8 Essential Leadership Skills For Every Great Team Manager

8 Essential Leadership Skills Every Great Manager Has 

Although leadership skills are often talked about, written about, and hoped for in business, a succinct definition of what it entails often escapes notice. Leadership, in its many contours and faces, stands differently for people across the world.  The lack of leadership skills appears similar. It leads to team members not feeling comfortable enough to express their opinions or the leader being unable to draw the best ideas out of team members – all of which signals a waste of high potential in a team. This blog focuses on leadership skills that every good team manager must have to ensure their team is never left behind!  P.S. We’ve got free leadership skill assessments to help you out! 
Now, that’s a question for the ages. What are the fundamental leadership skills you cannot ignore? Let’s start with communication and leadership basics because they are vital to any successful team. A leader needs to be able to communicate effectively with their team members and also delegate tasks effectively so that everyone can work towards the same goal and achieve their goals. Another important skill is building rapport with others. It helps to build trust and good relationships between team members, which is critical to success. Finally, being a good role model is vital for team morale and productivity. A leader should demonstrate positive behaviors and attitudes so that others can follow suit. We will explore these skills in detail below.

We asked managers, what leadership skills do you want to develop? Here’s what they said.

At Risely, we believe in creating leadership development solutions for the leaders. And hence, we posed this question to the leaders who were signing up. In their opinion from over five thousand responses, the top leadership and management skills that they would like to work on include the following: 
  • Conducting effective one-on-one meetings
  • Guidance Ability 
  • Analytical Skills 
  • Interpersonal Skills 
  • Emotional Competence
  • Constructive Feedback
  • Decision Making
  • Time Management
Here’s a quick turn around for you: all essential leadership skills and free leadership skill assessments that you need.

One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings form the base of effective relationships and connections among team managers. Often, these meetings provide the opportunity to connect beyond professional causes and allow managers to establish a personal connection with their team members. A solid one-on-one meeting is great for catching up and sharing thoughts across personal and professional aspects. Empathy and active listening also become essential in getting this right. Yet, many do not turn out well because the managers and their team members are unaware of set structures, proper agendas, and questions to discuss. Not having one-on-one meetings is like missing out on a huge potential for team building and cohesiveness.

Emotional Competence

Oh, dear emotions! They take us up and down and all the way here and there. Managing these emotions in ourselves and others is known as emotional competence. For a manager, emotional competence is not just about controlling anger when frustrated; there’s much more to it. Emotional competence for managers includes self-awareness of emotions and feelings that help us deal with them positively by taking steps such as setting boundaries and breaks at the right times. It also includes managing the emotions of others by empowering and supporting them through tough times. Suppose you are in the middle of a difficult conversation about unmet deadlines with a team member who becomes defensive and emotional, that’s where your emotional competence comes to the rescue!

Interpersonal Skills 

A lot of people will say that management is just about talking. Yes, this is annoying. But a broken clock is somewhat right twice a day, too. Interpersonal interactions play a big role in a successful management career. It includes daily conversations with colleagues, managing stakeholders, managing conflicts among team members, and even those tricky confrontations and negotiations that make or break deals. The area of communication is a big one. While discussing interpersonal skills, you need to consider written and verbal communication and its nonverbal aspects, such as body language and the distance you are standing from the other person! A manager who cannot handle conflict or confrontation or boost collaboration would have a hard time moving the team forward.

Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is the feedback that is helpful and useful. It helps the recipient to improve their skills or knowledge and can be delivered positively or negatively. Constructive feedback should always aim to help the individual become better than they were before. It incorporates empathy, understanding, and thoughtful consideration.  Feedback is a critical leadership skill, and providing effective feedback is essential to creating a positive environment for growth. Feedback allows leaders to identify strengths, role responsibilities, and areas for improvement. It also helps individuals improve their performance and be more effective team members. Constructive feedback should be provided in a timely and effective way to create a positive environment for growth and development in the team. When giving feedback, it is essential to ensure that everyone on the team feels valued and supported.

Guidance Ability 

When you are stuck, who do you reach out to? If the answer is your manager, then you know why this skill matters. Even when we look back at our professional journeys, the people we remember are those who guided and mentored us through tough times, earning our loyalty and respect forever. A manager’s ability to guide their team effectively is directly tied to their team’s success as well as their own professional growth. A manager who has mastered guidance can steer the development of many others after them. On the other hand, ineffective guidance leaves teams confused and chaotic when trouble strikes. Guidance ability is crucial in many stages, not just for training the new folks under you. For instance, if you have to upskill someone senior, you must know the right way and opportunities to guide them. Or when your team is stuck on a challenge with a deadline approaching quickly? That’s where you need to show them the way out.

Time Management

Effective team managers need to be able to manage their time effectively. Time management skills help team managers stay organized and prioritize their tasks. A good team manager will delegate tasks and communicate effectively with other team members. They must also be able to prioritize work and make effective decisions. Team leaders must delegate work and manage communication effectively, as this will help them prioritize their tasks and meet deadlines. If team leaders can manage these tasks well, they will be successful in their roles while also setting an excellent example for their team members. Maintaining the many aspects of time management effectively helps the team managers save time and ensure that their days are ordered. A workspace free from distractions and routines that run around effectively set goals help managers achieve more with their teams.


As a team manager, making quick and informed decisions is critical. Decision-making requires the ability to listen to others and weigh different options. A good team manager also knows how to motivate and coach their team. These skills are essential for managing any team, large or small. To make effective decisions, managers must be skillful at listening to others and weighing the pros and cons of various options. Their analytical skills need to be robust as well. A good team manager knows how to help their team work effectively as a cohesive unit and define this trajectory through their decisions. They also know how to foster a positive work environment to help employees reach their full potential. It all comes down to effective decision-making skills that can help any leader succeed in any organizational role.

