In order for a business to be successful, it is critical that it implements an effective leadership development strategy. Indeed, within any organisation, the managers should be competent, inspire confidence and set the standard for their team. Ultimately, without strong leadership, it is impossible to achieve peak performance.
With this in mind, we take a closer look at five of the most essential leadership skills for managers to develop.
1. Ability to Motivate
Perhaps the single most important skill a leader must have is the ability to motivate others, and this is why leadership training programmes should place a strong emphasis on motivational strategies. If you cannot inspire other people to work hard and push for results, you will simply fail as a leader.
However, motivation means more than just giving the occasional inspiring team talk. You must foster strong relationships with your team, provide the right incentives, make sure team members feel valued and leverage their own individual qualities, so that they feel willing and able to go the extra mile.
2. Maintaining Integrity
Another important trait shared by all good leaders is integrity. In fact, according to research carried out by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman on behalf of the Harvard Business Review, other leaders rank it as the second most important characteristic for those in management positions to possess.
Integrity and honesty is highly valued by staff members and is essential if you are to gain their respect. You must do what you say you are going to do, avoid telling lies, stand up for what you believe in and be willing to speak out when necessary. You should also avoid misleading people or blaming others for your mistakes.
3. Calmness Under Pressure
Any leader is inevitably going to experience times when things go wrong, results look uncertain, or deadlines look like they may be missed. However, in these times, it is vital that you do not capitulate under pressure. Instead, you need to have confidence in yourself and your team, and try to maintain composure at all times.
“What makes a good leader is the ability to stay calm and in control,” explains Brian Tracy, a sales training expert and the author of the book The Psychology of Achievement. “When you exude confidence in yourself, in the decision, and in the people around you, you instill the same feelings and attitudes in others.”
4. Long-Term Thinking
The business world is extremely results-orientated and this can sometimes encourage short-term thinking, as leaders concern themselves only with meeting the next deadline or meeting their next financial target. Truly great managers, on the other hand, are able to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Long-term decisions are more difficult to make, because they may not pay off instantly. Nevertheless, leadership requires vision and a strong manager is able to make smart decisions and stay the course, with confidence that the eventual pay off will be far greater than if they had implemented another short-term fix.
5. Leading By Example
Finally, the ability to lead by example is paramount. As a manager, you are the role model to your team, so you should be the employee you want to see in the workplace. Avoid emotional outbursts or erratic behaviour, set a high standard of work for employees to match and earn the trust of your subordinates.
Think about the way you dress, the way you conduct yourself, the type of work you do and consider how it makes you look in the eyes of others. A good manager is happy to take initiative and knows when to get their own hands dirty in order to establish credibility and positively shape the behaviour of others.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director for MHI Global (formerly AchieveGlobal), a global sales training and leadership development company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales management courses and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership development training.