Leadership is the interactions and influencing forces that a person influences on another person or group of people. Leadership is sometimes defined as the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Shaver, 2014). Leadership comes in many styles, from the laissez-faire leader to the democratic leader, to the autocratic leader (Chand, n.d.). Leaders can be divided into types, such as transactional leaders or transformational leaders (Ingram, 2019). Leaders exhibit many varying qualities and traits, as well as skills. While traits may be a part of who a person is, a skill is something that the person can learn. Three leadership skills that are needed for organizational success are effective communication, decision making, and strategic planning skills.
Effective communication skills are the paramount skills for a leader to have. This includes nonverbal communication and verbal communication as well as interpersonal skills. Active listening is a core part of effective communication for a leader, as it builds trust, enables conflict resolution, and encourages honesty (MasterClass, 2020). Emotional intelligence and empathy are also important pieces of this, as they help leaders to be receptive and wise in communication, allowing a strong connection to be built (Koopmann-Schmidt, 2020). Since effective communication builds trust, inspires team members, and allows the leader to be clearly understood, it is a necessary skill for leaders (Landry, 2019).
Decision-making skills are skills that help a leader move forward, make less mistakes, and navigate risk. A strong decision maker will be able to analyze a situation and anticipate outcomes, then decide and act. Clear and strong decisiveness is a common characteristic of a good leader, so it should be developed as a skill. Good decision-making skills will help a leader move quickly and proceed without getting stalled (Kase, 2010).
Strategic planning skills are also essential leadership skills. The ability of a good leader to analyze a situation, think critically, set goals, problem solve, and make a logical plan is what business demands today. A strategic leader thinks about the “what if” questions (Finkle, 2020), planning the moves like a game of chess. According to professional coach Ben Brearley, planning skills help leaders set clear expectations, determine how to position resources, reduces uncertainty, and helps leaders hold people accountable (Brearley, 2018). Leaders that can stay organized and plan effectively are respected because they are able to execute on strategic ideas due to their planning abilities (Meier, n.d.).
Brearley, B. (2018, February). The Importance of Planning and Why Leaders Can’t Ignore It. https://www.thoughtfulleader.com/importance-of-planning/
Chand, S. (n.d.). 4 Different Types of Leadership Styles. https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/business-management/4-different-types-of-leadership-styles/2550
Finkle, L. (2020, March 27). Planning As A Leadership Skill. https://firstname.lastname@example.org/planning-as-a-leadership-skill-235e2764510f
Ingram, D. (2019, February 4). Transformational Leadership vs. Transactional Leadership Definition. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership-definition-13834.html
Kase, L. (2010). Great Leaders are Great Decision-Makers. https://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/10/great-leaders-are-great-decision-makers/
Koopmann-Schmidt, A. (2020, November 6). 3 ways Emotional Intelligence can help you to Communicate with Impact. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-ways-emotional-intelligence-can-help-you-impact-koopmann-schmidt/
Landry, L. (2019, November 14). 8 Essential Leadership Communication Skills. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/leadership-communication
MasterClass. (2020, November 8). How to Use Active Listening to Improve Your Communication Skills. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-active-listening-to-improve-your-communication-skills#how-to-be-a-better-active-listener
Meier, J.D. (n.d.). Leadership Skills for Making Things Happen. https://sourcesofinsight.com/leadership-skills-for-leading-implementation/
Shaver, E. (2014, January 8). The Many Definitions of Leadership. https://www.ericshaver.com/the-many-definitions-of-leadership/
Winterhalter, K. (2020, April 26). 5 Decision Making Skills for Successful Leaders. https://www.insightassessment.com/blog/5-decision-making-skills-for-successful-leaders