4 Easy to Learn Skills that Make for Great Leaders

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 10 May 2016 |

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leadership skillsBeing a good leader is a lot harder than it looks. The good news is that whether you are a student leader on campus working to affect change, a researcher leading a team that needs to work together, or a faculty department head trying to get things accomplished, there are many similar skills you will need to succeed—ones that we are going to go over.

Builds and Maintains Interpersonal Relationships

As pointed out in an article from Fast Company, great leaders don’t solely rely on their technical skills or subject matter expertise. It’s no doubt that these are important skills to have, but it’s also important to be able to build and maintain interpersonal relationships.

We spend the majority of our time at work and sometimes we see our colleagues more than our friends outside of work, so it’s important we develop good working relationships with these people that surround us. And that’s doubly important for people in a leadership position.

Now, that doesn’t mean your teammates and subordinates have to be your friends, but it helps if you can empathize with their situations and provide guidance to boost team morale during difficult times.

Pushes Themselves and Their Team

This doesn’t mean you need to be the first one to the office and the last one to leave, but it does mean you need to step up your game when it comes to your work ethic. For example, if you are a graduate student working on a project with your team, you can’t expect that someone else will do the majority of the work and you can sit back and relax.

As a leader, you have to take charge and push yourself to succeed, which will spill over to your team. Offer them encouragement. For example, if someone in the group is scared to present your work to a panel, push them to do it anyway—and help them along the way. Don’t let people on your team be afraid to try new things, and you can’t be afraid either.

Knows How to Delegate

Sometimes yes, it’s easier just to do something yourself. But when you’re the one in charge, you can’t always do that—and you shouldn’t. Otherwise, why bother having a team at all? A good leader knows that they need to delegate tasks to other people. 

For example, as a writer it can sometimes be difficult to edit my own work. I wrote it, so I might not see the typos or grammatical errors—no matter how many times I read through something. That’s why I rely on my teammates to help me edit my work. They can catch a mistake, point out something that I wouldn’t have even noticed, or provide a different perspective—and I appreciate that insight.

A good leader knows how to play up people’s strengths and uses them to help elevate the whole team. As Bill Gates once said, ““As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” You have to trust that the people around you can get the job done just as good, if not better than you can.

Recognizes the Work of Others

People don’t just work hard because they want to be noticed, but it sure is nice when you recognize their hard work. For example, if a staff member volunteers to pitch in while another employee is out of the office, it’s nice if you as a leader give them credit for stepping up—especially if they didn’t have to.

Additionally, a good leader knows that acknowledging the work of others helps to motivate them to keep it up. If someone only gets feedback when they do something wrong, how will they ever know when they do something right? A good leader knows that they need to recognize the work of others and give them credit and provide feedback in a constructive manner.

Conclusion

These are just some of the skills that make for great campus leaders. If you don’t currently have these skills, don’t panic. It takes time, practice and training to become a good leader.

To learn more about our training courses for campus leaders that want to improve upon their performance management skills, including interviewing, managing diverse teams and conducting performance evaluations, request a demo today.

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