No matter the industry, there are many different hard and soft skills a leader should develop to be an effective and inspiring presence on their team. While some required skills will be field-specific, skills like managing your time, speaking publicly, motivating and listening apply to all leadership positions.
To help their fellow leaders hone the right capabilities, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members weighed in on the following question:
“What’s one skill you think more leaders should work on, and why?” How does this help them?
Here are the skills they recommend all leaders sharpen.
Many ‘leaders’ expect to be the captain of the ship and think that everyone should listen to them on the direction they should go. Effective leaders are the best listeners and are able to distill the insights from the experts on their team into a sound strategy that individually they would never be able to craft. This also creates better team buy-in towards the mission since the team was involved.” ~ Jared Shaner, Trellis.co
2. Being Self-Aware
“You cannot lead anyone until you learn to lead yourself.” When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can better control yourself and your emotions, which in turn teaches your team to do the same. Emotional intelligence is priceless — and it starts with us as leaders.” ~ Ryann Dowdy, Uncensored Consulting, LLC
3. Public Speaking
If your goal is to improve your hard skills, I suggest working on public speaking. Business owners and entrepreneurs spend a lot of time pitching their ideas to investors, building rapport with customers and engaging with their employees. If you’re not good at public speaking or communication in general, you may see slower growth compared to other brand leaders.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC
4. Making the Right Hire
“The people you hire for your company play a huge role in making your business a successful one. So, as a leader, you need to learn how to hire the right talent for your business, train them efficiently and make them strong assets for your company.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
“As a leader, you need to be able to adapt to different situations in the workplace. This means that you have to be able to work with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Adaptability is what separates leaders from followers. It can also help you improve your personal development and leadership skills.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
6. Managing Time
“I believe all leaders can improve their time management skills. We all spend much more time on day-to-day tasks than we should. If you’re like me, you could use that extra time for your side projects or spending time with friends and family. I use a process called time blocking to manage my schedule and reduce distractions, and it has helped tremendously.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
7. Managing Projects
“Most leaders could benefit from honing their hard skills, but there is one in particular that I think is important, and that’s project management. Being skilled at managing a team and their projects effectively can make a massive difference in the success of any organization. Effective project managers keep the team organized and on track, while quickly adapting to changes and setbacks.” ~ Richard Fong, Assured Standard
“One of the best hard skills for any leader is the ability to sell. A leader of any organization is its face and needs to be ready for the spotlight. While a lot of leaders are great at getting excited about their product or service, they rarely have the sales knowledge and expertise to properly sell — showing value, responding to objections and successfully closing that next prospect or investor.” ~ Alex Linebrink, Passage
“I think this skill gets lost when you think about other skills such as communication and accountability. Being motivational helps you become a better leader because when people know they can count on you as inspiration, they’ll be more confident in their jobs and be more productive as a result.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
10. Forecasting Financials
Many leaders are more emotional than rational, and they are prone to making impulsive decisions based on their current balance sheet. Instead, the best leaders are able to plan ahead and budget accordingly, which provides them with more runway when circumstances change.” ~ Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress