Have you ever tried to complete a task and it doesn’t turn out quite the way you planned? Did you realize that maybe you just didn’t have the right skills or use the correct tool for the job?
This situation can happen in business as well. A leader in management may have great intentions, but may not have the skills and tools they need to anticipate and manage challenges or realize successful outcomes. Having the right tools in your leadership toolbox allows you to accomplish your goals. We’ve compiled a list of 8 strategic skills and tools every leader should have in their toolbox to effectively handle any situation that may arise.
1) Strategic Thinking
Chess players know that, in order to win, they must outsmart their opponent by thinking several moves ahead. A chess player has to see where they want to move and anticipate where they’re opponent is going to move well in advance of taking action. This ability to think strategically is a skill that business leaders need to have as well.
By thinking strategically, you can effectively plan ahead and identify how you will respond to a variety of situations including movements in your team, rising concerns, opportunities for advancement, or new competitors entering the market. While every leader is different, there are some must-have skills for strategic leaders.
2) Decision Making Skills
We make decisions every day. Situations that require a decision, both big and small, can seem to creep up on us or can come at us, fast and furious. Sometimes, the decision is small and has no major impact on our daily lives. Other decisions are major and will not only impact our lives but the lives of our employees as well. Experts suggest that utilizing some simple apps could help improve your decision making skills. Apps like Lumosity or Fit Brains Trainer are like a gym for your brain. These exercises allow you to work your mental muscles and keep your mind sharp. You may also consider adding other physical activities like dancing and getting a good night’s sleep to improve this important skill.
3) Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, working or personal. Resolving conflict is a learned skill and one that can be taught, developed, and refined. A study by Purdue University found that students who have hands-on learning experiences gain a deeper understanding of the concepts that are being taught. Attending a conflict resolution workshop can provide you with experience in a controlled environment so that you can better handle difficult and uncomfortable situations, and work towards a positive resolution.
4) Team Building Activities
Seventy-five percent of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as very important. Yet, 86 percent of employees and executives blamed a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the reason for workplace failings. A good leader recognizes that they are only as good as the people that surround them. Instituting teambuilding activities allows teams time to bond together as well as provides an opportunity for them to decompress from their jobs for a few minutes.
5) Delegation Skills
One of the key tools a leader can use to increase efficiency and develop others is delegation. Delegating your responsibilities doesn’t just benefit you by allowing you to complete other, critical tasks, it also allows your team to grow. When you delegate responsibly, you have more time to focus elsewhere and your team has the opportunity to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. It also allows you to see how different team members respond when faced with a new task.
6) Mentorship Programs
Have you ever been faced with a new project and you went to Google or YouTube to learn how to do it? Don’t you wish you had that direct of a resource for solving business problems? Many organizations recognize this need and have implemented mentorship programs to support new or rising employees. A mentorship program can help identify and groom high-potentials for management positions. It also provides employees with a sounding board for problem-solving, instantly gives them a friendly face around the office, and has been shown to increase job performance.
“If you’re not evolving, you’re dying” – Marcus Lemonis
That statement holds truer today than ever before. The ability to lead innovation and create change is what allows a company to thrive. Apple is known for its innovation and it has changed the world because of its consistent drive toward making new, improved, and unique products.
Often times, people believe innovation happens when you are just sitting around waiting for inspiration to hit you and then taking action. In reality, innovation is a process of brainstorming, collaboration, and trial and error. Much like conflict resolution, you can refine and learn the skills to be innovative. It’s a conscious decision that requires discipline and dedication to master.