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The Most Important Leadership Skills to Look for in Potential Managers

Almost anyone can be put into a managerial role within an organization whether they have the experience or not. Many companies have a “promote from within” policy that is set on creating leaders that come up the ranks.

The problem with this philosophy is that many people make it to a leadership position without understanding the soft skills that can make them successful. Putting the right people in the right positions requires you to look at the various leadership skills they may or may not have.

Wondering what the most important leadership skills are? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Leadership Skills?

Leadership skills are various traits that should be had or learned by managers that will help them to successfully lead a team. These are considered soft skills because they have more to do with personality than the ability to complete a task.

These skills are what the experts say makes a great leader not just in the short term but for the long haul. Many studies have shown that leadership skills are not necessarily something people are born with but are learned skills that just about anyone can acquire.

Why Are Leadership Skills Important to Look for in Potential Managers?

In many companies, it is believed that if you work consistently within the business for some time you have what it takes to be a great leader. This is not always the case, however, since leadership also involves certain skills.

Since most people are not born with leadership skills, it is important to either teach them or encourage employees to learn on their own. Having certain skills can translate into being able to lead a team of employees to success.

When it comes to relating with other employees, a great leader needs to be able to handle conflicts that may arise from time to time. Through various leadership skills, managers can effectively guide employees in the right direction.

A man teaches a class of adult students.
It’s important any potential manager has the leadership skills necessary to be successful. 

What Makes a Good Leader?

Good leaders are those who are willing and able to strive for greatness in all aspects of their lives both personally and professionally. This means that they are willing to do whatever it takes to learn new skills that are needed.

A good leader cannot only communicate with employees but also inspire them to want to become better at their jobs. Great managers do not lead from the front and dictate, but they are often found in the trenches motivating others along the way.

The Most Important Leadership Skills to Look for in Potential Managers

Throughout your career, you have likely encountered many different types of managers along the way. Some of these leaders have likely been great role models, and others may have been your worst nightmare.

While most people bring to the table their own set of skills and personality traits, some soft skills are essential for successful leadership. Along with these skills, experts also believe that there are certain actions you can take to become the best manager you can be.

Here are 10 of the most important leadership skills you should look for in potential managers for your company:

1. Effective communication skills

Although most people can communicate when they need to about various aspects of their job, many cannot take it further than that. Effective communication skills are the cornerstone of being a great manager.

Daily, managers are required to communicate with customers and employees concerning various issues. Whether there is a problem or not, being able to communicate can make the difference between motivating employees and bringing morale down within the organization.

2. Decision-Making skills

Managers are often in the position of making hundreds of decisions daily, sometimes at the last minute. Because of this, good decision-making skills are a must when looking for a potential manager.

While the hope is that things within a company will run smoothly, this is not always the case and managers are the ones who have to pivot to make things happen. This is why a good manager should have the ability to make decisions and stand by them at the drop of a hat.

3. Dependability

If you ask most business owners or upper management what makes a good leader, they will likely include dependability. This is because more than any other position within the company, you need to be able to depend on your leaders.

Dependability can mean a wide variety of things from showing up to work when they are supposed to be there to being able to rely on them to get things done promptly. Great leaders are ones that you can depend on to get things done and done right.

4. Coaching Ability

One of the most important skills that a great leader should have is the ability to not just train other employees, but to become their coach. Training someone for a position within the company is all great and good, however, most employees need to be encouraged along the way.

Coaching employees does not necessarily mean that you do not trust them to do their jobs, but should be viewed as continuous training that will hone their skills. Just like a sports coach does not just teach a player one time, but they continue to teach them along the way.

5. Integrity

While this leadership skill may seem like a given, many do not hold onto their integrity skills as they move up the corporate ladder. Integrity, while it is a skill many people either have or don’t have, can be learned if the person is motivated.

Integrity is doing the right thing at all times, even if no one else is watching. This means that a good leader leads by example and makes decisions that are best for both the company and the employees at all times.

6. Delegation skills

Being able to delegate tasks to other people is where many leaders begin to struggle because they often think that no one can do the job as well as they can. This is often due to the Type A personality traits that got them to a leadership position in the first place.

