesty are all contributing factors to successful relationship building and a successful leader values every professional relationship. Whether it’s your client, your second in command or the people that clean your office space making a concerted effort to build positive relationships will create a genuine sense of community within your business which, in turn, will benefit your overall business function. Day to day building of sincere relationships can be as simple as remembering details about a person and more committed relationship-building activities such as informal one to one meetings and even team socials are always advantageous when it comes to forming bonds with employees and stating your place a business leader.
Driving the success of a business or organisation is ultimately reliant on strong leadership skills. Next time you’re engaging with your team take a moment and ask yourself whether you are utilising these top 5 leadership skills and what can you do to utilise them more effectively.