Regarding leadership and management, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. It is important to understand that leadership is essential to effective management.
Leadership is the potential to influence and direct a team's efforts to achieve goals. This influence may come from traditional sources, such as that provided by obtaining a management position in the organization.
Managers must possess the qualities of a leader. That is, they must have leadership
qualities. Leaders develop and initiate strategies to build and maintain competitive advantage. Organizations require strong leadership and management to achieve optimal organizational efficiency.
Why are Leadership and Management Skills Important?
Many of the expenses of having ineffective leaders vary from one company to another and are intangible. How would your company's sales have increased, for instance, if only your management had been better strategic thinkers or the right kind of mentors to bring out hidden talent?
In employee engagement surveys, employee perceptions of managers rose as the main factor, accounting for 70% of differences in business unit cohesion. Since engagement affects everything from productivity to sales rates, companies should be mindful of this.
However, few companies pay due attention to their management practices. Grovo found that 98% of managers believe their company's managers need more training in everything from strategic thinking to conflict resolution; 87% say they want more leadership training. Perhaps most importantly, 98% of respondents also said they believed KPIs such as employee retention and revenue would improve with increased training.
Thus, it becomes vital for an organization's employees to know what skills a good leader or manager must possess.
Essential Skills for Frontline Leaders
While technical skills are critical for individual contributors, success as a leader often requires a solid set of soft skills.
Here are the top seven leadership skills for today's workforce. You can use this list of manager skills when thinking about the need to improve your organization or professionalism.
- Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and control one’s emotions, read and respond appropriately to others’ emotions, and manage relationships—sounds simple. A report by Harvard Business Review says it accounts for nearly 90% of what makes great entrepreneurs distinctive.
- Communication skills: A strong leader effectively communicates their idea to the whole team. However, it is essential for them to appropriately adapt their communication styles to suit a variety of situations, often across cultures and generations.
- Delegation: No one can do everything. Managers who are difficult to delegate may find it challenging to achieve departmental productivity goals and deliver the highest quality work. But more importantly, they can also frustrate your employees. Effective managers identify the right team members to handle specific tasks and ensure they have the knowledge and tools to complete the job.
- Motivate others: A motivated team is an effective team. But motivation is highly personal. Frontline leaders can identify what motivates each team member—an opportunity for growth or simple recognition—and use that knowledge to keep them motivated at work. They also understand that treating employees respectfully and somewhat is a powerful motivator.
- Strategic thinking: Today's market quickly shifts its attention from customer need to technology. Managers must think strategically and see the broad picture to lead their teams to success. In this context, strategic thinking refers to the ability to assess a situation, set appropriate goals, and devise a plan to reach those goals. With the ability to adapt to shifting circumstances, strategic thinkers may demonstrate value to their teams and leadership.
- Integrity: No one likes to be mistreated; if employees feel they are not respected or trusted by their managers, they will leave quickly. On the other hand, leaders who act with integrity and prioritize fairness and honesty create an environment of trust in their teams.
- Flexibility: As the pandemic has demonstrated, unexpected conditions can change how we work at any time. Strong leaders can quickly assess new challenges and pivot as needed, even when uncomfortable. Agile managers understand that work and processes can constantly be improved and don't cling to specific ways of doing things just to do it.
Outstanding leadership depends on the complex interplay between the manager's skills and the environment, but it doesn't emerge independently. Companies that want to increase profitability and build employee engagement should first consider how to train their managers. If they don't provide comprehensive leadership training and support to new and existing managers, they miss out on a significant opportunity to improve their company culture.