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How to Improve Your Leadership Skills in the Workplace

Workplaces can be very dynamic, complex environments. Everyone juggles multiple projects and tasks, meetings, and deadlines. As such, it is vital to have a strong leader to ensure every team member can take advantage of available resources when reaching deadlines. Whether you have recently been placed into a management position or are a seasoned professional working with new hires or business expansion, you can learn new ways to improve your leadership skills.

Key Qualities of Successful Leaders

Several essential leadership skills are needed when interacting with employees and clients, managing projects, and completing tasks. Many of these qualities are considered soft skills. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that can be used company-wide when creating workplace relationships with team members and customers. Some examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication Skills: Communication skills are vital for a good leader as they must give information and guidance clearly and concisely. They must be effective communicators when delegating tasks, resolving conflict, speaking with clients, and meeting with stakeholders.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is how you perceive, process, and express emotions. You manage both your emotions while understanding the feelings of others, such as showing empathy or having motivation and self-awareness.
  • Decision-Making Abilities: Decision-making abilities involve determining solutions to overcome problems. These abilities can include problem-solving, reasoning, and creative skills used to analyze a problem and devise the best course of action to take in a timely fashion.
  • Adaptability and Resilience: A leader must have adaptability and resilience when facing a sudden change or a difficult situation. Adaptability means that they can easily find alternative solutions to fluctuating issues. In contrast, resilience means you can bounce back from setbacks and continue pushing forward positive outcomes.
  • Emphasis on Growth and Development: Growth and development involves seeking out opportunities for professional development. Whether taking a virtual leadership program, mentorship, coaching, or shadowing, you will want to find options to develop your skills and become a better leader.

Transitioning Into a Leadership Role

Suppose you are an employee who finds themselves moving up the corporate ladder. You may be worried about transitioning into a leadership role. For example, whether it is managing a department or a project, you may find yourself experiencing new challenges when supervising others. You will need to be aware of several things in your new role.

Overcoming Challenges

Challenges can come in many forms when transitioning to a leader. You have to know what projects are taking place, the progress of the projects, and what issues team members are facing. You may also have to deal with a workplace culture that is unfamiliar and uneasy regarding the changes you are implementing under your leadership role. Depending on the challenges, you must find solutions to overcome them. Perhaps you will provide the necessary resources to meet project deadlines or hold meetings to communicate and listen to employees regarding upcoming changes.

Embracing Mindset Shifts

You must shift mental gears when moving from an employee to a managerial role. Instead of doing the project yourself, you are now managing the people performing the work. Those team members must also shift their mindsets about you from being an employee to their boss.

Embrace how everyone's mindset changes due to your new position. Be sure to provide details and clarity about your new role and reiterate their support in various projects. This tactic can bring peace of mind that it will be a smooth transition.

Six Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Improving your leadership skills is essential if you’re considering a managerial role or mentoring others. Here are six strategies for improvement in the workplace:

1. Promoting Clear Communication

Many issues in the workplace are a result of miscommunication. A leader must communicate clearly to remedy issues surrounding deadlines, deliverables, and job roles. Clear communication about the company’s vision and motivations can help employees be on the same page about the work that needs to be completed. You should communicate clearly in every way you speak with employees, whether face-to-face, during Zoom meetings, over the phone, or through email. Keeping your team informed about project updates, fostering strong relationships, and dedicating time to meet one-on-one can also help build trust with your team.

You want to provide transparency regarding your work expectations of team members. In addition to communicating, you also want to be an active listener. You want to engage in conversations and hear what your team has to say, then act appropriately to address concerns.

2. Nurturing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is being aware of others' emotions, showing empathy, and understanding your own. It is an important tool for a good leader, as they can show emotional maturity toward work situations. Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-confidence, empathy, and relationship management. This skill allows you to use emotion dynamically to better relate to employees, show concern to customers, and manage emotions during stressful situations.

3. Mastering Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

Managing employees and projects requires making a host of decisions. From setting deadlines to handling disputes, an effective leader must analyze complex situations, gather information, and make well-informed decisions aligned with business goals. You often have to strike a balance between using data, intuition, and creativity to overcome obstacles. When you have mastered these skills, you can make the right decisions 

quickly when necessary, and your team will feel confident that you can handle any obstacle or risk.

4. Fostering a Collaborative and Inclusive Work Environment

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace can create positive benefits for the company. It allows people with varying perspectives and opinions to bring their creativity and knowledge to team projects, bringing new ideas on completing tasks and overcoming challenges. Some best practices in creating a collaborative workplace are to align hiring and retention policies toward bringing in more diverse talent. Then, you can build high-performing teams using your delegation skills that can benefit the workplace.

5. Leading with Resilience and Adaptability

Business changes and economic uncertainty can make for a stressful working environment. Team members need a strong leader who can adapt quickly, is resilient, bounces back from adversity, and promptly implements solutions that keep projects on track. Having resilience as a core competency allows you to become an effective leader who is flexible to situations and can make sound decisions that help with company growth.

6. Continuous Professional Development

When seeking out how to grow as a leader, a good way is to pursue professional development. Professional development allows you to learn new skills and technologies that can further your career. By learning your leadership style, you can better connect and collaborate with your team members to become a productive and cohesive group designed always to reach goals and succeed.

Taking the Next Steps Toward Leadership Excellence

Some people are natural-born leaders. Others grow into the role and acquire the skills they need to manage the workplace. Whichever group you are in, you can learn and hone new leadership skills that can positively impact your career. With the eSpelman online certificate in Leading Self, Leading Others, you can develop leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills, nurture emotional intelligence, and other skills to become an exceptional leader in a dynamic and diverse workplace environment.

Reach your professional career goals by participating in this online certificate program that eSpelman, Spelman College’s online enterprise, offers. Contact us today to learn more.