Analytical Skills 

Analytical skills refer to the ability to comprehend disparate sets of information and draw valuable insights from them to make decisions and solve problems. Contrary to popular opinion, analytical skills are not just about crunching big numbers! They encompass many professional qualities, including critical thinking, data analysis, decision-making under pressure, efficient problem-solving, and creativity. Analytical abilities help big time when you need to take charge and step out of the box as a manager. Without this critical mix of melodies, managers might be stuck and stagnating, further frustrating teams. Moreover, strong analytical abilities are critical to your growth when you are early in your professional journey. You can develop leadership skills through a variety of methods, including:
  • Training and education: Leadership training and education can help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead a successful team.
  • Practice and experience: Experience in leadership roles can help you learn how to lead effectively and efficiently.
  • Self-awareness: Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies as a leader can help you improve your skills and strategies for leading teams.
  • Networking: Developing relationships with other leaders in your field can help you gain insights and learn from their experience.
  • Mentoring and coaching: People with experience and expertise can step in as helping hands in your journey. Explore leadership coaching and mentorship to learn more about this.
  • Reflecting on your own leadership experiences: A periodic review of your past leadership experiences can help you reflect on the lessons learned and improve your leadership skills for future use.
Are you prepared to take on with your skillset? Test your crucial leadership skills for free now with self-assessments for managers from Risely! Risely offers leadership skills self-assessments designed by experts for managers to test the effectiveness of their abilities. The assessments highlight solid areas that will help you shine and underline weak points where you need to work. With accurate analysis guiding your growth, the leadership skill assessments pave the way for your professional success. What’s more: you can add your team’s review to your tests with a few clicks and get an all round analysis. Risely goes further as your learning buddy in solving all your people management challenges. So if you are constantly doing your team’s work or often finding yourself doing a lot of firefighting, it’s time to sign up for Risely. It brings customized learning journeys to your doorstep, where you can choose what to learn and at what pace! So check out how it works and get started today for a free 14-day trial.
Leadership skills are essential for team building, effective leadership, and achieving organizational goals. You can learn leadership skills from role models and mentors and read leadership-related materials. It’s important to develop leadership skills through self-awareness, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The more you practice leadership skills, the better you’ll get at it. To further enhance your leadership skills, keep revisiting Risely! Grab more insights: Top 5 Qualities That Make A Great Manager

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Finding The Missing Pieces: What Makes Leadership Training Successful

Finding The Missing Pieces: What Makes Leadership Training Successful

In an SHRM survey across the US, 84% of employees in the US blamed the good ol’ managers for the underperformance of teams. They said at least half of their managers could do well by brushing up their skills. Moreover, employees felt their performance could be boosted if their managers got a shot up their arms. It’s no longer a confusion where people want impact – it’s the manager’s ability to manage. But the route is more complex than it seems because the training that delivers impact is often harder to locate than an illusion.  McKinsey’s article, Getting more from your training programs, sheds light on the other side of the issue. Training is often dull, so much so that only about 25% of survey candidates witnessed an impact. Now, we are talking of more than just some boardroom lectures; we are speaking of a billion-dollar industry that is not helping L&D leaders obtain results. Some alarming figures came out in another survey by 360Learning with L&D managers across the US and Europe. In the US, 27% of learners responded that their management training was boring, while 23% said it was confusing or poorly structured. Similarly, in Germany, 23% agreed that their management training was tedious, while 31% said that it was confusing or poorly structured. 
Participated in boring training, US
27 %
Poorly structured or confusing training, US
23 %
Participated in boring training, Germany
23 %
Participated in boring training, Germany
31 %
John Ludike, the Head of Digital Talent Management & Leadership Training at Digitalent Consulting, explains:
Leadership talent management and development is fundamentally important to L&D as it enables organizations to competitively differentiate and sustain itself in the marketplace.
It goes without more emphasis on it – training is essential to raising effectiveness. At its root, training is critical in ensuring that your managers can justify their roles and envision professional growth for themselves. For you, as an L&D leader, training matters for more than that. Ensuring that your managers are trained is a key objective for you. That’s what makes your role worth it in the eyes of the organization and ensures that L&D operations are given their due share of importance in the conversation.  Yet often, training remains on the backseat, making it ineffective. In the same study by 360Learning, it was discovered that a lot of training is not continuous or personalized to the roles. Instead, it’s a nice package of tips offered to everyone who ascends to the managerial throne at a time convenient to the organization.  When these new managers are often stuck, there’s nothing to help them. The right touchpoints – the individual, their promotion to a managerial role, and their challenges, are amiss in this equation that takes heavy financial investment on one side. The challenge for L&D thus starts at the very beginning – where should training even be provided, and how much?
Even after an organization has recognized the need for training, some more issues persist. Primarily, the question is of impactful training. What constitutes effective training is a debatable question. But we do have some clarity on what’s ineffective training.  In Michael Beer, Magnus Finnstrom, and Derek Schrader’s seminal essay for the Harvard Business School titled The Great Training Robbery, we find something interesting: Companies that trained thousands of employees to kickstart major transformations in workplace behavior fell behind the only one that chose to go differently. Investment worth billions does not work until and unless the organization facilitates a new pattern of thinking and leading. When the employees faced resistance from the system, they reverted to old ways despite the engaging and comprehensive training. The training initiatives at the companies being studied succeeded only when the leaders adopted and followed the ideas laid out. Further, training on collaboration and communication was more effective in units that enabled psychological safety.  The writing on the wall is clear: effective training is complemented by widespread organizational changes to embody the values and attitudes you want to cherish. Unlike economics, the trickle-down effect is a little less debated and more supported by facts here. Thus, leadership training to create the ideal team members and reinforce values becomes all the more critical for L&D professionals and the HR function.  The conventional training set-up as a series of sessions, now modified into self-paced courses, has been deemed inadequate for years. But here’s the thing: a bad process after being digitized becomes a bad digital process. The mode of delivery is not going to switch things up. With the advent of AI and the rise of online training, the human experience has become a key determinant of successful training. So, what will work? 
Denise Fekete, Talent Development, AI tools and Change Management Consultant, offers a perspective on this with focus on three key areas: diverse learning tools, a centralized knowledge base, and social learning.
  1. Diverse learning tools call for multiple approaches. Think of how varied managerial roles can be. What a project manager needs to learn is best delivered through storytelling, while an employee relations manager‘s need might be fulfilled better with case studies. And that’s just one instance; every manager training would ideally incorporate multiple modes to ensure that monotony does not set in and every valuable lesson gets imparted correctly. It also allows L&D teams to use external resources on top of the internal material – enabling better coverage of the topics. 
  2. A centralized knowledge base exists to solve problems when the trainees are learning themselves. First, it is an excellent resource for facilitating independent learning in one spot and is available to all without jumping through time-consuming bureaucratic hoops. Second, a centralized knowledge base supports the standardization of information delivered in training across many people. 
  3. Lastly, social learning allows managers to learn processes and systems with their teams, model the right leadership behaviors and organizational values, and get real-time feedback and support. Social learning enables the sustainment of the information presented through the learning experience.
When delivering training, John Ludike highlights end-to-end change enactment and management as one of the most common challenges. His assessment is supported by numerous L&D leaders looking for ways to track and demonstrate the impact of their initiatives effectively. 
“The measures of effective management leadership development are simply by providing evidence before and after the design, development, and deployment of solutions that have contributed to what we refer to as the organization’s leadership brand.”Johan Ludike, Head of Digital Talent Management & Leadership Training at Digitalent Consulting
Engage in conversations with stakeholders about the business outcomes of your work. Present your plans in a language that makes sense to the person in front of you because your KPIs, be they engagement, retention, or knowledge transfer, take time to track precisely and communicate further. Instead, the merit lies in sharing where your interventions fit in and showing change.  Demonstrating such impact can be challenging with the traditional methods of leadership training. You made your team attend a webinar on communication skills. Excellent, but how much of it was applied at work?  Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist in the late 19th Century, led experimental studies of memory and gave “The Forgetting Curve.” His primary insight was that if new information isn’t applied, we’ll forget about 75% after just six days!
Moreover, only a few employees get opportunities to apply new skills learned in L&D programs to their jobs. These things are essential while evaluating leadership training at your organization. While there are challenges, there are some ways out, too.  L&D managers can take note of several things to ensure that training sticks: 

