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Top Skills Required for Leadership & Management

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30th Dec, 2020
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Top Skills Required for Leadership & Management

“What are good leadership and management skills ?”

This is one of the most widely debated questions in the industry. Some believe that leaders are made through years of learning and experience, others believe that leaders are born to lead and guide.

And while leadership skills are highly sought after by employees across all sectors, there is no single definition to describe what constitutes good leadership skills. After all, leadership is largely about individual management style and characteristic qualities. 

Although different leaders have unique management styles and approaches, some skills are most commonly associated with good leadership and management.

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All leadership roles, be it that of a project manager/supervisor or a team lead, demand a few standard skills from aspiring leaders and managers. This is precisely the focus of our discussion today. 

Now, if these key skills determine effective leadership and management, one may wonder – is the learning process the same for every leader?

To be honest, there’s no learning manual to become a competent leader. The essence of good leadership is adaptability and flexibility to deal with any situation, steer projects towards set goals, and inspire and encourage employees to be the best version of themselves. 

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With that being said, let’s dive deeper into the question

What Makes A Good Leader?

Typically, by “leader” we mean executives that hold senior ranks or supervisory positions within an organization. Leaders comprise the top-tier of a company.

In this position, they may manage one or multiple teams or even entire business units (sales, marketing, resource acquisition, etc.). 

However, this does not mean that anyone not in a supervisory or managerial position cannot become a leader. Some people do what’s expected of them.

They perfect their knowledge and skills to excel in their respective domains. And then there are others who take initiative to handle additional responsibilities. This is one of the most vital signs of a true leader. 

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Leadership involves a mix of diverse skills and talent, such as:

  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Strategic thinking
  • Project planning 
  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Futuristic vision
  • Storytelling 
  • Communication and negotiation skills

Now, let’s expand on some of the most important leadership and skills:

1. Strategic Thinking

What distinguishes leaders and managers from others is their ability to think strategically. It is their vision that helps set the tone for the company. Leaders have radical ideas to improve company performance, employee performance, reduce costs, and design innovative products.

They rely on data collected from disparate sources and possess an in-depth understanding of the market and customers. What’s more, is, they know exactly how to materialize their vision into tangible and measurable results.

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2. Decisiveness

Leaders often come up with numerous ideas and business strategies. However, choosing the right strategy and decision for a particular business scenario is crucial to the success of the company.

Usually, good leaders have prompt decision-making abilities – they can make competent decisions even under high-pressure circumstances. This quality helps projects move faster and keeps them right on track.

3. Communication Skills

It goes without saying that leaders and managers must be master orators and excellent communicators. They must be able to voice their ideas, opinions, and strategies in ways that are comprehensible to all. Not just that, they must also be good listeners – they should listen to the challenges, grievances, and ideas of others and impart constructive criticism thereafter. Learn more about the importance of communication skills.

Through effective communication and listening skills, good leaders can earn the trust and confidence of their subordinates and peers. Their ability to develop a rapport with others helps them build strong and long-lasting relationships with people both inside and outside the organization.

4. Problem Solving

An able leader is one who can handle and manage any challenge that arises in the workplace. The first rule of effective problem-solving is keeping calm, then gathering all the information on the situation at hand, and finally create a step-wise action plan to overcome a business challenge.

Problem-solving skills are crucial as they help maintain a balance between all the external and internal tenets in the work environment.

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5. Mentorship

A good leader is one who can guide, mentor, and encourage their employees and team members in the right direction. This does not only include guiding and supervising work-related matters, but it also extends to helping one’s subordinates to develop the right professional skills and outlook to excel and climb higher in the industry.

Also, leaders and managers have the responsibility to ensure overall team development. They must create learning opportunities like upskilling programs, on-the-job training courses, networking events, etc., to encourage their employees to upskill.

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6. Organization And Planning 

A competent leader is highly motivated and organized with top-notch planning skills. They must be able to plan, design, and execute tasks as smoothly as possible. Without proper planning, organization, and time management, delivering results becomes quite challenging and problematic.

Essentially, project planning, project management, team management, product planning and risk management are crucial skills for leaders and managers. Leaders must support their strategies with well-crafted delivery plans and a problem-solving attitude.

7. Change Management 

Change management is synonymous with creating and implementing a vision within a stipulated time. Innovation is the key to change management. In the present competitive market, businesses must make active efforts to drive innovation and change across all parallels of the organization.

A true leader is someone who knows how to innovate and also stir up others’ innovative abilities. Leaders must create an environment wherein employees feel encouraged to experiment with new methodologies, tools, ideas, etc.

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8. Ethical Practice

A leader or manager is an inspirational figure in the workplace. Essentially, their actions and behavior reflect on the employees of a team(s). Whatever a leader says and does become an integral part of the team culture.

This is why leaders must be strong proponents of ethical practices in the workplace. When employees see their mentors abiding by the mandates of workplace ethics, they start emulating those patterns in their day-to-day work activities. Learn more on how MBA makes good leaders.

How To Take Your Leadership And Management Skills To The Next Level?

Although leadership skills are acquired through years of experience and learning, there’s another way to learn the nitty-gritty of leadership and management – get enrolled in a certification program. The idea of pursuing a certificate program is to get acquainted with the leadership mindset and understand the thought process of a leader/manager. 

If you wish to see yourself in a managerial or leadership position in a few years – or more importantly, if you are interested in acquiring leadership and management skills – the Global Professional Certificate in Effective Leadership & Management is the perfect choice for you!

This certification course is designed to help shape future leaders by teaching them the fundamentals of management, leadership, and analytical problem-solving. It is a 3-month program that focuses on application-based learning, covering relevant matters like:

  • Cutting edge techniques in effective leadership
  • Management skills and techniques
  • Management theories
  • Advanced Theories (MBTI)
  • Analytical Skills

The best part is that you get to learn and interact with best-in-class instructors and experts from upGrad and Michigan State University that ranks #32nd among USA’s top public schools and #80 in its top national universities. Apart from live-interaction sessions with faculty members, you will also receive 360-degree career assistance, including career counseling, resume building, and interview preparation, while also participating in career fairs and hiring drives.

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Now the question that remains – Do you have the passion and drive to emerge as a competent leader?

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He is working as Associate Director of Digital Marketing at upGrad. Apart from marketing he is a crazy and courageous traveler. He has traveled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari through his bike(bullet).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Q1. What is understood by thought leadership?

Thought leadership refers to the expression of thoughts and ideas that establish that you are knowledgeable in a specific area of work. It takes education, understanding, patience, strategy, and dedication to become a thought leader in a particular field or topic. It also takes not just excellent command over a specific subject but loads of passion and eagerness to share knowledge that can benefit a team or an entire organisation. Thought leaders can also inspire others, so they are often invited to speak at graduation ceremonies and conferences. They can offer unique and practical guidance and encourage innovation and forward-thinking.

2Q2. Are management and leadership the same thing?

Managers and leaders are essentially not always the same. A good manager might not always be a good leader and vice versa. The primary difference between managers and leaders is that, while a manager is a professional who has people working for them, a leader is an individual who has people following them. A prosperous business owner is often a manager and a leader. They need to put together their own team and inspire them to follow them to reach their business goals. A good manager should be an able strategist and people-focused, while a good leader has a vision and excellent communication skills. They have a certain integrity and honesty that people admire and follow.

3Q3. What is meant by C-suite or C-level position?