Ambitious individuals everywhere often find themselves daydreaming of the ideal managerial position, one that commands respect and delivers results. 

If you happen to be one such aspiring manager, you might already have what it takes to make the leap to the next level of your career, provided you put a little time into nurturing your existing skillset. 

But what exactly should the skillset of a good leader look like? Although everyone is unique, and management styles will likely need to differ as a result of who is being managed in the first place, there are a few defining characteristics that most leaders tend to share. 

In order to help you prepare yourself for progression in the workplace, to take charge and to represent responsibility, integrity and diligence, here are some pointers as to which skills you should sharpen. 

A Willingness to Keep Learning 

Learning is one of the most important tools at anyone’s disposal. It can empower, inspire and inform, while helping you to remain up to date, relevant and highly knowledgeable about the current state of the world. 

Failing to adopt a willingness to keep learning can lead to stagnation and job dissatisfaction. Nobody knows everything, even if they insist otherwise, and remembering this to be the case can get you far in life. 

This might also pertain to a formal education, as sometimes the academic environment can be the perfect place to develop your existing skills, to grow as a person and to make exciting new contacts. 

Moreover, the certificate itself can look exceptional on your resume. Even if you have a great deal of knowledge and experience already, a college degree can supply you with direction, guidance and advise on how best to use your skills.

Some of the best advanced degrees like an MSC finance and management program can be the perfect route to take for anyone wanting to get a head start in the world of leadership. Plus, you can take to the online world to complete your course, meaning that in theory, you never have to leave the comfort of your own home. 

  • Tip – Your willingness to keep learning may also pertain to your ability to learn from your fellow employees. Remembering to listen, keep an open mind, stay humble and respectful is a good way to nurture this aspect of your managerial skillset. 

Accountability and Dependability

Being a leader means taking on the weight of responsibility. For many, the effectiveness of this ability hinges on accountability and dependability, two highly important factors when it comes to managing the relationship between employee and team leader. 

Your team will likely be looking to you for advice, support, or simply just reassurance should they need it. 

To be the figure of trustworthy authority that your employees need, showing your empathy and integrity is a must. 

This can be where the accountability aspect comes into play. For example, say you made the wrong decision at work, one that proved to be costly – acknowledging your mistake is crucial. It lets the team know that you have the class and professionalism to ignore your pride and take ownership. 

Rather than blaming your employees, you should represent them, stand up for them and speak out when they need you to, as this is what great leaders often do. 

By creating an environment of transparency and clear dialogue, you can start to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Being a leader can be extremely difficult, so the support of your colleagues and an emphasis on personal ownership can help. 

The Ability to Inspire

Perhaps one of the main differences between an okay manager and a superb one, is the ability to inspire the best in others. 

This is a great skill, one that can truly set you apart as a desirable candidate and a highly revered leader. 

Bringing out the best in others is easy once you know how and in many cases it starts with empathy. 

Learning to understand your team on an individual level can aid you in nurturing this skill. For example, what is it that drives your employees, what makes them come to work in the first place, what do they want out of their job in the future and how can you help them to achieve this?

Communication is key and not for this area alone. Learning to be a better communicator can take you incredibly far in life and hopefully, enable you to inspire those around you. 

Great Decision-Making Skills

Being able to make the right decision under pressure, one that could have huge consequences for not just you, but the people around you and the brand that you aim to represent, can be a real challenge for a leader. 

In many ways, learning to make the right decision comes with experience and practice. By working closely with facts and stats, and by using all of the available information, you can start to make more informed decisions in the future. 

It is well-worth remembering that mistakes do happen, and at practically any level. If you have some mistakes of your own when it comes to decision making, it is worth addressing them to figure out what went wrong and how you can change you’re approach to problems so that you avoid repeating mistakes.  

Dedication and Tenacity

If your core values do not align with the brand you are representing, or you feel as though you are not emotionally invested in your company or your employees in any way, being a great leader to them might be impossible. 

Without dedication and tenacity, you could fall short of the mark when it comes to sailing your team to success. 

There will likely be times when the day becomes long and grueling or you feel as though nothing is going your way. It is in these moments where the resolve and the integrity of a great leader is truly tested, you might have already been there yourself as an employee.