Think of Context

Leadership training cannot be one-size-fits-all. Instead, focus on the specific challenges your leaders will deal with. Cut through the noise to build some transferable qualities in your leaders that help them in multiple real-life scenarios, not just in getting the perfect score in the end assessment.

Train, Continuously

In the US, as many as 30% of candidates identified that management training either came too early or too late. This happens when there are no set areas to train managers in. Deliver it too early, and most of it does not find relevance. Be late, and the challenges are already there. L&D teams must find the spot for providing leadership training and building systems to reinforce it. 

Integrate Humans and Tech

One of the most common issues with training is that it is dull and unengaging. To solve this, Denise suggests enhancing human interaction throughout the process. Focus on interventions that balance both sides, scale using tech, and empathize through real people.

Focus on Impact

Most importantly as an L&D leader, show your impact on the business side. Leave the chase of perfect KPIs behind because even after completing assessments with perfect scores, many employees skip over the lessons and take away nothing from the training.

Remember that Training is not a Panacea

In the words of Amy Edmondson of HBS and Anita Woolley of Carnegie Mellon— organizations need “fertile soil” in place before the “seeds” of training interventions can grow. Prepare the team culture by getting the leaders on board for the impact you wish to create before kickstarting training.
The landscape of leadership training is marked by both challenges and opportunities, as revealed through surveys and insights from industry leaders. The traditional approach to training, often criticized for its ineffectiveness, has prompted a shift toward more dynamic and impactful strategies. The need for continuous and personalized training, coupled with the demand for contextual relevance, calls for a departure from standardized, one-size-fits-all programs.  However, the ultimate success of leadership training hinges on its alignment with broader organizational changes and its tangible impact on business outcomes. As learning and development professionals navigate the complexities of leadership training, emphasizing context, continuous learning, human-tech integration, and a focus on demonstrable impact becomes imperative. It is through these concerted efforts that leadership training can truly become a catalyst for organizational growth and development.

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AI and Management: Preparing for the New Way of Work

AI and Management: Preparing for the New Way of Work

Nearly a century ago, celebrated economist Keynes remarked, “We are being afflicted with a new disease – technological unemployment.” As we stand on the verge of a new technological revolution in a post-pandemic world, our understanding of work, workplaces, and workers is set to be altered once again.  Frequent layoffs have become a thing of the present era without much anticipation of relief as the global economy continues its downturn. But there’s another entity to blame: AI. The threat of artificial intelligence on various jobs is rising; the fear has now taken up a new name – AI exposure. Yet, there is much to be understood in this discourse, which is increasingly shaped by alarming voices rather than clear ideas.  Earlier this year, a report by the multinational HR company Challenger, Gray & Christmas revealed that AI was responsible for 4,000 jobs lost in May, accounting for 4.9% of all jobs lost across sectors in the month in the US. The findings triggered rapid reactions and apprehensions about the future of work, with statements from organizations like IBM and the US’s National Eating Disorder Association, which adopted an AI chatbot to replace its helpline services, pointing toward a future of work compatible with AI. Fears of job replacement are not unfounded, but how valid are they in the present? Let’s find out right from the beginning. 

Previous Eras of Change

The 21st century is not the first time technological change has come knocking and changed how we work. It has happened before, twice, primarily if we go by the trends.

The Responses to Industrial Revolution

In the summers of 1830, Barthélemy Thimonnier was a happy man. A French tailor, he had patented a design for sewing machines and set up the first machine-based clothing manufacturing unit to cater to the needs of the French army.  With success, trouble followed suit. Thimonnier’s workshop was the center of a riot, and angry workers burned down his factory over the fear of losing their livelihood as machine arms were replacing their hands. Thus began the first foray of man and machine over an industry that was set to be revolutionized in the years to come with the help of much more advanced technologies. 

