Many job listings list “strong leadership qualities” as one of the primary desired skills in a new hire, but many employees feel lost as to how they should develop these when they’ve never held a supervisory role. Although being in a high-level position does help someone continually refine their leadership abilities, the characteristics of a good leader can be cultivated by anyone.

Building Your Leadership Skills

Exemplary communication is one of the most valued leadership skills; the ability to express opinions and ideas in an assertive but respectful manner is a challenge for many, especially those who are in a position that often requires a strong argument and “defensive” mindset.

Before anyone can learn to speak like a leader, they have to learn how to listen like one. Active listening involves directing one’s full attention to the conversation at hand; rather than pondering a response or interrupting with their own ideas, effective leaders give their full attention to a speaker and ask open questions that allow them to empathize and understand their perspective better.

This translates directly into stronger communication as the leader can express themselves more comfortably after establishing a strong rapport with their conversation partner. They may not always agree, but good leaders know how to remain calm in the face of disagreement. They welcome counterpoints and are willing to indulge alternative points of view in order to reach the most evidence-based and beneficial solution.

Benefitting From Responsibility

Even if someone only has what they consider to be a “menial” job, their responsibilities matter. How they perceive their value will directly translate into their productivity level and desire to succeed. Leaders know that not every act has to be heroic or noteworthy; they focus on what assignments they’ve been given and perform them to the best of their ability, so their talent speaks for itself.

Learning how to collaborate and apply one’s skills in the most effective manner is a good way to cultivate leadership qualities. Although there may not always be opportunity to perform how one wants, there is always a way to utilize one’s skill set and create an impact through dedication and sincerity.

Leadership skills take time to shape, but everyone who is committed to becoming a stronger communicator, better team player and self-advocate has the ability to thrive.

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