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The Ten Most Underrated Leadership Skills

Learn from Your Prospecting Mistakes

Recently I have shared what I beleve to be the ten most underrated leadership skills that fly under the radar. Having written in the past about effective leadership skills… skills like agility, active listening, the ability to motivate, and more. Such leadership skills are indeed invaluable to anyone looking to propel a team or an organization to greatness.

With that said, there are some additional leadership skills you may not have thought of; effective leadership skills that remain unsung and underrated.

Because these leadership skills don’t quite receive their due, I thought I’d highlight a few of them today. Don’t make the mistake of underappreciating these skills because possessing them could give you the competitive advantage you’ve been seeking!

The Ten Most Underrated Leadership Skills

Here’s my list of effective leadership skills that seem to fly under the radar.

  1. Employee recognition. It’s no small thing to pause long enough to tell an employee that you notice and appreciate their good work, or to commend them on a recent project where they exceeded expectations. Indeed, some leaders find it rather difficult to give a pat on the back to deserving team members, but it’s actually a critical skill that can help you motivate and engage the people who work for you.
  2. Sense of humor. You know what they say about all work and no play! While leaders obviously need to be focused and know when it’s time to get down to business, there is also a need to show a sense of humor from time to time. For one thing, a little levity can help to alleviate stress and defuse workplace tension. Also, it can help you come across as a little less intimidating; when team members see that you have a sense of humor, it can make them feel more comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns.
  3. Gut instinct. I highly recommend that leaders seek data and analytics before they make any big decisions, ensuring they’re being prudent and informed. At the end of the day, though, you’ve got to reach a conclusion, deciding what needs to happen for your team. Sometimes, that may mean listening to your intuition. Gut instinct may not be unerring, but sometimes it saves you from being paralyzed in indecision.
  4. Respect. Let me ask a couple of simple questions: Do your employees feel like you respect them? And if so, can you name some specific ways in which you exhibit respect? If you don’t respect your employees, it’s unlikely that you’ll keep them motivated or engaged for very long. This is a critical workplace skill for you to hone.

5. Empathy. I mentioned the importance of active listening above. Empathy is a close cousin, and an important way for you to show employees that you care about them. Work on your ability to understand what your employees are going through, professionally and personally, and to show understanding when they’re facing tough times.

6. Trust. Trust is a two-way street. Naturally, you want your team members to trust you, but you also need to feel comfortable trusting them. For example, how often do you delegate? Do you give your employees space to work on projects without micromanaging them? Do you have confidence in their ability to do the things you hired them to do? If not, maybe you shouldn’t have hired them; or maybe, you need to develop your ability to trust!

7. Dedication. Of course, you’re dedicated to your business… but are you showing it to the team? Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and help out with big projects, especially if deadlines are looming or the employees are struggling? And during a tense or busy season, are you there to offer your support, or ducking out early to play golf? Dedication is high on my list of crucial, effective leadership skills.

8. Positive thinking. Are you good at emanating positive vibes, and helping everyone around you to look on the bright side? The thing is, negativity tends to spread pretty quick, and it can suffocate workplace morale. A good leader is able to keep the mood fairly positive, and the outlook hopeful, even during tough times.

9. Inclusivity. Inclusivity is more than a buzzword. It’s an important strategy, a way to ensure that everyone on your team is positioned to offer their ideas and to contribute to final outcomes. You need everyone to feel included in order to create team cohesion and to foster employee engagement. So, are you good at fostering an environment of inclusion? Are you skilled in helping all employees feel like they are valued members of the team?

10. Curiosity. I’m a big fan of curiosity, and an admirer of curious people. When you’re curious, it means you’re constantly looking for new ways to learn, new skills to develop, new avenues for expanding your knowledge base. And, curiosity can be a catalyst for creative problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking.

This is hardly an exhaustive list of effective leadership skills, but I hope it points you toward a few competencies that remain far too underappreciated.

How to Develop Effective Solutions Oriented Leaders

As you consider your options for developing any kind of effective leadership skills, I encourage you to reach out. I’d love to talk with you about my services as a coach, consultant, and beyond. Contact me at your next opportunity and let’s talk together about the leadership skills you’d like to hone. You can always connect with me at or by calling 888-267-6098.

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