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Top Five Skills You’ll Need to Become an Effective Leader (And How to Develop Them)


Being a great leader means so much more than just talking the talk and being inspirational. In the business world, leaders don’t even need to be all that charismatic. What they need to be is smart, level-headed, and good at managing people. The good news for everyone is that those skills can be taught and developed, meaning anyone can be a great leader if they set their mind to it and start investing in these top five skills.

Organizational and Management Skills

As a business leader, it’s essential to have strong organizational and management skills. To achieve success, you need to effectively manage your team, delegate tasks, and ensure everyone is working towards common goals. Obtaining a degree in management, business administration, or a related field is one of the best ways to acquire these skills. Through these programs, you’ll learn vital leadership, communication, decision-making, project management, and operations management skills.

Keep in mind there are several different options to choose from. Take the MBA and the MAOL, for example. They are very similar, but by understanding the MBA vs MAOL differences, you can pick out which degree focus best benefits your career. MBAs, after all, focus on business disciplines, while MAOLs focus on people management and the human side of organizations.

Communication Skills

One essential skill for a leader is effective communication. It involves clearly conveying your vision, goals, and expectations to your team, stakeholders, and customers. It also includes active listening, giving feedback, and handling challenging conversations with empathy and sensitivity. To improve your communication skills, consider taking public speaking classes, attending workshops, and practicing your writing and presentation skills.

Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as those of others, is a valuable skill that can greatly benefit anyone, especially leaders. This ability helps to foster strong relationships with team members and create a positive work environment. You can improve your emotional intelligence by focusing on self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy, and social skills. It’s also helpful to seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or coaches to develop your emotional intelligence further.

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

There will be disaster after disaster as a leader, and it’s up to you to determine how best to solve that problem and make the most of it. Not only do you need a cool head, you need expert problem-solving and decision-making skills. While you can develop the skills themselves, sometimes the best way forward is to look back. Read up on reports of how other companies have tackled key problems in their industry and come up from the issue smelling like roses, and remember: you’re not in it alone! Workshop ideas with everyone in your company. You never know when a new perspective can shake things up.

Strategic Thinking Skills

While a leader does have to manage day-to-day operations, they also need to see the big picture to make active plans for the future. That skill is strategic thinking. You need to not only be able to notice and identify trends as they emerge, but you need to take a proactive approach by learning and following along with what the industry leaders are saying, so you can take a proactive approach and hopefully avoid problems before they become known.

You can develop your strategic thinking skills by staying up-to-date on industry trends, analyzing market data, and studying your competition. You can also practice scenario planning and other strategic tools to develop your strategic thinking abilities.

Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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