When it comes to leadership, not all managers are created equal. Anyone can become a manager in the workplace, but few actually understand what it means to be a leader. As Steve Jobs put it, “Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”
Good leadership fosters employees who are highly engaged, motivated and excited to contribute – making leadership crucial to a company’s success. But, how does one transition from manager to leader, and what skills are needed? Below, we outline five different leadership skills that every manager should have and how coach training can help cultivate these skills.
Good leaders are able to think clearly, express their ideas and share information with people at all levels of the organisation. Not only are they able to speak mindfully in a clear and direct manner – they also know exactly what to say, in order to convey the right message.
Coach training can help you become more mindful and skillful in your communications, whether you’re giving instructions, insight or feedback. By using what we call ‘clean language’ – a way of speaking that is not biased, leading or loaded – you can create an environment for employees to feel grounded, safe and comfortable enough to share their own thoughts and feelings.
Besides being a good communicator, good leaders also practice active listening, which helps them connect better with their teams. Signs of active listening include eye contact, mirroring, paraphrasing, clarifying what was said, reflecting, and providing feedback with permission. Active listening goes beyond just hearing what was said, but also being able to pick up any feelings or emotions that may be expressed nonverbally.
At Transcend, we train our coaches to go beyond active listening to practice ‘actual listening’. This means you’re not just active listening by the books – by carrying out all the physical signs – but to ensure that you’re actually listening. It is only through actual listening that a person truly feels heard and understood, and will then be able to open up further in the conversation.
Compassion and empathy
Gone are the days of stone cold, iron-fisted leaders. Today’s great leaders are compassionate human beings who truly care about their employees’ wellbeing. It all boils down to empathy, or the ability to relate to and understand your team members. To become a more compassionate leader, ask your employees questions like why they work, what their personal dreams are, and how they think work fits into the bigger picture. By getting to know them one-on-one, real connections are forged and employees feel more motivated to contribute.
On the same token, coach training teaches you how to connect with others through empathy and compassion, as well as how to focus on them and their goals instead of your own agenda. By doing so and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to get to know them on a deeper level while still tying their goals back to the business.
One of the most important traits of a great leader is self-awareness. Being self-aware means to know what’s going on internally in your own world, including your thoughts, feelings, emotions, strength and weaknesses, as well as the situation. By knowing all this and their own limitations, self-aware leaders have no trouble asking for help, which helps build authenticity and credibility within the team.
At Transcend, self-awareness lies at the core of our coach training programs, which then leads to self-management and self-transformation. Coaches must be aware of what’s going on inside themselves if they are hoping to help others do the same. It is only when people are self-aware that they can clearly and realistically set goals for themselves – and reach them.
Delegation and empowerment
Great leaders aren’t afraid to delegate work, which means assigning work to their team instead of taking it all on themselves. Instead of seeing delegation as a sign of weakness, true leaders know that delegation is the best way to empower employees to become more responsible, motivated and empowered to get things done.
Similarly, coaches are trained not to take on the problems of their clients, but to help them devise their own solutions instead. In this way, clients are empowered to become more resourceful, self-sufficient and confident in coming up with their own action plans for getting things done and ultimately, reaching their goals.
Interested in becoming a great leader? Add valuable coaching skills to your management style by signing up for Transcend International’s ICF-accredited coach training programs: