Recent surveys have shown that some business leaders in the UK are lacking key management skills essential for businesses to develop in the way they want to.  Whilst leaders appear competent in technical skills, budgeting and financial management, they can sometimes fall short in planning, communication, performance management and people management.

In my experience, there is a business scenario in which employees strong in technical skills are sometimes promoted into roles that require people skills – the two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Investment targeted at the areas which are lacking in existing managers and planning training and recruitment of future leaders is the key to ensuring the ongoing success of businesses. Training in delegation and being encouraged to show initiative are two of the areas that are essential for those looking for a future promotion into a leadership role.

So what are the key areas needed to make a better leader?

Communication skills cannot be underestimated in my view.  A good leader will command the trust and understanding of the team by communicating often in a positive way and being clear about what is required.

Communication style may differ with each team member and a good leader will show genuine interest in feedback. One action that I would recommend is adopting an open door policy. As a new leader, it takes time to build the necessary trust and knowledge about the skills, motivation and personalities with the team and is available to them is a good start.

A good leader encourages creativity and openness and displays a passion for what they do.  Team members should be challenged to avoid demotivation and boredom and be praised with positive feedback when they do a good job.

A collaborative approach rather just telling the team what to do can get better results as can giving honest feedback (or team members will never know what they need to improve upon!). A strong leader will also request feedback from the team on themselves for the same reason.

Delegating is an important part of the job of leading a team.  If a leader cannot delegate they cannot possibly get everything done. The leader should identify and use the skills of each member of the team and delegate accordingly.

What makes a bad leader?

A leader who cannot accept the blame when something goes wrong is not taking on the responsibility of the leadership role and, in my experience, this does happen from time to time. Team members will lose respect in this scenario. Similarly, a leader who makes a promise and doesn’t follow through is another example of bad management. A lack of commitment and frequent negativity will not motivate or engage a team either.

If a leader doesn’t understand what motivates the team and shows no interest in doing so, the bottom line can be affected with staff feeling disengaged. Again, receiving feedback can help the leader in this situation.

Who in your own working life to date was a good leader and why?

Attributes such as a hands-on positive approach, being a good listener, moving on from mistakes and the ability to make decisions are some of the skills needed by our current and future leaders within a business. If you think about positive roles models in leadership roles in your own working life, this can be an excellent way to outline what skills and attributes a good worker needs to develop into a good leader.

Sometimes leadership does not come naturally and some support is needed if so why not read some of the blogs of some of my network to see if they might be the right fit.

Astrid Davies – Why Leaders invest in coaching

Incendo – Why I lead like a gardener (and maybe you should too)


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