Digital Revolution and the Future

A hundred years passed, and humanity looked at a similar yet broader challenge. In a world that had been made so different by the Industrial Revolution, another wave of technology rushed in. While meeting skepticism initially, the broad consensus now agrees that digital technology alters and creates jobs.  An ILO study focusing on the EU gave much more clarity: digital skills are set to become the bedrock of effective work along with non-cognitive skills. A supplementary function of technology is set to redefine many jobs, especially those at high risk of automation. This puts the spotlight on the managers and HR professionals leading organizations through these changes and preparing them to adapt.

Present and Beyond – The New Wave of Change

The present age is marked by technology assisting humans in every nook and corner. There is a marked shift from the sewing machine riots of the earlier centuries – technology is now viewed as a complementary force instead of a challenger.  Hence, the popular opinion calls for a mid-way, where workers upskill themselves to become more productive by utilizing technologies. Organizations are called in to support this transition by enabling opportunities for their workers.  
Anywhere between 75 and 375 million workers (3% to 14% of the global workforce) will seek career alternatives by 2030 to stay relevant as companies increasingly seek automated solutions. Jobs lost, jobs gained, McKinsey

What’s Happening? And What’s More?

David Autor, MIT economist, noted, “A lot of professional work combines some element of routine information processing with an element of judgment and discretion. That’s where software has always fallen short. But with AI that type of work is much more in the kill path.” Such ideas bring us back to what we started with – the prediction of technological unemployment. Before heading on developing responses to the new wave of technologies that include AI, immersive techs like AR and VR, and much more, the key lies in understanding what impact they will create. Yet, there is a gap here. A number of studies are conducted across the US and EU to explore these areas, which leave out the Global South. These studies, like the one focusing on the EU, have revealed that the vulnerability of a job to AI varies across many factors – including how work is done, where it is done, and who the workers are.  It further requires strong assumptions about future demand for goods and services, organization of production processes, rate of adoption of technologies, cultural and institutional factors, and changes in consumer preference. Interestingly, the impact focuses heavily on white collar workers, who have been largely assumed to be safe from such shifts. As Pew Research reports, jobs in high-paying fields that typically need a college education and analytical skills are ranked higher for AI exposure.  Still, we can surmise a few key points: 
  • Jobs that do not involve complex social interactions and have routine processes are more susceptible to automation. 
  • Job creation is going to compensate for these changes. As new tech evolves, it will create novel opportunities and jobs to mitigate the negative impact. 
  • AI changes things: While the earlier eras hurt the blue collar workers, white collar employees are facing the brunt now. 
Such a picture leads us to job growth that is uneven and concentrated at both ends of the ladder. At the first end, we have minute skills that machines cannot replicate, while social interactions that enable business lie at another. 

The 21st Century Manager

Over the years, managers and leaders have become an essential element in the success of any organization through their resourcefulness and strategic insights. As the world heads toward a new way of working, this profession is set to digest wide-ranging changes as well. A glimpse of these changes became evident during the pandemic-induced remote working modes. The managers of the day favor a definition that emphasizes collective growth and agility with a strong focus on efficiency. How well does this profession hold on against AI? Let’s try to figure out.

From Personnel Management to Human Resources

As work has changed – from being organized primarily around manufacturing centers to concentrating on providing services – the importance of managers is felt more vital than ever. Things started picking pace with the Industrial Revolution, later creating the space where the concepts of Scientific Management and Administrative Management played out until the need for a human touch was felt!  As the field of personnel management stood at a nascent stage in those eras, some substantial changes and contributions later cemented themselves as the classical and neoclassical schools of management theory. In the present age, however, there is a lack of developments that can prepare managers to tackle new challenges head-on.

AI in Management: Envisioning the Future

Currently, automation is set to have widely varying impacts across countries and sectors. The positive side is that automation and AI for managers cannot replace functions like people management that rely heavily on social interaction. It ensures that jobs in the management field are primarily safe from a wipe-out. But does that mean consistency in the roles itself? Probably not. The inclusion of AI at work does not replace but instead redefines jobs. So, the people in one role might not lose jobs, but they would work differently.  For instance, for an HR Generalist, the addition of technology ensures that they are cutting down on manual tasks – payroll management is automated, surveys are digital, and forums are hosted online! As per McKinsey, management features in the list of areas estimated to witness the highest job growth upon automation. Some indicators point to 75% growth in India and around 15% in the US within the industry by 2030. 

AI in Management: A Challenger, or a Helping Hand?

Companies like Hilton and American Express that have adopted AI in some aspects of their work are returning for more. The world for managers is taking a new turn for sure. As the WEF also highlighted, by automating the administrative aspects of a manager’s role, there’s much more that they can do with their soft skills. Based on surveys, people are excited to welcome AI and technology into their workplaces. There is a split here as well.
While workers rank managers better in areas like empathy and coaching, they prefer a robot when they need unbiased information, manage data, and manage schedules for day-to-day stuff. Hence, AI in management is taking up some functions and allowing managers to focus extensively on the rest. The manager of the future uses their excellent soft skills to build a great team culture and envisions success through strategic planning instead of muddling their head in sheets and schedules. Moreover, there lies the question of adoption of AI for managers in workplaces. An unwelcoming culture and lack of data show up as the most significant hurdles in the way of AI adoption at work for management professionals. Managers who can work along these lines by understanding the scope and utility of tech, as well as executing it effectively, are needed to build the future of work. So, to sum up, there are twin capabilities to balance and develop as managers – people management and technology management. 

The Case for Building Skills in the Era of AI and Management

Now that the world of a manager is not just limited to their teams, their skills also call for a broader approach. As managers in the present era, some defining qualities become the sine qua non, namely, agility and empathy. An agile framework for managers, encapsulated in a growth mindset, would be the key to professional and personal success. While the world undergoes rapid changes, managers must also tackle novel challenges that arise with the broader use of advanced tech across generations; focusing on empathy in these interactions is vital for success. 

