10 Vital Skills a Modern Leader Needs
As the workforce changes, so do leadership and management styles. At Front Line Leadership, we want your company to succeed which means employees that hold a management or leadership role may need to make adjustments to propel your organization into a brighter tomorrow. Below are 10 skills that we believe are essential to every leader.
1. Lead the Whole Person
Modern leaders are expected to have a high EQ (emotional intelligence) and AQ (adaptability). When you recognize that your employees and co-workers are “whole people” with ideas, feelings, struggles, and goals and their lives revolve around more than their job, you can lead them more effectively. Leading the whole person requires inspiring your team, supporting them, and maintaining a flexible work environment so that everyone succeeds.
2. Get in the Trenches
In order to lead well, you need to understand the work. Don’t be afraid to climb into the trenches and learn what your employees do. You build trust and respect with your employees when you show that you care about, and value, their job. Plus, when you get a closeup view, you may discover inefficiencies in the system or notice employees who go above and beyond.
3. Establish Open Communication
Open communication is a two-way street. As you address the challenges a hybrid-work environment causes and practice flexibility, you also encourage your team to be open. Recognize that protecting the mental health of your employees is critical to workplace longevity and effective output. Take care of your employees and establish a safe way for your employees to freely communicate what is and isn’t working for them.
4. Continually Learn
Leaders are learners. You cannot successfully lead others if you’re stuck in a “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality. The best way to push your organization and your employees towards innovation is to keep learning. Learn from other’s mistakes and their wins. Learn what makes a company successful, even if they aren’t in your same field. Lead in the example of continually learning, and you’ll challenge your team to keep learning as well.
5. Show Appreciation
Did you know that expressing gratitude and appreciation activates the regions in your brain associated with dopamine? This “feel-good” neurotransmitter helps you feel more positive while increasing another’s sense of value. Especially during virtual meetings, connecting with your team through positivity, and verbally recognizing a job well done, will motivate your employees and help meet their basic social and psychological needs.
6. Value Feedback
As you provide professional feedback to keep your team on track and push your organization towards greatness, also be willing to receive feedback. Become an active listener, paying close attention to your employees when they point out areas of improvement. Rather than letting pride prevent you from understanding, learn from others and make changes when possible. You will simultaneously boost morale, build trust, and raise the bar for your organization.
7. Refine Cross-Platform Communication
If your company is moving forward with a hybrid work environment, or if you have remote employees, there are multiple venues with which you communicate. The way you communicate, the language, the length of text, the formatting, and the context varies between platforms like video conferencing, texting, email, phone calls, and online collaboration tools such as Slack. To lead well in this day and age, become an expert at all of them. Learning to clearly communicate within every platform will reduce conflict and ensure your team is working toward the same goal.
8. Embrace Transparency
In 2021, there is a looming lack of trust in nearly all forms of leadership. To build trust within your team, you will need to embrace transparency. Don’t be afraid to share what you do as well as what you don’t know. Your employees will see right through a company line that leaves them in the dark. An inability to be transparent is one of the number one ways to drive your best employees away. Vulnerability hasn’t always been respected, but in today’s workforce, it’s a quality people want to see in leadership.
9. Be Flexible
As your employees continue to balance working from home, a perceptive leader will practice flexibility. Encourage a project deadline, and trust that your employees will get the work done, even if it’s during non-traditional work hours. Show your employees grace during this time, rather than setting demands. You can still expect much from your team while still showing flexibility when it comes to their personal needs.
10. Champion Employees
As you recognize your employees for their exceptional work, you might discover they are better suited for another role. Perhaps their skill set would be a valuable asset to another department, or they show the qualities your organization prizes in management. Rather than “talent hoarding” you can increase the growth of your entire company as well as the growth of the individual employee by letting them go. Champion your employees and give them every opportunity to succeed and in return, your organization will succeed.