Insight Leadership

Why leadership skills are important to managers

Written by intelliHR on 17 May 2021

A manager can make or break a team, why leadership skills are so important to managers. But not all managers have leadership skills, as leadership and management are two different things. 

Leaders have a unique ability to inspire a vision and motivate others towards it; sometimes to go beyond what’s required of them. Whereas managers focus on tasks and managing work to achieve organizational goals. But when you have someone that can do both effectively, you’re more likely to have engaged, committed, and productive employees.

Often, however, employees get promoted to management because of their technical expertise or meeting their KPIs, not because they’re great at inspiring or working with people, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

So how do you identify employees with leadership potential and then develop them to become your managers of the future? We’ll answer all this and more in this post.

How to spot leadership potential

Man with binoculars looking at mountain

Could your employees of today be your leaders of tomorrow?

There are a number of different things that make a good leader and various ways to identify leadership skills and potential in current employees, to determine who is best suited to future management opportunities. With this knowledge, you can ensure you’re supporting and developing them in the right way.

Employees with strong leadership potential might display the following behaviors:

1. They are willing to help others

Employees who go out of their way to guide team members when it is not required of them have a genuine interest in helping others succeed.

2. They set SMART goals – and achieve them

Leaders must be able to give their team direction, so being able to set valuable goals and achieve them consistently is an important skill for future leaders to have.

TIP: Set and track goal progress with dedicated goal management software

FREE DOWNLOAD: Employee goal setting template

3. They are calm under pressure

Individuals who can work with limited resources or under tight deadlines will have the best chance of guiding their team confidently through any obstacles that arise. Leaders who are able to overcome challenging situations inspire confidence in teams and ensure the best outcomes can be reached in any circumstances.

4. They are reliable and consistent

While unfaltering consistency and reliability is not essential for every single role, it is absolutely essential for those managing a team. Employees who are organised and predictable in their work habits will typically have the best chance of keeping their team on track and ensuring organizational objectives are achieved.

TIP: See how managers are performing by looking at how their staff are performing with our HR analytics.

5. They are good communicators

Finally, natural leaders are always sharing vital information with their team and know how to communicate effectively with different people. They know how to listen, show empathy and can provide honest feedback when needed.

READ NEXT: Top 10 leadership skills

But remember, leadership isn’t for everyone

Some employees may not want to become managers, and that’s okay. Reasons for this could include:

  • They love being heavily hands-on in their work and don’t wish to spend time coaching or overseeing team members.
  • They don’t aspire to be in a position of extended power or responsibility and prefer to let someone else take charge.
  • They lack the soft skills it takes to lead a team but are really good at their day-to-day role.

Not everyone desires a leadership role, but for those who do want to pursue a leadership role, there are ways we can identify existing leadership skills and develop further skills in the right people.

READ NEXT: How to measure leadership skills

How to develop leaders

Sometimes, individuals who really desire a leadership role may not display all of these traits right now, but with commitment and the right training, leadership skills can be developed.

Here are some steps you can take to help your people develop leadership skills:

  • Foster a culture where entry-level employees have permission to go ‘above their rank’ and provide feedback, input or assistance to their superiors where appropriate.
  • Set realistic organizational-level goals and ensure people have the resources to achieve them.
  • Ensure every employee has access to a tool to set and track shared goals with their team.
  • Use tools like Slack or similar to help employees communicate efficiently.
  • Invest in training – whether it’s formal leadership training or soft skills training
  • Allocate mentors within your organization to help guide and coach
  • Provide all leadership hopefuls with a test to measure their emotional intelligence and offer assistance to develop this further if required.
  • Provide feedback to help them continually improve
  • Read these other 7 tips for creating great leaders.

Identifying, developing and utilizing leadership skills – next steps

Do you want to be able to easily identify leadership skills in your employees of today and build leaders of tomorrow? intelliHR is a people management platform that helps organizations across the world manage, develop and grow their employees through a suite of core HR tools and powerful analytics. Check out our team management tools or see how the platform works today.

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