What are leadership skills? 10 key skills that make a great leader

In today’s fast-paced, challenging and highly competitive business environment, the importance of leadership skills cannot be underestimated. Resilient, creative and adaptable leaders are better equipped to face the challenges of a disruptive and unpredictable commercial environment.

When a leader possesses key leadership skills they can build effective, coherent teams with a strong sense of direction and drive. They’re able to help people through periods of change, inspiring confidence and encouraging innovation.

What are the skills for leadership that every effective leader should possess if they wish to achieve their goals?

leadership skills
What skills must an effective leader demonstrate?

Importance of Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are the driving force behind effective leadership, enabling individuals to guide, inspire, and influence others to achieve shared goals. Possessing the right skills for leadership is crucial not only for managing teams but also for creating a positive and productive work environment. They not only shape the trajectory of a team but help to create the overarching culture of an organisation.

An effective leader acts as a pivot in a team, catalysing transparency and open dialogue, building trust among team members and boosting morale.

 At its heart, leadership skills help to bind individuals into a unified team inspired by a shared vision of success. They encourage an environment where innovation can flourish and where each member is empowered to progress.

How do you Demonstrate Leadership Skills?

 Leadership skills are not just abstract concepts. They are developed and demonstrated in dynamic real-world environments, where actions, behaviours, and interactions contribute to the success of the team and wider organisation. Leaders exhibit a range of leadership qualities and skills on a daily basis. These help to inspire, guide and shape the course of a team.

Great leaders lead by example. They model the behaviours, work ethic, and values they expect from their team members. This not only helps to foster respect but also encourages them to follow suit.

By demonstrating leadership skills, effective leaders encourage their team members to develop their own abilities across the board. With a clear expression of leadership, great leaders not only talk about leadership, but they actively demonstrate what that means in practice.

It’s this active application of leadership qualities and skills that makes effective leaders such a critical asset to any organisation.


leadership qualities and skills
Good communication is a great leadership skill as it allows leaders to build relationships, offer constructive feedback, encourage collobration, and handle conflict resolution

What is an example of a Leadership Skill?

 One example of a leadership skill is effective communication. It’s arguably one of the most important leadership skills as it underpins a range of other leadership skills. Leaders need to be able to convey their vision and give clear instructions to help the team achieve their goals.

 Communication is such a critical leadership skill for a number of reasons:

Conveying a Vision

Effective leaders can paint a vivid picture of the future. They captivate and inspire their team with a compelling vision. With well-chosen words and a compelling narrative, abstract concepts are transformed into tangible goals. Targets change from being arbitrary figures to be reached, into staging points along the way to success.

Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is essential to enabling people to develop their skills, to become better at their roles and to help them achieve their personal goals. Effective leaders provide insights with empathy, highlighting key strengths and suggesting areas for improvement. This approach helps to foster an environment of growth, with each team member feeling valued and motivated to excel.

Open Dialogue

Leaders with outstanding communication skills can foster an environment of open dialogue. They encourage diverse viewpoints and questions and actively listen to a range of perspectives. This not only supports better decision-making but also cultivates a workplace culture of inclusivity and collaboration.

Conflict Resolution

Good communication is valued among key skills for leadership due to its ability to defuse and resolve conflicts. It manages discord, mediates disputes, and helps to find common ground and solutions that are satisfying to all parties. Good communication maintains team harmony and reinforces trust.

Active Listening

Effective leaders are active and empathetic listeners. They absorb not only words but also emotions and underlying concerns. By developing a fuller understanding of their team, they bridge gaps in communication and foster deeper connections.


Through effective communication, leaders can break down barriers between team members, across departments and hierarchies. They identify opportunities for collaboration and then provide the communicative means to maximise those opportunities.

Building Relationships

Good communication skills enable leaders to forge genuine connections. They engage in meaningful conversation, remember personal details, and show real interest in team members to strengthen rapport and create a sense of belonging.

top 10 leadership skills
The top leadership skills all leaders should possess include; decision-making, fostering potential and motivation, as well as problem-solving and strategic thinking

What are Good Leadership Skills?

 There are a number of different leadership skills that can be desirable for any existing or aspiring leader to develop. Different leaders will have their own strengths and weaknesses, exhibiting areas where they are more competent, and others where they may need to improve.

Good leadership skills encompass a range of attributes, including integrity, empathy, adaptability, and problem-solving. These skills promote trust, transparency, and accountability within the team. As leaders develop these skills, they not only improve their own capabilities but also empower those around them to succeed. With the right approach, the positive influence of any leader can extend far beyond their individual role.


Top 10 Leadership Skills

What are leadership skills and what are the leadership qualities and skills that any leader should possess?

Leadership is a dynamic and evolving process where effective leaders continually learn and stretch themselves. Good leaders are always looking for ways to improve. Good leaders will each possess different abilities and competencies, but there are some key leadership skills most leaders will look to develop.

These include:

Strategic Thinking

Good leaders will possess a strong ability to think strategically, forecast trends and plan for the long term. This skill guides decisions that shape the future of the organisation, moving it toward sustained growth and success.


Effective leaders are adept at planning meticulously, ensuring that every step towards a goal is carefully set out and understood. By setting clear objectives, they lead their teams with purpose and direction, developing goals and optimising the use of resources to achieve them.

Ethical Behaviour

Leaders need to act with integrity and develop a reputation as trustworthy and ethical individuals. Ethical behaviour helps to gain the trust of the team and helps to develop ethical behaviours across the wider organisation. They have strong values that they’re willing to uphold, even when faced with difficult decisions and complex situations.

Outstanding Communications

As we explored above, effective leadership communication is multifaceted. Leaders who can express their vision, expectations, and feedback clearly create a cohesive team united by shared goals. They’re active listeners who encourage honest opinions and feedback. They foster an environment where everyone feels heard and valued.

Advanced Decision-Making Skills

Leaders make countless decisions daily, some of which will have far-reaching consequences for their organisation. Leaders with advanced decision-making skills weigh risks, consider alternatives, and make informed choices, even in high-pressure situations. They listen carefully to opinions and solicit different perspectives, but they’re also willing to go out on a limb when required.

Creative Problem-Solving

Exceptional leadership is often marked by a willingness to find solutions that go beyond what’s previously been accepted. Great leaders foster an environment of creative problem-solving, encouraging innovation, and allowing teams to overcome obstacles and challenges with fresh perspectives.

Fostering Potential

Great leaders are more than just managers. They’re also mentors who can recognise and nurture the full potential of their team members. They provide guidance, set growth paths, and create opportunities for skill enhancement and career development. They help others achieve their goals, as they work to achieve collective goals for the organisation.

Taking On & Giving Up Responsibility

Being able to delegate effectively is one of the toughest but most important skills for leadership that anyone can develop. Often highly motivated individuals who have worked hard to achieve a leadership position can find it hard to know when to pass on tasks to other people. It’s not only important to delegate to prevent leadership overwork and burnout, it’s also key to better team performance overall. Great leaders know when to take full responsibility and when to delegate.

Time Management

Time is a precious resource for individuals and organisations. Effective leaders have to develop effective time management strategies. They prioritise tasks, set deadlines, and model efficient time management, inspiring their team to be productive while maintaining work-life balance.

Emotional Intelligence

Leaders with high emotional intelligence empathise with their team members, understand their emotions, and adapt their approach accordingly. This skill enhances relationships, strengthens collaboration, and cultivates a supportive work environment. They understand that good leadership is built on strong human relationships.


Finally, motivation has a key position as an important leadership skill. It enables leaders to keep going through adversity, staying positive and optimistic as they work through more challenging phases of any strategic vision. Leaders who can not only motivate themselves but others as well, help to generate a ripple effect of energy and commitment throughout their organisations.

In reality, a list of the top 10 leadership skills could include any number of leadership qualities and skills. Different leaders will have different strengths and weaknesses, and different roles will require a different emphasis. Developing your leadership skills begins with an assessment of your current capabilities and where you need to improve. Targeted leadership development and mentoring can then help you in that development process.


Understanding your leadership needs with assessment tools from Leadership Success


At Leadership Success, we have a suite of leadership asessment tools that you can use across leaders and individual contributors. Our tools are easy to deploy and produce results that are simple to action and implement.

By leveraging technology, assessments can be launched with short lead times and with results that are delivered immediately. Different result views are created for participants, their managers and HR to meet their different needs.

If you’d like to learn more about leadership assessment and the role it can play in helping to better understand your leadership needs, our experienced team is available to help.

Contact us to find out more about our library of assessments and our leadership development programmes

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