The Eight Skills You Need For Success As A Leader

I have a coaching client who was promoted from a specialist engineer to the dizzy heights of team-lead without the company investing in the skills she needed to transition from specialist to leader.

Because her boss and company did not recognize that they were promoting her into a new profession and invest in her accordingly, their accomplishment was to turn a fine and capable engineer into a poor supervisor!

The difference:

  • Specialists use their skills and experience to create a product
  • Team leaders need management skills, a knack for problem-solving and the ability to plan and manage the work – NOT to do it!

So, what is a team leader’s skill set?

1 Balancing between leadership and management

These are two separate skills:

Leadership is communicating a common vision of a future state; gaining agreement; then, motivating others in a forward direction.

Management is results driven and getting the work done.

Your job as a good team leader will constantly switch from a leader to a manager as situations require.

2 Be a Team Builder and a Leader

The leader sets the “tone” of the team to lead them through the various team development phases to the point where they begin to perform.

Read about teams

3 Be a Problem Solver

Identify the possible “causes” that lead to the problem, then analyze possible options and alternatives, and determine the best course of action to take.

4 Be a Negotiator and Influencer

Negotiation is working with others to come to a joint agreement. To avoid power struggles, develop influencing skills. Influencing is the ability to get people to do things they may not do otherwise.

5 Be an Excellent Communicator

Being a communicator is a two-way street as. A good way to get a grip on managing the information comes and goes is to ask yourself the following questions: who needs this information? Who gathers and delivers it? When or how often do they need it? And, in what form?

Read about communicating

6 Be Organized

Think of what you need to organize; project documentation, contracts, emails, memo’s, reviews, meetings, etc. It’s almost impossible to stay organized without developing good time management skills.

7 Become a Planner

The skill of planning can’t be underestimated. There are known and logical steps in creating plans. You may well own your team’s plan, but others depend upon your success.

8 Manage Budgets

At the heart of this is the skill is managing the budget, particularly costs. You will need a knowledge of financial systems and accounting principles.

If you are new to team leadership, don’t be overwhelmed by all this. There are well-understood methodologies, tools, guidelines, and procedures to help you on your way to developing the life-skill of leadership.

The first thing you need to do is book time with your boss and ask what their performance objectives are; what does he need you to do to help them be successful; and, then what professional development do you require to be successful.

Read about partnering with your boss