Leadership doesn’t happen once you are promoted to a management role. It takes vision, great communication skills, and the ability to inspire and motivate a team. To earn the title of leader requires skills in all these areas, and you certainly don’t need to be a manager to be a leader within your organization. Here are a few areas you can focus on to put those skills to good use whether you are in the C-suite or just starting your journey up the ladder.

Key Leadership Skills

First and foremost, communication skills are critical to being an effective manager. You need to be able to communicate clearly and persuasively with your staff as well as your senior management, clients, and other key stakeholders. Your ability to influence opinion, motivate your team, and generally get things done is as important to your skills as a manager as doing the work itself. Managing others and making good decisions based on project management and an understanding of overarching business goals help make your work as a manager more effective and supportive of your team.

Working Well With Different Personalities

Teamwork is impacted by a wide range of interactions and variables. Great team players make great leaders. They want to work well with different personalities and help everyone to achieve their goals, together. Being able to interact with various personalities on your team is very useful. Communication style is a direct influence on how a person can be persuaded or motivated. Identifying communication styles and understanding how a personality can impact your daily interactions will help make managing individuals that much more effective and easier in the long run. You may be familiar with these team members and their personalities as a former team member yourself, but don’t overlook the importance of those factors when it comes to managing them as a group.

Thoughtful Leadership Practices

It might come as a surprise, but being the boss doesn’t give you the power you might think. Managers are often charged with balancing the needs of their staff with those of a project, client, and high-level business strategy. Great leaders inspire their workers, and great leadership can be found anywhere in the organizational chart. Thoughtful leaders have a clear vision of what direction they want to take their team and a good understanding of what it takes to get there. They are open to receiving feedback from their teammates (both above and below them on the corporate ladder), listening to concerns and doing what they can to resolve issues.

True leaders teach and inspire rather than direct their staff. So take the opportunity to share your knowledge with anyone who can benefit from your experience. Be a teacher, be a coach, be a mentor and you will find yourself being a leader, even if you’re not quite ready to be the manager.

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