Strong, capable leaders are vital for the survival and growth of any organisation.

Below are 4 must-have skills for successful and powerful leadership:

1. Effective communication

It is a leader’s obligation to develop a vision and lead the process of defining company and team goals and a strategy for achieving them. But vision and strategy are meaningless unless everyone in the business understands them, and their role in making them happen. So, leaders must communicate their message to the team in a way that engages, motivates and inspires. To be successful leaders must master all forms of communication, including off and online, one-to-one, group presentations, phone, email and social media. Great leaders understand the power of words and actions for motivating others to accomplish excellent results. With effective communication comes effective listening and open conversations with team members. Great leaders welcome feedback and free flow of ideas and contributions.

2. Confidence

According to Inc, ‘without confidence, there is no leadership.’ Confidence is the fundamental ingredient of successful leadership. Confident leaders cultivate trust and can be relied upon to handle decision-making. Confident leaders exhibit behaviour that instills belief in their followers. Confident leaders are able to express vulnerability, to admit when they don’t know the answer, which encourages openness and trust in others. Leaders lacking in confidence can tend to overcompensate by micro-managing, being over-controlling and even bullying to hide their inner anxiety. Such leaders are prone to making catastrophic mistakes and tend to be unpopular with their team and peers, undermining employee engagement and commitment.

3. Trustworthiness

Regardless of how competent you are as a leader, if you cannot cultivate trust, you won’t get very far. It’s vital that a leader is seen as trustworthy by all those around them. Trustworthiness is how you gain commitment and loyalty from your team, it’s how you motivate people to support you in achieving your goals. With trust comes a positive working environment, improved communication, innovation, creativity and productivity. Those who trust you will be more willing to embrace change and your vision. An untrustworthy leader cannot inspire and influence. Determining to what degree you are a trustworthy leader requires self-reflection and self-awareness. Look inwardly, don’t be afraid to show vulnerability and assess any necessary adaptations to your approach.

4. Empathy

Leadership is about motivating and developing others to fulfil their potential and driving the organisation towards a prosperous future. It’s not simply about exerting power and authority. As a leader your central role is empowering others to be the best they can be. Empathy is how leaders make their team feel valued, it helps to create strong working relationships that fuel high performance and results. If team members feel appreciated and heard, you will see enhancements in productivity, creativity and performance. Leaders must make the well-being and happiness of their people a priority, it’s about placing the needs of others above your own. As Simon Sinek states in his book ‘Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t’ (Penguin, 2014) ‘True leadership is about empowering others to achieve things they didn’t think possible. Exceptional organisations prioritise the well-being of their people and, in return, their people give everything they’ve got to protect and advance the well-being of one another and the organisation.’

Leaders who possess these skills are more successful at inspiring others to take action. They make an impact and develop healthy working environments that thrive on team collaboration and creativity.

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