In addition to the hard skills you will display in your ePortfolio and on your resume, employers consider equally important what soft skills you can contribute. The NACE Job Outlook 2017 report showed that one of the attributes nearly 70 percent of employers looks for is leadership. Today, we’re looking at seven ways you can display leadership skills whether you’re still in school or already on the job. Want to find out what other soft skills recruiters are looking for?
Sharpening Your Leadership Skills
1 – Be proactive
Strong leaders take positive action and employers love it! Even if you don’t have all the answers needed to solve an issue, management will note that you made an effort to be part of the solution instead of waiting around for direction. Remember to look for small and big opportunities to make an impact.
2 – Be Present
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘having command of the room.’ But being present isn’t about being the center of attention. Rather, it’s more when your energy is focused toward your audience. It’s what author Patsy Rodenburg defines as having a ‘stage presence.’ And as she puts it, “It is when we are fully present that we do our best work and make our deepest impression on others.”
3 – Cultivate Conversation
Being good at small talk is not the same as having good conversation skills. So, when in a group setting, try including everyone when talking. How you make people feel when you’re speaking to them is a good indicator of your leadership abilities. Ask yourself: do others feel better or worse about themselves after they’ve interacted with you? Did you ignore anyone in the group? Being aware of how people feel in your presence is important to know.
4 – Master Presentation Skills
No matter what career you aspire to, having the ability to stand in front of a group (whether it’s five or 500) to deliver a message with clarity, confidence, and poise is a prized quality. So, seize an opportunity you can to practice and refine your delivery.
5 – Learn to Delegate
Throw out the notion that a leader must do everything. It’s actually the opposite—a good leader knows he/she can’t do it all and is willing to ask others to help accomplish the task at hand. We all have different strengths. If you have a group presentation, divide the work equally, so that each person feels valued. Delegation never means giving others all the work so you can take the credit at the end.
6 – Listen More
Being a great leader involves a lot of listening. By talking less, you encourage others to share their ideas and opinions. Not only should you listen carefully to what is being said, but you need to be receptive to what is being shared as well. This will demonstrate your respect for each team member, and they’ll respect you in turn.
7 – Mentor Someone
Don’t wait until you’re high up the corporate ladder to display this skill. Mentoring takes many forms and each person has valuable insight to offer. If you’re still in school, consider teaching a skill to an underclassman or through a volunteer organization. Even weekly one-on-one meetings to give professional advice to a younger or less-experienced friend or colleague can help you become a better leader.
Always Keep Learning
A leader is always willing to see something from a different perspective and learn from those around him/her. Choosing to continue your education or getting certification in a specialized skill can not only sharpen your leadership skills, but it allows you to acquire qualifications for more advanced positions. It also signals to upper management that you take your professional development and career advancement seriously.
Share in the comments ways you’ve displayed your leadership skills.