Career Development

How to Demonstrate Leadership Skills at Work

February 14, 2020

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Developing leadership skills can enable you to improve your performance in your current job and advance your career trajectory. With the right approach, you can establish your ability to lead in any role or industry. In this article, we discuss how to demonstrate leadership skills at work.

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What are leadership skills?

Leadership skills are the abilities that you use to guide coworkers toward successful outcomes with workplace objectives. Whether you are overseeing a company or managing a project, your leadership skills can inspire others to reach their shared goals. Some of the most common leadership skills include:

Read more: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

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How to demonstrate leadership skills in the workplace

Developed leadership skills can help you guide your team with confidence. Here are 11 ways to show leadership skills at work:

  1. Listen and learn
  2. Communicate clearly
  3. Do your best work
  4. Take responsibility
  5. Set a strong example
  6. Include everyone
  7. Strive for authenticity
  8. Become a thought leader
  9. Seek management training
  10. Make key connections
  11. Find a role model

1. Listen and learn

As a leader, you spend a lot of time communicating with your team. Part of this communication will include listening closely to those around you. Aim to remain receptive to others’ ideas and to learn from their approaches. Take all ideas into consideration as you make important decisions. You are more likely to earn the respect of others when you listen to and learn from them, which benefits everyone on the team.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Communicate clearly

When you adopt a leadership role, clarity becomes essential. Whether you are delegating tasks, exchanging ideas or reporting on results, convey your message as precisely as possible. Nonverbal communication can also help. Use eye contact, hand gestures and body language to emphasize key statements and give your message greater impact.

Read more: Nonverbal Communication Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Do your best work

As a leader, you should continually seek out ways to improve your skills and expand your experience. With this approach, you can showcase your ever-increasing capacity to grow. Striving to do your best in every situation also allows you to highlight your strong work ethic and your focus on excellence.

Read more: Tips to Demonstrate Work Ethic

4. Take responsibility

Taking responsibility for both successful outcomes and mistakes is a strong sign of leadership. To show leadership, be accountable for your contributions, even when they lead to poor results. Identify which systems could use improvement and spend time revising them. By demonstrating that you can accept praise and criticism equally, you demonstrate stability as a leader.

5. Set a strong example

When you undertake projects proactively and approach your work positively, you can motivate others to do the same. By setting a good example in the workplace, you can more easily lead colleagues toward a successful outcome. Aim to serve as a role model whether or not you have an audience. This method can help you improve your performance continuously so you will be better prepared to lead when necessary.

Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

6. Include everyone

Exercise your leadership skills by including your entire team in projects, meetings and key decisions. Strive to identify strengths, and embrace diversity to avoid limiting your growth. By opening yourself to new approaches and considering innovative viewpoints, you can build a more capable team in the process.

7. Strive for authenticity

Craft your own approach to leadership that incorporates your unique goals and vision. Start by identifying your core values. Consider what qualities you admire most, the type of corporate culture you want to encourage and the resources that help you do your best work. Think about your professional goals, what you want to accomplish in the workplace and how your team can contribute to something greater. Together, all of these factors can help you craft your own authentic leadership style.

Read more: Core Values: Overview and Examples

8. Become a thought leader

Demonstrate that you have a strategic vision by positioning yourself as a thought leader. Try reading about the cutting-edge developments in your industry and sharing them with colleagues or in professional settings. Add your own commentary and critiques to showcase your vision, and consider publishing your own forward-thinking pieces. Seek out opportunities to speak about your strategic vision at work to establish yourself as a thought leader.

Read more: Your Guide to Visionary Leadership

9. Seek management training

To show your commitment to becoming a leader, seek out management classes. Ask your supervisor about internal training sessions, external classes or other ways you can practice your skills in a professional setting. Try compiling a list of areas where you want to improve so you can advance your skills effectively.

10. Make key connections

Interacting with exemplary leaders can improve your leadership skills, too. Seek out managers you admire at work and create closer connections with them by setting up an informational interview or an informal meeting. Next, find professional associations in your area, and start networking with leaders in your industry. Attend panel discussions, educational sessions or networking events to connect with industry figures you respect.

Read more: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

11. Find a role model

To find the ideal mentor, think about where you envision yourself professionally in 10 or 20 years. Consider the challenges you will need to overcome and the skills you will need to master. Even if your mentor works for another company or in another industry, you can learn critical leadership skills and gain guidance from someone you admire professionally.

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