There may be times in your career when you work for a leader who truly inspires you. You’ll want to emulate the way they lead and can learn a lot from them. At other times, you may work for leaders who don’t always demonstrate good leadership qualities. This can impact your motivation levels, and you may find yourself looking for alternative career options.
While most people would rather work for the first example, working under both types does provide learning opportunities. Learning what not to do can sometimes be just as important as learning what to do when it comes to leadership.
In today’s business world, leadership is no longer hierarchical. Effective leaders demonstrate strong leadership regardless of their title or position. So how do you become the leader you wished you had?
The importance of self-reflection
A good place to start is with the qualities you want to see in a leader. Talk to your colleagues, friends and family to get their input. You may discover that many of them look for similar traits, for example, inspirational, good communicators, trustworthiness and approach-ability.
Consider your strengths and weaknesses concerning these traits. Are there specific areas you know you need to improve? Or skills you can develop? Be honest about your capabilities, so you know where to focus.
Skills for effective leadership
A good leader models behaviour aligned with organisational values and inspires you to do better. Leaders do more than manage people and projects, and they help their teams to reach their potential, challenging, guiding and mentoring them.
Typical skills for a good leader include:
Relationship builder: someone who understands the value of relationships in the workplace and takes the time to build genuine relationships across all levels.
Lead from the bottom up: understanding how decisions impact all levels of an organisation to make the right choices for the majority of their staff.
Active listening: listening demonstrates interest in a person’s needs, what they need from their leader and how to help.
Empathy: being empathetic can help leaders build relationships and understand the reasons why people may be underperforming.
The benefits of formal training
A lot of technical skills can be learnt on the job, but soft skills for leadership can require specialised training. Over 40% of our graduating students work in managerial positions, utilising the leadership and managerial skills they have learnt with us (VET student outcomes 2020, NCVER). Find out about how our Diploma of Leadership and Management can help you.