Regardless of your current role, there are certain leadership skills that will serve you well today and throughout your career.

6 Essential Leadership Skills That Will Take Your Career to the Next Level

Leadership Communication

Regardless of your current role or position within your company’s organizational chart, these six leadership skills will help you advance your career.

Regardless of your current role, title or position in your company’s organizational chart, there are certain leadership skills that will serve you well today and throughout your career. Here are six essential abilities to add to your repertoire.

1. Honing Your Leadership Skills

Those who rise to senior leadership levels in almost any organization have one critical attribute in common — they’ve embraced soft leadership skills. This includes having the ability to build relationships with the people you work with.

There’s never been a leader in this world without people who wanted to follow them — and the first step to getting people to want to support you is to get them to like you. Take the time to get to know the people you work with, and learn what’s important to them, including their motivations and their goals. Look for ways to help them achieve what they want and they’ll be likely to return the favor.

2. Picking the Right Battles

Similar to being able to build strong relationships, you also have to know how and when to pick your battles. If you’ve built solid relationships with those around you, you’ll have a solid foundation of support to meet your objectives, but you can just as easily choose to fight too many battles along the way. Instead, save your energy for what directly contributes to advancing your priorities.

3. Crafting Your Vision

Great leaders don’t guide their followers aimlessly into the wilderness — they know exactly where they want to go. Similarly, you must have a clear sense of your purpose, and what it will take to get there, that you can articulate to your team. It also doesn’t hurt to make your vision bold or even a bit audacious. Big ideas inspire others to show up and contribute their best work.

4. Building Alignment

When you’re in a leadership position, you’re not executing ideas on your own — you need to bring others along with you. One of the most critical leadership skills to develop is to be able to gain buy-in from employees at all different levels in your organization by building alignment with your vision. Make sure you’re communicating the big picture to those who need to be involved. You should be explaining the “why” behind the decisions, encouraging questions so that everyone is on the same page and looking for opportunities for collaboration and refinement.

5. Inspiring Execution

Great leaders don’t just show up with big ideas — they know how to take that vision and turn it into a reality. To do that, you must create a tactical execution plan that illustrates what’s expected of your team, use feedback to let your team know how they’re doing and set an example for others to follow through your behavior. Learn to err on the side of over-communication to keep things moving along smoothly, and be sure to address problems before they become major issues.

6. Giving up Control

Execution is critical, but don’t mistake micromanagement for execution. Leaders set goals and then empower the people around them with the resources and support they need to get the job done. Keep in mind that even if you see someone doing something differently than you would do it, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong, and it doesn’t mean that it won’t work. Rather than stepping in and trying to persuade them to do it your way, ask questions, explore their reasoning and try to see things from their point of view. If things don’t go as planned, encourage them to learn from it and make improvements for the next time around.

Take time to master each of these six leadership skills. Regardless of your position, each skill will help you advance in your career and stand out from your peers.

Karlyn Borysenko
Karlyn Borysenko

My goal is to make professional life better for individuals, and drive productivity and results for organizations. I fix the "people problems" and I help individuals build better working relationships across their organizations, navigate office politics, create a great organizational culture, build and lead more productive teams, and be great managers. I'm one of the few workplace bullying experts in the country and I can help individuals who have been targeted, or organizations who think they might have a bullying problem on their hands. And if you work in sales or fundraising, I can teach you how to "read" your prospects to increase your close rate and generate more revenue. I'm an MBA, a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (ABD), and a certified DiSC Trainer. I believe passionately that an organization's most valuable resource is its people, and that leaders have a responsibility to put structures, processes, and systems in place that will support employee success, development, job satisfaction, and organizational culture.