How to Develop Leadership Skills to Succeed in the Workplace

Whether you’re a student, starting a career, or looking into recruitment services for a career change, having strong leadership skills will go a long way.

The further you go in your career field, the more important leadership skills will become. But, few people are natural born leaders. Those who don’t display a natural tendency towards leadership roles will need to develop their leadership skills.

Aspiring to become a good leader requires training and practice.

For those looking to develop and hone their leadership abilities, this is for you. The article below will outline how to develop leadership skills valued by employers and senior management alike.


1.Understand what it means to be a leader

More often than not, leadership is viewed as being an expert in one’s field or industry.

But. leadership is not just about being an expert in your industry. Being a leader is an all-encompassing trait that has an impact both in and outside of the workplace.

By its definition, a leader is someone who “leads or commands.” In the workplace, this means being an expert in resource and personnel management. Becoming an effective leader in the workplace means inspiring team performance.

As the workplace becomes more diverse and more globalized, the role of a leader will soon encompass one’s ability to build cultural and emotional intelligence. These “soft skills” will soon be cornerstones to inspire a diverse group of individuals working together to achieve the same goal.

2.Develop better communication skills

Undoubtedly, being a good leader means being able to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally.

Similarly, being a strong communicator means being a discerning listener. Knowing when to listen to ideas and suggestions will establish trust and enhance the information flow between team members.

If your communication or listening skills need work, there are several steps you could take to improve them. They include:

  • Taking public speaking courses
  • Paying attention to what you say
  • Actively listening to others
  • Keeping an open mind
  • Focusing on eliminating negative nonverbal cues or closed body language

3.Develop situational awareness

The ability to closely observe your surroundings and make detailed assessments is a valuable skill, and the mark of a great leader.

The ability to see the bigger picture and avoid potential problems in the workplace is crucial to recognizing opportunities in the workplace. This will prove essential when dealing with complex projects with a tight deadline or problems with team members.

4.Learn to follow

Leaders do not always necessarily lead from the front. At times, being an effective leader means knowing when to yield control.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Being a formidable leader means knowing when your weakness will hinder the success and performance of the team. In such instances, admit your shortcomings and empower others to lead.

Don’t feel threatened when team members put forth good ideas or disagree with you.

By showing you respect and value everyone on your team, you engage their ability to think critically and inspire them to achieve success.

5.Keep learning

The key to being a good leader is to cultivate a desire to keep pursuing your own education.

In an ever-evolving work environment, those who fail to continuously learn, fail to lead. By making the time to pursue leadership education, you continue to challenge your skills and abilities, improving your ability to lead.

Besides signing up for leadership training programs, here are other ways to weave in time for learning:

  • Pursue feedback
  • Find a mentor
  • Observe other leaders in the workplace
  • Get reading
  • Volunteer
  • Mentor others
  • Establish a discipline of reflection

Stepping up to the next level

Everyone has the potential to be a leader. But, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to becoming an effective leader, there is also no single trait, characteristic, or quality that defines a good leader.

Whether you work in the mailroom or in a cubicle, leaders can come from any level of an organization.

Developing the skills needed to become a strong leader may take time, but with this guide in hand, you will soon be on your way to cultivating your leadership skills and finding your leadership role.


Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.


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