July 12, 2024

The Chief Mag

Smart Solutions for Your Business

14 Strategies For Better Leadership And Business Relations

5 min read

Whether you are stepping into a new leadership role for the first time, or you are overseeing your longtime direct reports, it’s important to realize that soft skills are just as important as hard skills in today’s job market. This is especially true when it comes to managing a team of productive professionals, or strengthening your work relationships to gain your employees’ trust and confidence again—if you’ve lost it.

Here, 14 experts from Forbes Business Development Council discuss some of the most challenging skills they’ve had to learn throughout their careers. Each offers one tip to master the skill that will make you a better leader and colleague in the end.

1. Communicating Effectively

One challenging skill I’ve learned is effective communication. Mastering it has improved my ability to convey ideas clearly and listen actively. This skill has made me a better leader by enhancing team collaboration and trust, thereby fostering a more productive and positive work environment. – Dr. Saju Skaria, Digitech Services

2. Learning To Trust Others

Learning to trust is essential. For example, I trust in people I don’t necessarily know very well or have a great relationship with. I had to learn to trust that people will do their jobs, but if they don’t, I also know that it will come to light before long. Creating a micro-management-free environment for our team has been a boon to productivity and collaboration. It left me with far fewer nights sitting around worrying. – Jacob Dearstyne, Optizmo.com

3. Having The Right Influence Over Others

Influencing your key stakeholders in a heavy matrix organizational structure is a key skill I learned over the years. This is done by having a mindset that focuses on what stakeholders can gain and how my idea can benefit them. An effective partnership is a win-win for both sides and helps anyone to become a better leader. – Pradeepa Kolli, LHH (The Adecco Group)

4. Showing Empathy

Navigating the complexities of managing people is like herding cats. However, by nurturing a shared vision and understanding of our strategy, I’ve learned to harness individual strengths and foster collaboration. This insight has been invaluable in navigating the human dynamics of change within projects. – Eddy Vertil, Vertil & Company

5. Being A Persuasive Diplomat

Mastering diplomacy and managing superiors are among the toughest skills I have needed to develop. Explaining the importance of initiatives and showcasing their benefits for leaders and teams is as crucial as leading them directly. – Paul Campbell, Competitive Solutions, Inc.


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6. Willingness To Delegate Tasks As Needed

Early in my business, I struggled with providing my team with the independence they needed to succeed and achieve their full potential. Delegation is key to success in a growing business. Allowing someone to prove themselves will benefit you as a leader, but it also empowers your workers, professionally and personally. Delegating builds trust among team members and promotes a willingness to excel. – Tim Conn, Image One Facility Solutions

7. Strengthening Business Relationships

Effective communication is essential. I remember making the mistake early in my career of thinking that everyone interprets, absorbs and communicates information in the same way, and yet that is far from the truth! Being conscious and more deliberate in how I communicate has helped me form better relationships with my team, who tell me that they feel transparency inspires trust. – Ben Elder, Simpplr

8. Motivating A Productive Team

Mastering people management was challenging but crucial, as I built a team of 50 employees from six different countries. Learning to hire effectively and understand what motivates each member has enhanced my leadership. Building trust with honesty ensures everyone feels valued and fulfilled, aligning their goals with the company’s needs, and leading to a more cohesive and productive team environment. – Raviraj Hegde, Donorbox

9. Learning Strategic Sales Methods

I had to learn how to sell on two occasions: when I built my startup, and when I had to personally bootstrap e-sales for a software suite I introduced in my capacity as a general manager. I learned how to understand customer challenges, tell a story around the solution, be honest and over-communicate. The exercise helped me to develop empathy toward my sales, product and delivery teams. – Srinivas Kuppa, SymphonyAI

10. Staying Curious

The key to overcoming leadership challenges is curiosity. Even if you’re an expert in your field, you’ll be admired if you show you’re hungry to learn. It’s a mistake to put on a show of intellectual strength that’s really just arrogance. If you’re honest about your knowledge gaps, show a willingness to keep working at them and not rest on your laurels, you’ll earn the respect of others. You’ll grow as a person and a leader, too. – Anna Jankowska, RTB House

11. Having The Ability To Adapt

Adaptability is necessary for any leadership role. In March 2020, all of our scheduled in-person sales training sessions were either canceled or postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We had to make a fast transition to a virtual sales training method, and we had to do it right. I learned how important it is to take action even when the information in front of you is incomplete or uncertain. – Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates

12. Maintaining Your Focus On Goals

Don’t take things personally; stay focused on goals. Keep it simple; prioritize what matters. These skills help leaders maintain perspective, communicate clearly, make decisions efficiently and rally teams around a common purpose. Be a team player and let others shine to be a good leader. – Tina Gada, Vanguard Group

13. Being An Active Listener

One challenging skill I’ve mastered is active listening. It has greatly improved my leadership by enabling me to understand team needs better and foster a collaborative environment. This skill has made me a more empathetic colleague and an effective problem solver. – Tomer Yosef, ESHET HAIL

14. Keeping Up With The Latest Technology

Technology, technology, technology. It’s changing so fast that you have to continue to learn or you will be left behind. To be a good leader today, you have to set an example, not just dictate. – Scott Brady, Future Point of View

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