However, being an effective leader means that you are not doing the work all by yourself but are training others to learn the job as well. The sign of a great leader is being able to let things go and let others learn skills that may someday make them a leader as well.

7. Motivation skills

Similar to having the ability to coach employees along the way, it is also important for good leaders to be able to motivate their workers. This is because it is only through collaboration and teamwork that a company is successful.

Taking the time to motivate employees to work together through various team-building activities can not only help the company but can raise overall morale. This can include planning activities that are focused on relationships such as cookouts, fun runs, and more.

8. Flexibility & Adaptability

In a world that is ever-changing, leaders must stay on top of the changes not only within the industry but also in their leadership abilities. This means being flexible to allow change to happen and being able to adapt to these changes are important leadership skills to have.

Not every day goes as planned and because of this, managers need to be able to apply cutting-edge solutions to keep morale high, while at the same time solving the problems at hand. Good leaders often have the mindset of how can this be done differently or more effectively.

9. Problem Solving Skills

In many businesses, problems can arise at a moment’s notice and often need to be resolved quickly. This is why having innovative problem-solving skills is one of the key features of a great leader.

Whether the problem is with an employee, customer, or even a scheduling conflict, leaders need to be able to solve the issue with confidence. This means making a decision and then sticking to it.

10. Authenticity

One of the barriers that often get in the way of a good leader is the doubts that often creep in that say they are not doing a good job. The feeling of being an imposter can occur if you are new to the leadership role and have not found your footing completely.

A great leader is authentic and transparent in the things that they do, even if it causes them to feel uncomfortable. While it may cause some doubts to arise, being your authentic self is better than trying to be someone you are not. 

Ways to Develop Better Leadership Skills

While many of the above skills have to do with a personality more than skills related to the industry itself, many people wonder how they can hone them. Most experts will agree that these leadership skills can be learned by doing just a few of the following daily.

1. Read books on leadership

One of the best ways to learn to be a great leader is to read books written by great leaders. Once you learn what they have to say, you will see that they were once in the trenches learning the job just like you.

2. Listen to podcasts

With today’s technology, there are many ways to listen to podcasts with your mobile devices anywhere you are. Many experts in the field of leadership have daily or at least weekly podcasts that you can listen to learn or improve your leadership skills.

3. Talk to other leaders

Along the same lines as reading and listening to experts in the leadership field, talking to other managers and leaders can also be helpful. Most likely, within your organization, there are other leaders that you can call on to help you with your managerial skills.

4. Take courses on leadership

Whether you enroll in college courses or take continuing education classes, you can learn leadership skills along the way. With the advancement of technology, you can take classes on just about anything, including leadership.

5. Join leadership groups

Oftentimes, within communities and online communities, there are a plethora of options available for you to collaborate with other leaders. Many groups exist where leaders are helping other leaders get better at what they do.

Two people look at a paper and make notes.
There are many different ways to show your leadership skills. 

How Do You Show Your Leadership Skills When Applying and Interviewing?

Many people wonder how they can show these leadership skills when they are applying and interviewing for a new position. Since these skills are often only seen during the job, it may be difficult to show them while you are applying or interviewing.

Here are a few tips that you can follow for each aspect of the hiring process:

  • On your resume

Many experts suggest that you have a section on your resume that allows you to show your specific skills in leadership. Keep in mind that this is a place to brag about yourself so don’t be afraid to show off your skills.

  • On your cover letter

The cover letter is another great place to showcase your skills in leadership by saying things that you may not have been able to include in your resume. This includes leadership roles you have taken on and how that has helped you to become a better manager.

  • During your interview

When you are interviewing for a management position, it is important to act like a manager. This means that you should assert yourself and answer the questions with your leadership skills in mind. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself and your leadership abilities.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Good Leader?

Knowing the various leadership skills, it takes to become a successful manager can not only help if you are seeking a management position but also if you are looking to hire effective managers. Every leader should embrace not only the leadership skills but also the changes that often happen daily.

If you want to be an effective manager or want to hire great leaders, you should stay abreast of what is happening not only in your industry but also in management itself. This means seeking out new knowledge and understanding certain trends that can help bring your company to the modern era.

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