10 Types of Leadership Skills You Need to Have

Leaders possess skills that may not always easy to define. But we know leadership when we see it.

As a result, those with leadership abilities share several qualities that make them successful and stand out. For example, they remain anchored by a clear set of principles and values about themselves, the people in their lives and their place in the world.

The great world leaders: Kennedy, Gandhi, Mandela, Merkle, May and esteemed business leaders: Cooke, Sandberg, Gates, Winfrey all offer answers to the question of whether great leaders are born or made. There is significant evidence to suggest that both are true. Many are born into leadership and others are born with the qualities that propel them into leadership.

The leaders from all walks of our lives that step up in their communities, cities, and workplace to help others and change lives make as much if not more impact on who they serve as world and business leaders.

Types of Leadership Skills

Here are 10 types of leadership skills that we need to have that are are essential to leadership success.


Whatever our expertise may be, our success and effectiveness lies in our ability to do the job based on our competency. Do we have the preferred skills, training, attitude and personality to master the job and excel at it? It’s not enough to only have hard skills in today’s workplace. Workers must be able to fit into evolving cultures of diversity, personnel changes, new products and services and being committed to staying personally current and relevant.


Are you cool under pressure or do you get flustered when things get tough and  intense? Leaders need to handle several things at the same time, which means being prepared and ready to work smart daily. Being ready to handle and deal with our responsibilities and the unforeseen things that will come up and having a team of people who we can count on for feedback and support only makes us stronger and more effective under pressure.

Here are some helpful ways to maintain leadership composure during high pressure moments:

  • Don’t Allow Your Emotions to Get in the Way
  • Don’t Take Things Personally
  • Act Like You Have Been There Before

Self Improvement

Moving our careers in the direction we want them to go requires being at the top of our game, having great people skills, and staying connected and relevant. Continuing education, being an avid reader, networking and industry events are all important activities to regularly take part in. Be selective about which ones you go to. Get some referrals from your network and associates on what’s solid, new and exciting. Don’t be afraid to start a selective networking event with hand picked prospects. If you need to catch up on some self improvement ideas or revisit older ones consider these 25 Best Self Help Books to Read Anytime and these top 15 small biz podcasts.

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Open Mindedness

It is essential to be informed and a trusted resource. Open-mindedness relates to the way in which we approach, respect and acknowledge the views and knowledge of others. The worst thing a leader can be perceived to be is “a know it all”. Being open minded and admitting that you don’t know everything creates an underlying sense of authenticity and humility and can enhance conversations with associates in many mutual ways.

Self Discipline

Self discipline is by far one of the top skills we need to succeed in work and life. We can set up all the systems and procedures possible by if we don’t have the personal commitment and discipline to use and follow them then why  bother? The ability to control and motivate ourselves, stay on track and do what is right cannot be periodic, half way or sometimes. It must be consistent, committed and conscious. It’s a manifestation of a serious, thoughtful leadership action plan.

Can you wake up an hour early before work each day to get to the gym?

Are you making sure you are confirming your appointments?

Do you consistently following up with customers and co-workers to see how they are doing?


Kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others are all examples of compassion and    just might be one of the most important intangible qualities leaders possess. The ability to demonstrate compassion and care for those we work with and for builds loyalty, trust and respect.  A kind word, one on one conversations, taking time to listen, being mindful, expressing gratitude are examples of how to foster compassion and loyalty.  These are the magnets that attract repeat business, referrals and new customers.

Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks International and author of, “It’s Not About the Coffee” says “It’s impossible to lead in business – or in life – unless you genuinely care about people. That’s what matters. Period.”

Sense of Humor

According to a Robert Half survey, 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement and 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. When our workplace and leaders cultivate humor and levity it just makes the workplace more fun and productive. For those of you looking for a great team-building activity, try heading to a comedy club or enrolling your team in an improv workshop.The team that laughs together thrives together!

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Taking responsibility for our actions, decisions and performance as leaders is a benchmark in evaluating our professionalism. Our accountability based on a strategy not just hope should be deliberate. Effective leaders set themselves and their teams up to win on many levels.

Some ways leaders can foster accountability are to:

  •  model the behavior
  • set up accountability review sessions
  • be a resource ally and cheerleader.
  • Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Be consistent

People Skills

Great leaders combine competence, personality, vision and the ability to work with many different kinds of people. The balance of hard core technical skills and soft core people skills are an essential  formula for leaders to grow and thrive. People Skills add value to an organization by enabling people to get along with others through effective communication. These 29 Secret Techniques to Get the Most Out of Your Team can help.


Following the example of other successful people is simply smart. What are the key websites, blogs and events where people gather and congregate to share ideas and points of view? Study them. A great mentor willingly uses and shares their experience, skills and attitude to help others. To find a mentor, we need to know what we need to improve and what goals we need to set up to help get us there. Identify resources through websites, books, podcasts, local events and strategically reaching out with specific resources that can help them. Get involved and put yourself out there.        Stand out, get noticed, make a difference and be remembered.

Take stock of all of your assets and liabilities and be brutally honest about refining them. The most successful people and businesses take stock regularly of what is and what is not working and are proactive about making changes.

Don’t go it alone. Success is a WE proposition that makes effective leadership possible and sustainable by our commitment to helping and encouraging each other.

New Zealand’s youngest woman Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 37, is leading a new generation of leadership.

“We seem to have resigned ourselves to accept that politics is a place for aggression and self-interest,” she shared. “I reject that. Why wouldn’t we want to see notions of kindness and compassion that we teach our kids in our political leadership instead?”

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