Managerial Skills – What to Build and Break

A paper from the Journal of Decision Systems, titled “The impacts of artificial intelligence on managerial skills” signals changes in the managerial skill sets of the day based on inputs from over a hundred AI experts. First, there are some areas that AI for managers will augment and support. Think of functions that can help managers save time and raise efficiency – analyzing complex data to support decision-making, screening profiles, dealing with work pressure through solid time management and scheduling, etc.  On this extreme lies another set of skills that AI in management can replace to a large extent with the proper backing from organizations. These include functions that call for routine cognitive tasks such as gathering information and making simple decisions. The last and most exciting part includes skills that will be the need of the hour to envision and execute an AI-powered workplace as a manager. First, managers need to start with technical know-how to understand the technologies they are working with. HRs rate the ability to use AI tools as the top preferred digital skill but simultaneously expect a wide gap and training opportunities, too, signaling the need for coaching and guidance ability on the part of managers.  Moreover, AI and management together make a risky business. There are potential harms that come along with the benefits. Managers need to be prepared to handle risk and the ethical and behavioral challenges bound to arise from these interventions. Hence, judgment and ethical decision-making abilities become very important.  Lastly, the movement of an organization from a conventional to an AI-led approach to work is a significant shift. Managers leading this change need to be open-minded and spread the same ideas. Effective communication to secure buy-in and establish trust, change management to facilitate the move, and collaboration across the various functions would be essential skills to hone for any manager.  But not all is about what’s about to happen. Some areas remain constant as the manager’s field of play, namely, leadership and imagination. The complex interactions and skills needed here are beyond the realm of AI and remain critical abilities for successful managers. 

How to Grow skills? Searching Solutions that Solve for the Present

This occasion gives an excellent opportunity to remember the first law of digital innovation: Technology changes quickly, but organizations change much more slowly. Given that there is an evident shift in skills, managers need to succeed; the question is – can managers navigate these changes? Here, we need to think of what managers need to do to build their skills. There is the same old list: we have management gurus sharing success mantras, three-day workshops that cover everything, and self-led paths with questionable conclusions. Organizations are experiencing an evident gap in solutions that solve for the present – a fast-paced world where problems need resolutions as they come. 
Many learners find it tedious to watch lengthy video content. Traditional training methods, besides being both time-consuming and costly, frequently fall short of meeting the demands of modern workplaces. Through my extensive conversations with Learning and Development (L&D) professionals throughout the years, I’ve concluded that there is a strong demand for interactive learning tools, specifically customized videos that captivate learners effectively. Furthermore, incorporating features such as self-paced learning and incentives along the learning path can significantly boost completion rates. Effective training for professional success should be tailored to individuals’ specific requirements rather than relying on monotonous slides and seminars.”  Vishnu Raned, CEO of VideoKen
The new leadership and manager development solutions must sing the tale of the time. All in all, the approach needs: 
  • A fast-paced method that solves challenges in real-time 
  • Personalization over generic ideas to enable precise interventions 
  • Multiple avenues to involve various perspectives and cultivate innovation 
  • Presentation in easily accessible as well as modern formats
Nonetheless, many organizations are searching for the perfect development solution for their managers. A lot of them believe that their workforce already has the necessary skills, while the workers wait for training and help to navigate new technologies as they come. 

Anxieties Over AI in Management and Overcoming Them

The presence of AI in management along with other advanced technology undoubtedly leads to career anxiety among management professionals. Accenture’s H. James Wilson, managing director, says, “The No. 1 source of worker anxiety is around ensuring the relevance of their skills.” With the predictions of significant job changes in the job market and roles, there are apparent concerns about future bug managers. However, managers can overcome these risks by building the skills needed for the future of work. As AI cannot reach specific areas, leadership and imagination remain the entitlements of managers.  Until now, professionals have had to compete with other professionals who have their own unique set of strengths and challenges. This competition has been relatively high, as we all know. And to top all this, we now have AI to compete with. With all this, workplace stress has become a regular visitor in our lives. So much so that we don’t even notice when this stress takes the shape of anxiety, and a significant part of our time and energy goes into analyzing all things that could go wrong, our (perceived) shortcomings, lack of skill, etc. And technological advancements indeed make our lives turn around like AI is now. But it’s also true that we eventually come back to the unique qualities and attributes that humans bring, which AI cannot. Yes, AI can change how humans work, and we should use it to enhance our work and guide us to growth and development as leaders. A few ways to get started on a healthy note with AI in management can be: 
  • Be aware and proud of your unique attributes that make you helpful at the workplace.
  • Education and self-awareness – be truthful about how much you know and what else you need to learn.    
  • Keep yourself updated with new advancements so that you don’t get behind.
  • Collaborate and connect with colleagues and mentors to share your concerns.
  • Incorporate AI into your teams in smaller projects instead of large-scale implementations. Understand how it works and impacts your team, and learn and grow from there.


As we look to the future, it’s evident that we’re on the cusp of a new technological revolution, reshaping the landscape of work, workplaces, and the role of workers. The ominous specter of technological unemployment, once foreseen by Keynes, has taken on a new form – AI exposure. This era is marked by the rapid integration of artificial intelligence into various facets of work, raising concerns about the future of employment.  Historically, humanity has weathered technological changes, notably the Industrial and Digital Revolutions, which transformed how we work. These shifts had their share of challenges and opportunities, and the advent of AI is no exception. However, AI’s role is more complementary than adversarial. Workers are expected to upskill and work alongside technology, fostering a more nuanced relationship. As AI redefines roles, managers, often seen as safe from automation, are also experiencing shifts in their functions. AI isn’t replacing managers; it’s augmenting their capabilities. To thrive in this evolving landscape, managers need to develop a dual proficiency in people management and technology management. They must possess the skills to harness AI in management to enhance their decision-making and efficiency while remaining committed to fostering collaboration, innovation, and a positive work culture. While the advent of AI in management understandably brings anxieties about job security and relevance, managers can overcome these challenges by embracing the technology and focusing on developing their leadership and imaginative skills. AI for managers may complement their abilities, but it cannot replace the unique qualities that define the role of a manager in the workplace. By doing so, you can confidently navigate the ever-changing world of work and lead your teams to success in an AI-enhanced future.

