6 Vital Leadership Skills You Can Learn With Irish Gap Year
Leadership skills are vital in every facet of life. Leadership is never easy. No matter how effortlessly some leaders appear to manage, the path of a leader is one fraught with constant challenge and surprise. However, the leader does not face the challenge alone. Good leaders recognise that they do not have all the answers. The leader’s job is not to solve every problem, but to inspire those they lead to solve the problems. Through our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year program we develop an understanding of different leadership styles, personality traits and soft skills. All of our adventure activities put these skills into practice. Our gap year program focuses on cultivating valuable soft-skills in the students through an interwoven combination of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, leadership skills course-work and community volunteering. Here are 6 vital leadership skills to help you on your way….
1. Communication Skills
Great communication is the hallmark of an exceptional leader because it’s at the core of nearly all other leadership skills. Effective communication is necessary for every facet of leadership including building relationships with others, delegating assignments, defining goals and objectives, coaching and giving feedback, praising and criticising, managing performance, influencing or persuading others, handling conflicts or problems, managing and guiding others through change, and presenting views and information in an honest and balanced manner. In addition, good communication entails effective listening. Great leaders are great listeners. They do less talking and more listening, ask questions, and understand issues.
2. Interpersonal Skills
Leaders must have strong interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills include the ability to interact and deal with others individually, in groups, and within teams. They must know how to masterfully interact and establish positive relationships with everyone to accomplish business results. Interpersonal skills go beyond communication and involve the leader’s attitude and behaviour towards others, the extent to which they assert themselves appropriately and constructively, whether they can empathise with and gain the respect of others, if they get along with others and are well-liked, and how effectively they can manage and resolve conflict.
3. Problem Solving
Effective problem solving and decision making skills are a must-have for any good leader. This is because decisions, often difficult ones, are part of every leadership role. Great leaders make good decisions and solve problems effectively. They are able to identify, define, and analyse problems; Assess risks; use a problem solving process; develop decision-making strategies; generate potential solutions; judge and evaluate potential solutions; choose solutions; and implement them. They use their experience to continue to build on their decision-making abilities.
4. Integrity & Honesty
Being honest inspires honesty in others and shapes the culture of an organisation or group. The most trusted leaders display integrity and honesty, gaining the trust and respect of their employees and clients. Being seen as trustworthy will increase your team members’ commitment to their goals, and inspire their best efforts. Being trusted by your team also helps the communication process, because team members will be more likely to take risks during brainstorming sessions and come to you with any problems that are hindering their work.
Being able to plan work, organise tasks, and delegate to others effectively are critical leadership skills. Often many leaders in the making find delegation difficult. The perception is that it can be more hassle than it is worth and that the task won’t be completed in the manner they would like. However, trusting others to carry out tasks can go a long way to improving and solidifying relationships. Delegating enables other individuals to grow and work on meaningful and challenging tasks, and it takes work off of you as the leader so that you can focus on other priorities. Learning how to delegate successfully is a skill that all leaders must acquire, not only because they can’t do everything on their own, but because they need to develop the trust and capabilities of their followers to achieve their vision.
6. Time Management
Time management is highly important for leaders. By setting a good example in relation to good time management inspires the same in others. Great leaders not only have to manage their own time, they have to manage an entire company’s time and efforts. Time management for leaders entails knowing how and where to spend their own time, understanding how employees spend their time, and what objectives each department should spend its time on. Leaders must decide where to invest the company’s time and resources, which clients have a good return-on-investment, which employees need a little more mentoring, which business ventures will benefit customers, and so on.