After we looked at what qualities a leader should have in the first article on the topic of modern leadership qualities, we are now looking at the necessary skills.
The most important skills of a modern leader
Now that we’ve looked at what qualities a leader should have, let’s take a look at their skills. As mentioned above, these qualities can be acquired, further developed and perfected through training and coaching. As with qualities, there are actually no upper limits. At the same time, however, one should not succumb to any obsession to self-optimization and compulsively want to reach ever higher levels of development.
Skill #1: Make decisions and set (one’s own) priorities
Even if you, as a manager, delegate decisions to your team, employees will turn to the manager for the important questions. Therefore, being able to make decisions is one of the most important skills of leaders. If you have trouble committing yourself and standing by your decision, you are out of place in a leadership position, but it is not enough to make decisions alone. If there are numerous tasks to be mastered, additional priorities must be set. The ability to recognize which task has what level of urgency is therefore also very important. This includes initiating changes and deciding which projects to start with, which employees to win over for the change and what time is needed to achieve initial successes. Together with a suitable error and learning culture, good managers enable their team to try out new things and generate new ideas from the mistakes. Successful leaders also take enough time for their own time and self-management. A clear daily and/or weekly structure and personal to-do lists support the role model function. It is also important to plan the necessary time to be there for the team.
Skill #2: Set transparent goals and communicate them clearly
In order to use resources correctly and work well, it is important for employees to have a clear goal in mind. The manager must therefore set sales, project or behavioral goals and communicate them clearly. Goals are best formulated SMART: specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, time bound. Successful leaders make decisions in such a way that the team can easily understand how that decision was made. In the team, clarity and transparency make even negative decisions easier to accept. Good leaders do not require any empty phrases or communicative no-goes. Instead, they choose precise words, listen actively, and think carefully about what message they want to communicate. Nowadays, it is necessary to be well positioned in all communication channels: whether by video call, in a personal conversation or by e-mail.
Skill #3: Develop strategies for achieving goals
Setting goals and communicating clearly is one thing, the path to the goal is another. One of the top skills as a manager is therefore to develop measures and strategies together with the team in order to achieve the set goals. When employees are involved, not only is their valuable expertise used, but employees are also more likely to support the chosen strategy.
Skill #4: Delegate tasks
Achieving the set goals in the required time is hardly something that a manager can achieve alone. Therefore, it is advisable to delegate certain tasks to the team. It’s not just black or white. Even if tasks are delegated, managers can request information or ask for regular consultations.
Skill #5: Employee motivation
One of the important social skills of managers is the motivation of the team. After all, motivated employees work more effectively. In order to increase motivation, the manager should, for example, ensure a good working atmosphere. This starts with well-functioning tools, but also includes appreciating your team’s achievements. Managers who trust their employees also provide a higher level of motivation.
Skill #6: Recognizing and resolving conflicts
Since different people and characters meet in a team, there is always a certain potential for conflict. Conflicts can be carried out openly or covertly. Therefore, the manager should be able to recognize the emergence of conflicts at an early stage, to take countermeasures and, if necessary, to constructively resolve existing conflicts.
Skill #7: Distribute recognition and criticism
As already mentioned under the “Motivation” section, it is important to appreciate the performance of employees. Recognition in front of colleagues not only increases the motivation and performance of the praised employee, but also stimulates the self-motivation of the other colleagues to perform accordingly. In everyday life, sincere recognition is unfortunately all too often forgotten, but usually leaves lasting Wirkung.Im In contrast to recognition, managers should not express criticism of their employees in front of an assembled group. In this case, a one-on-one conversation is recommended, in which a joint attempt is made to find a solution. In principle, it is advisable for managers to regularly exchange ideas and establish constructive feedback that helps employees to develop further.
Skill #8: Recognizing the skills and motives of your employees
Another important skill of managers should be to recognize the skills and motives of their own employees and to promote them. In this way, employees can be deployed in a goal-oriented manner and the best possible profit is achieved for both sides. A good leader ensures that employees are deployed where they can be most successful.
Skill #9: Develop Networks
Developing networks is generally important in professional life and managers in particular should have this ability. Good networks help to obtain information more quickly, to be involved in decisions or appointments at an early stage and thus to be able to play a formative role.
You may rightly ask yourself: How am I supposed to meet all these requirements? Don’t be too dogged and don’t expect too much from yourself. It is best to identify for yourself which skill you see the greatest need for development and which topic you would like to address next in small steps. Set realistic goals and don’t judge yourself if you don’t achieve success quite as quickly as you would have liked. In any case, it is helpful not to walk the path alone. Coaching can help you sharpen your self-reflection, break down old behaviors and build new behaviors. Tiba Coaching GmbH will also be offering a new training program for managers from 2023, which will teach leadership skills for New Work. The program focuses on a modern attitude towards leadership, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and your role as a leader in change processes. Finally, the importance of resilience is also highlighted, as a healthy use of your resources and those of your employees is important.