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Be a Top Lead Sales Manager: 10 Tips and Examples

Be a Top Lead Sales Manager: 10 Tips and Examples

Being a Lead Sales Manager is not an easy task. It requires unique skills, including excellent communication, leadership qualities, and the ability to motivate a team. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about becoming a successful Lead Sales Manager. From understanding who is a lead sales manager to differentiating between a sales lead and a sales manager, we have covered everything. We will also provide you with our top 10 tips on how to effectively lead your sales team with examples of how to implement them. Additionally, we will discuss how to manage a sales meeting effectively by planning. By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with all the necessary knowledge to become an expert Lead Sales Manager and achieve maximum success in your role.

Who is a Lead Sales Manager?

Lead sales managers are responsible for guiding and overseeing a team of sales professionals. They provide strategic direction and support to drive revenue growth and achieve sales targets. Collaborating with other departments they ensure alignment to maximize sales opportunities. As a lead sales manager, your key responsibilities include setting sales targets and motivating your sales team to achieve them. You also provide coaching and training to improve their skills and performance. Analyzing sales data allows you to identify trends and make data-driven decisions. Building strong relationships with clients and key stakeholders is essential. Additionally, continuously monitoring and optimizing the sales process drives efficiency and effectiveness. You can effectively lead your sales team to success by fulfilling these responsibilities.

Sales Lead vs Sales Manager

Sales Lead and Sales Manager are essential roles within a sales organization but have distinct responsibilities and functions. Here are some key similarities and differences between these two roles:


  • Sales Focus: Both roles primarily focus on driving sales and revenue for the organization. They work towards achieving sales targets and goals.
  • Customer Interaction: Sales Leads and Sales Managers interact with customers and clients. They may engage in sales meetings, negotiations, and relationship-building with potential and existing customers.
  • Team Collaboration: In many cases, both Sales Leads and Managers work closely with sales teams and collaborate on sales strategies and tactics.


  • Position and Hierarchy:
    • Sales Lead: Sales Leads are typically individual contributors or team leaders who oversee a smaller group of salespeople. They report to Sales Managers.
    • Sales Manager: Sales Managers are typically in a higher managerial position and are responsible for managing multiple sales teams or a larger group of salespeople. They often report to higher-level executives or directors.
  • Responsibilities:
    • Sales Lead: Sales Leads are often responsible for directly generating sales, prospecting, closing deals, and meeting individual or team quotas. They may also provide coaching and mentoring to junior sales team members.
    • Sales Manager: Sales Managers have a broader set of responsibilities, including setting sales targets, creating and implementing sales strategies, performance management, team development, and reporting to higher management.
  • Leadership and Decision-Making:
    • Sales Lead: While Sales Leads may provide guidance and leadership within their team, their decision-making authority is typically limited compared to Sales Managers.
    • Sales Manager: Sales Managers have greater decision-making authority and are responsible for making strategic decisions that affect the entire sales department.
  • Coaching and Development:
    • Sales Lead: Sales Leads may coach and guide individual team members to improve their sales skills.
    • Sales Manager: Sales Managers play a more significant role in coaching, training, and developing their entire sales team, focusing on long-term team growth and success.
Here is an interesting read on the top 5 qualities that make a great leader.

How to Lead a Sales Team: Top 10 Tips

Leading sales teams can be a challenging but rewarding role. Here are the top 10 tips for being an effective lead sales manager:
  • Lead by Example:
    • Demonstrating a strong work ethic and effective sales techniques sets a positive example for your team. Your actions should reflect the behavior you expect from your team members.
    • Example: As a Sales Manager, you consistently call important leads, close deals, and engage in follow-up activities to demonstrate effective sales techniques to your team.
  • Set Clear Goals and Expectations:
    • Define clear and achievable sales targets, both individually and as a team. Ensure your team knows what’s expected of them and how their performance will be measured.
    • Example: You set weekly and monthly sales targets for each team member and regularly review their progress. For instance, you might say, “This month, we aim for a 20% increase in revenue from last month.”
  • Provide Ongoing Training and Development:
  • Effective Communication:
    • Maintain open and transparent communication with your team. Regularly share updates, feedback, and essential information. Encourage your team to ask questions and provide feedback.
    • Example: You hold a daily morning meeting to share updates on leads, deals in progress, and any changes in company strategy, keeping your team informed and aligned.
  • Motivate and Recognize Achievements:
    • Recognize and celebrate the successes of your team members. Offer incentives, rewards, or recognition for hitting targets and milestones. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivation.
    • Example: When a team member achieves their monthly quota, you publicly acknowledge their achievement, perhaps with a “Salesperson of the Month” award or a bonus.
  • Empower and Delegate:
    • Give your team members autonomy and responsibility. Trust them to make decisions and handle their accounts or leads. Empowerment can increase job satisfaction and performance.
    • Example: You delegate specific territories or key accounts to individual team members, giving them autonomy to manage those relationships and make decisions.
  • Foster a Collaborative Environment:
    • Encourage teamwork and collaboration among your sales team members. Sharing insights and best practices can help everyone improve and learn from one another.
    • Example: You encourage team members to hold regular brainstorming sessions to share successful sales strategies and learn from one another’s experiences.
  • Provide Constructive Feedback:
    • Offer constructive feedback to help your team members improve. Focus on their strengths and areas for growth. Support them in developing a plan to address areas needing improvement.
    • Example: During one-on-one meetings, you provide feedback on a team member’s recent client presentation, highlighting what they did well and suggesting areas for improvement.
  • Adapt to Change:
    • The sales environment is dynamic. Be prepared to adapt to changes in the market, customer preferences, and product offerings. Encourage your team to be flexible and open to change.
    • Example: When there’s a shift in market demand, you guide your team in modifying their approach and product positioning to meet changing customer needs.
  • Use Technology and Data:
    • Leverage technology and data analytics to help your team work smarter. Implement CRM systems, sales analytics, and other tools to track performance and identify areas for improvement.
    • Example: You regularly review CRM data to identify trends and opportunities, helping your team prioritize leads and allocate resources effectively.
Remember that effective leadership involves managing your team, developing their skills, and helping them reach their full potential. Creating a positive, supportive, and goal-oriented sales culture can improve team performance and, ultimately, increase sales results.

