10 Essential Executive Leadership Skills

Fully Comprehend the Issues

When you have received information, the next step is to understand it thoroughly and then seek a proper solution. You can employ the tips below for a better understanding of the issues:

  • Gather ideas from your team members in meetings and make use of tools like a flip chart to map out the details of the situation.
  • Take a step back and look at the issues from different angles.
  • Be sensitive to the content of informal conversations and follow-up with your staff on certain implications that you may derive from the conversation.
  • Be alert to the business trends of your industry by reading relevant magazines, newsletters, and websites.

Seek Solutions

A leader is in a perfect position for showing your subordinates that solving an issue with a feasible solution is the ultimate aim.

  • Use the information you have gathered and understood, develop several solution scenarios together with your team members.
  • Always prepare contingency plans to back up the solution. This should also be part of your risk management process.
  • Use high level and long-term views and visions to understand all the possible implications of the solution.

Influencing People

As a leader, you are the one who can direct your fellow employees and influence them in making decisions. Rule of thumb – always try achieving a ‘win-win’ agreement whenever possible, by assertively persuading people around you. However, do be sure to listen to their ideas as well.

Here are some tips on how to influence people:

  • Present and support your viewpoint in various formats so that they appeal to different audiences, like graphs, tables, and clear and precise wording.
  • Build relationships constantly with your own direct reports as well as with other departments for political support in times when you need to introduce ideas and changes. You can build this up by supporting, protecting, and appreciating the ideas of others in meetings and add values by paraphrasing their original idea.
  • When addressing issues, be open and show your willingness in dealing with difficult situations.

Inspiring People

One of the major roles of a leader is to inspire and guide your subordinates. Be open and share your value with others, let people understand that you welcome changes and improvements. You do that successfully by applying the options below:

  • Build a vision with your team and share common values – show your trust in your team that they are capable of achieving the vision. Be open to discuss different visions and listen for new ideas as they may add value to your original idea and will allow the team to feel like they are more a part of the process.
  • Share successful stories with your team and outside of the team. Do not hesitate to praise good work. This can inspire others to higher achievement.
  • Conduct regular individual meetings with each staff member so that you can reconfirm their individual ability and confidence. Provide each staff member with a personal coaching plan, helping them to achieve reach their potential.
  • Give your staff opportunities to challenge your decision and let them express their ideas freely.

Developing People

As the team leader, your team members have an expectation that you will help them grow in their career and personally. Popular and respected leaders are those who do not mind to offer personal tips when coaching others.

Here are some tips that can help you in developing your people:

  • Develop a personal development plan with individual employees and coach them in career development as well as soft skills like effective communication, time management, and stress management. Set measurable goals and review the plan regularly together with the staff member.
  • Proactively offer help and guidance when you notice your staff needs coaching. Do not wait until your employee explodes with a resignation letter.
  • Work with HR or the training departments to give specific training that serves the specific needs of your staff.
  • Encourage mentoring and liaise with HR and other team leaders to act as mentors for fellow staff members.

Continuous Improvement

One important quality of a leader is to be able to improve the current situation continuously. Here are some ideas for that:

  • Constantly review existing standards, rules, and policies, established within and outside of your area of responsibility, as that might also affect the company’s efficiency as a whole.
  • Share and discuss your strategic plan and vision with your team members and set goals to achieve them. Review the plans periodically to identify what can be improved.
  • Share an example of high-quality work and brainstorm to get ideas in raising the general quality of work. Establish mass communications like newsletters within and outside of the team so that your team members can share their experience and compliments received from customers and/or colleagues.
  • Critically look at the organizational structure and give recommendations to re-design job and skill match, in order to maximize the skill-set within the company and boost motivation.

The skills described above include 10 key leadership skills that coaching organizations use in their leadership development programs. These are also skills that you can use in all aspects of your life!


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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    • I totally agree with you, Joel. Effective communication forms the basis for every meaningful, important, long-lasting relationship in all aspects of our lives. It is the first thing I teach when doing leadership training, sales training, customer service training or managerial training.