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Top Five Leadership Skills For Women

5 October 2021

There are five leadership skills we believe women can develop to reach their full potential as leaders. These include strong leadership skills, power and influence, negotiating, overcoming resistance and networking skills. Collectively these skills will help you reach your full potential and help you develop your career in C-suite positions.

In the corporate sector, women are still not reaching their full potential or being promoted into C-suite positions.

In 2020 only 19.3% of executives and 7.9% of CEOs were women in corporate companies within the European Union. However multiple studies have found that both men and women don’t differ much in effective leadership styles, if anything women have been found to be slightly more talented in this area.

The real problem clearly is not that women don’t have the proper skills to become strong leaders but that there are more obstacles for women than men.

Ultimately women do not need to change to become great leaders, but in a world where men dominate the C-Suite corporate sector, things need to change for women to take a well-deserved seat at the table.

We have put together the top five leadership skills for women, that you can develop to guarantee you get ahead of your male counterparts and reach your potential as a women leader.

What skills can women develop to reach their potential as leaders?

1. Leadership Skills

One of the most obvious skills that women can develop is leadership skills.

Leadership comes with a whole host of skills beneath it, that collectively create strong organisational leaders. These include skills like emotional intelligence, communication proficiency, decisiveness, motivation and effective delegation to name only a few.

Many of these skills come very naturally to women but it’s always worth upskilling and developing these further in a professional way. You can do this by attending an ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) course.

2. Power and Influence

Power and influence go hand in hand to achieve organisational goals and objectives.

Women who use their power effectively can influence others behaviour, this, in turn, is what prompts employees into action.

Some employees may try to resist efforts to make them perform, but by gaining respect and trust through your hardworking mentality, emotional intelligence and motivational mindset, strong women leaders will be able to overcome this confrontation.

Always remember to have confidence in your own abilities as a leader and then power and influence will naturally occur.

3. Negotiating

Negotiating is a crucial skill to have if you are wanting to progress in your career.

Research has found that women are less likely to negotiate for better positions or higher pay due to gender bias. This is because women who do negotiate are told they are ‘too bossy’ or ‘intimidating’, however, you are twice as likely to get a pay rise if you were to negotiate.

Firstly, make sure you do your research, ask your male and female peers who have asked for pay rises on what to expect. Next practice your pitch, remember to say why you deserve that job promotion/pay rise. Talk about your achievements and visions for the future.

Lastly, make sure you are asking for a specific amount. Men are more likely to ask for more than women in the same positions, so never undersell yourself. If anything, oversell yourself so you are in a better negotiating position and more likely to get the amount you want and deserve.

4. Overcoming Resistance to Change

Change is inevitable in any organisation and those that change for the better thrive in the modern world. However, overcoming resistance to change can be somewhat difficult with multiple employees, some of which will have been in the company for many years.

The best way you can overcome this as a women leader is through great communication and employee engagement.

There should be a constant flow of communication throughout the time of change, so employees are always informed.

The next thing you must do is engage with the employees, listen to what their thoughts are on the change. Ask them questions about whether the change is working and what they think would make things better. This paired with both formal and informal communication will develop trust among your employees, making it a smoother process.

5. Networking

So many women dismiss networking as they find it insincere and sometimes manipulative. But networking can be extremely beneficial.

Women need a strong network of trusted partners that can help them get results and influence other people. For you to be a successful women leader you need a network of mentors, sponsors, coaches and leaders in your sector. These new connections can help you develop, earn promotions and gain new opportunities.

These five tips are just a starting point for women who want to progress themselves as leaders. There’s still so much bias towards women in C-suite positions and developing these five skills can help combat that in a male dominant sector.

Take the next step

Here at Salford Professional Development, we offer leadership courses so you can develop these skills and more, helping you reach your full potential. The Women in Leadership Course develops all of these skills you’ve just read about – with access to our exclusive networking support group.

Top five skills for women leaders

Top 5 leadership skills and why they are so important for all organisations

16 September 2021

Leadership skills can either be learned or naturally occur in individuals with certain personality traits. In this blog post, we will look at the top five leadership skills you need to become a successful manager or director within your organisation.

Why are leadership skills important for organisations?

Having strong leadership skills within an organisation are so important in creating productive, successful teams. Many organisations believe that the best leaders are those who are very good workers, who know the organisation’s products, goals and procedures.

However, this does not prove that someone possesses the necessary leadership skills to mentor, motivate and direct colleagues in an effective way.

The most effective way in which all leaders can become successful is through training.

87% of employers said that ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) training programmes positively impacted their business.

Top 5 Leadership Skills

There are multiple leadership skills individuals need to be successful leaders in the workplace. We’ve chosen the top five to create a great foundation for your first steps in becoming a strong leader.

1 – Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is not only about being self-aware but about having empathy too.

To be self-aware you must identify that your emotions affect those around you. You also need to recognise that your ego can sometimes stunt your progress as a leader. So, you will need to let this go in order to be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses.

Empathy on the other hand is how you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This will inevitably help you deliver constructive criticism fairly and wisely, whilst also being approachable and a good listener when your team needs help in difficult situations.

Having these skills will make you more emotionally intelligent and in turn, you will gain trust and respect among your colleagues and teams.

2- Decisiveness

Decisiveness ultimately is the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently.

Having great research, problem-solving and planning skills, where you can use your own experiences to confidently make decisions, for the best results, can really help you improve business efficiency.

It’s also good to recognise that having knowledge of each department and how the department operates can really strengthen your decisiveness skills, giving you that background knowledge to proficiently lead.

Leadership courses are the best way to improve this background knowledge.

3 – Communication

Communication skills not only mean effectively speaking clearly to a team but also writing, listening and presenting in a clear and concise manner.  

This is such an important leadership skill to have when there are so many different communication forms. This could include team meetings, one-on-ones and companywide presentations.

All the while communicating through different workplace platforms such as phone, email, video meetings, chat, and social media. Plus, these conversations need to be constant with the employees and leaders in order to create a trustworthy open-door ethos within the organisation.

4 – Motivation

To be a successful leader you need to inspire employees.

You can do this through motivation. You need to learn how and what motivates each individual so that you can encourage them to be more productive and passionate about their work.

An effective way to motivate is to provide them with recognition, this improves their self-esteem allowing them to confidently undergo more work tasks. Or you could give employees more responsibilities to increase their overall personal asset to the company.

5 – Delegation

Taking on too many tasks is the downfall of many leaders. That’s why it is so important to delegate tasks around the team so that your time and skills are better utilised.

Leaders need to evaluate what their employee’s strengths and weaknesses are to match the right task to the right employee. Leaders must also trust their employees, to create a strong team environment.

In having this trust, you will gain mutual respect from your employees.

How can you develop these 5 leadership skills?

Mastering all five of these leadership skills; emotional intelligence, decisiveness, communication, motivation and delegation all help towards developing your own personal development and career. Evidently, you will need to practice this over time and understand your own leadership style to fully excel as a successful leader. Great ways in doing this are to learn from already strong leaders, gain a mentor or improve your skills with a leadership course.

Take a look at our leadership skills courses and begin your development today.