Managing a Sales Meeting Effectively

Effective sales meetings are crucial for keeping your sales team informed, motivated, and on track to achieve their goals. Here are five ways to manage a sales meeting effectively:
  • Set Clear Objectives: Before the meeting, define clear objectives and goals. What do you want to achieve during this meeting? Whether reviewing performance, sharing updates, or addressing challenges, having a clear purpose will keep the discussion focused.
  • Create an Agenda: Develop a structured agenda and distribute it to participants in advance. Include time allocations for each topic, and prioritize the most important items. This ensures the meeting stays on track and doesn’t get derailed by unrelated discussions.
  • Engage and Encourage Participation: Encourage active participation from all team members. Create a culture where team members feel comfortable sharing their insights, asking questions, and offering suggestions. This can lead to valuable discussions and the sharing of best practices.
  • Use Technology Wisely: Leverage technology to enhance the meeting’s effectiveness. Use visual aids like slides or charts to illustrate key points. Additionally, consider using video conferencing or collaboration tools for remote team members. However, be mindful of overusing technology, which can lead to disengagement.
  • Follow-Up and Action Items: After the meeting, send out meeting minutes or a summary of what was discussed, including action items and responsibilities. This ensures everyone is on the same page regarding next steps and expectations. Follow up on action items at the next meeting to track progress.


In conclusion, being a successful lead sales manager requires strong leadership skills, effective communication, and a deep understanding of the sales process. Following the tips outlined in this guide, you can create a cohesive team, set achievable goals, and implement strategies that drive results. Remember to prioritize clear communication, provide regular training sessions, and foster a healthy work-life balance for your team. With these practices in place, you’ll be well on your way to success as a lead sales manager. Keep empowering your team and leading them towards greater heights of success.

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Negotiation Skills for Leaders: A Complete Guide with 7 Proven Tips

Negotiation Skills for Leaders: A Complete Guide with 7 Proven Tips

As a leader, your negotiation skills are crucial to your success. Negotiation is more than just haggling over prices and deals; it’s about building relationships, solving conflicts, and making sound decisions that benefit everyone involved. In this post, we will explore the importance of negotiation skills for leaders and how effective negotiation contributes to leadership success with real-life examples of successful negotiations. We will also discuss the different negotiation styles – integrative and distributive – and give you seven proven tips to enhance your negotiation skills. From knowing your strengths and weaknesses to being prepared to compromise, these tips will help you become a better negotiator, build stronger relationships, and achieve greater success in both your personal and professional life.

What are Negotiation Skills?

Negotiation skills are the abilities and techniques to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement between two or more parties. These skills are essential in various aspects of life, including business, relationships, and everyday interactions. Some essential negotiation skills include effective communication, active listening, problem-solving, empathy, flexibility, and assertiveness. These skills help individuals navigate conflicts, find common ground, and achieve win-win outcomes. Developing strong negotiation skills can enhance your ability to advocate for your interests while maintaining positive relationships with others. Whether you’re negotiating a business deal, resolving a conflict with a partner, or making decisions as a team, honing your negotiation skills can lead to better outcomes and improved relationships.
Read more: 8 Essential Leadership Skills For Every Great Team Manager

The Importance of Negotiation Skills for Leaders

Enhancing leadership effectiveness through negotiation skills is crucial for successful leadership. Negotiation skills are essential as they enable leaders to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and navigate complex business situations. Leaders with solid negotiation skills contribute significantly to the success of their organizations. By developing and honing these skills, leaders can effectively negotiate at the bargaining table, whether in real estate, dispute resolution, or other areas of life. Successful leaders recognize that negotiation skills are essential in customer service, where finding common ground and reaching a satisfactory conclusion is crucial. Leaders can confidently navigate complex negotiations and identify the most appropriate course of action by mastering negotiation skills.

Role of Negotiation in Management

Negotiation plays a crucial role in management, particularly in managing conflicts and resolving disputes. Leaders can build strong stakeholder relationships by utilizing practical negotiation skills and fostering collaboration and cooperation. Additionally, negotiation is essential in managing resources and allocating budgets, ensuring optimal utilization while maintaining organizational goals and objectives. Successful negotiations also facilitate alignment between management and team members, leading to a shared vision and increased productivity. Moreover, effective negotiations contribute to better decision-making and problem-solving by incorporating diverse perspectives and finding mutually beneficial solutions. Overall, the role of negotiation in management is instrumental in promoting effective communication, conflict resolution and creating a conducive work environment. Read more: Understanding persuasion and negotiation with 10 examples to become a better manager

How does Effective Negotiation Contribute to Leadership Success?

Effective negotiation skills play a crucial role in contributing to leadership success. By possessing strong negotiation abilities, leaders can enhance their influence and persuasion skills, effectively communicating their ideas and convincing others to take action. Also, good negotiation skills help leaders build rapport and trust with their teams, fostering positive relationships that increase productivity. Successful negotiations also contribute to a leader’s credibility and reputation. When leaders can achieve mutually beneficial outcomes through negotiation, they demonstrate their ability to find creative solutions and make informed decisions. It enhances their standing within the organization and among their peers. Furthermore, effective negotiators can inspire and motivate their teams towards achieving goals. By employing negotiation techniques such as active listening, understanding interests, and practicing compromise, leaders can align their team’s objectives with those of the organization. It boosts team morale and cultivates a culture of excellence and achievement.

Real-Life Examples of Successful Negotiation Skills

  • Apple successfully negotiated with record labels to distribute music on iTunes, revolutionizing the digital music industry. Oprah Winfrey’s exceptional negotiation skills helped her secure lucrative deals for her television network, establishing her as a media mogul.
  • Amazon effectively negotiated with publishers, allowing them to offer favorable e-book terms and dominate the e-commerce market. The auto industry witnessed successful negotiations between unions and management, improving working conditions and productivity. 
  • Find more here: 6 Examples of Negotiation and Communication Skills at Work for Managers
These real-life examples exemplify the power of negotiation techniques and demonstrate their impact across various sectors, including technology, media, commerce, and environmental policy. Each negotiation involved careful preparation, strategic decision-making, and effective communication to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. By studying these success stories, leaders can gain valuable insights into negotiation and apply them to their professional and personal lives.

Understanding Different Types of Negotiation Skills

Integrative Negotiation

Integrative or collaborative negotiation focuses on expanding the pie and creating mutual benefits for all parties involved. This approach emphasizes collaborative problem-solving, finding solutions that satisfy common interests, and promoting long-term relationships and partnerships. Effective communication and open-mindedness are crucial in integrative negotiation, as they facilitate the exchange of ideas and help build trust between negotiators.

Distributive Negotiation

Distributive negotiation, or competitive or win-lose negotiation, revolves around claiming value and maximizing individual gains. In this type of negotiation, conflicts and differences need to be effectively managed through strategic strategies. Understanding power dynamics is crucial during distributive negotiation as it helps negotiators navigate the process. Being prepared for concessions and trade-offs is important since they are common aspects of distributive negotiations. Skilled negotiators in this realm can leverage alternatives to improve outcomes. Catch more details here: Types of Negotiations: Your Ultimate Toolkit for Effective Communication

7 Proven Tips to Enhance Your Negotiation Skills

Implementing these seven proven tips can enhance your negotiation skills and achieve successful outcomes. Whether in business, real estate, or any other area of life, these strategies are invaluable for effective negotiation. Remember, negotiation is not just about winning but also about finding mutually beneficial solutions. So, prepare, communicate, listen, and negotiate with confidence.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Self-awareness of your negotiation strengths and weaknesses is crucial. By understanding where you excel and where you may fall short, you can effectively play to your strengths and achieve favorable outcomes in negotiations. Identifying and addressing your weaknesses is equally important, allowing you to improve your negotiation effectiveness. Seek feedback from colleagues or mentors and focus on continuous improvement in your negotiation skills. Remember, adaptability is critical. Be open to adjusting your negotiation style based on your strengths and weaknesses to maximize success at the bargaining table.

Understand the Other Party’s Interests

To negotiate effectively, it is essential to understand the other party’s interests and motivations. By exploring the underlying factors that drive their decision-making, you can find common ground and create value for all parties involved. Asking open-ended questions helps gain insights into their priorities and allows for a deeper understanding of their needs. Building trust and rapport through empathy further strengthens the negotiation process. Effective negotiators focus on finding mutually beneficial solutions rather than solely focusing on their objectives. By understanding the other party’s interests, you can tailor your approach and propose solutions that address their concerns. It increases the chances of reaching a negotiated agreement and enhances the long-term relationship.

Develop Excellent Communication Skills

Developing excellent communication skills is crucial in negotiations. Effective communication lays the foundation for building solid relationships and resolving conflicts. During negotiations, expressing your thoughts and goals clearly and concisely is essential to ensure mutual understanding. Active listening is another crucial aspect of communication that promotes collaboration and empathy. Paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues allows you to grasp the underlying interests and concerns of the other party. Adapting your communication style to meet the other party’s needs can foster a more productive discussion and increase the chances of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Cultivating outstanding communication skills enhances your ability to navigate complex negotiations and achieve successful outcomes.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial skill in negotiations. By actively listening, you can better understand the other party’s perspective and create a conducive environment for effective communication. It involves showing genuine interest by maintaining eye contact, asking clarifying questions, ensuring clear communication, and avoiding unnecessary interruptions. Active listening also entails reflecting on what is being said and demonstrating empathy towards the emotions behind the words. It helps to establish trust and build rapport with the other party. Practicing active listening is particularly important in complex negotiations, such as real estate or business, where a negotiated agreement can have significant implications.

Be Prepared to Compromise

In negotiations, it is crucial to understand that finding a middle ground often becomes necessary. Being prepared to compromise is key to achieving a successful outcome. Identifying areas where you can be flexible and willing to make concessions is essential. It is important to consider the needs and interests of the other party when proposing compromises. You create opportunities for a mutually beneficial agreement by staying open-minded and exploring alternative solutions. The negotiation process can involve complex discussions, but effective negotiation techniques such as mediation or alternative dispute resolution increase the chances of reaching a satisfactory resolution. Remember, negotiation skills are valuable not only in business but also in various areas of life. Strive for a negotiated agreement that satisfies both parties, enabling a win-win scenario.


In conclusion, negotiation skills are essential for leaders in any industry. Effective negotiation can contribute to the success of a leader by fostering collaboration, building strong relationships, and achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. Real-life examples demonstrate how negotiation skills have been instrumental in resolving conflicts, securing deals, and driving business growth. Understanding different types of negotiation, such as integrative and distributive negotiation, empowers leaders to adapt their approach based on the situation. Leaders can become more strategic, empathetic, and influential negotiators by following the seven proven tips to enhance negotiation skills. Remember, negotiation is not about winning or losing; it’s about finding common ground and creating win-win solutions. So, invest in developing your negotiation skills and watch your leadership effectiveness soar.

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Getting the Best Results with Leadership Mentors: A Complete Guide

Getting the Best Results with Leadership Mentors: A Complete Guide

As a manager, you know that leadership and managerial skills are essential for success. But developing these skills can be challenging. Having a good leadership mentor can help in this journey. A mentor is someone who can provide guidance and support as you work to develop your leadership and managerial skills. There are many benefits to using a leadership mentor, including improved communication, teamwork skills, and problem-solving abilities. However, there are also some potential downsides to consider, such as the time and money required for mentorship. To make the best decision for you, ask yourself some questions about using a leadership mentor – and then get started!

Who is a Leadership Mentor?

Skills development is essential for any leader – whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional. But sometimes, finding the right resources or tools to help you achieve your goals can be challenging. That’s where a leadership mentor comes in. A mentor is a person who has the experience and knowledge to offer guidance and support. They have been in your shoes and done with the problems you might be currently facing. They can act as a sounding board for your ideas and help you develop your skills in leadership. They should also have the requisite skills to give constructive feedback – someone with expertise in the area you’re trying to improve. Having a mentor can significantly assist your skills development and help you achieve your goals faster. Leadership mentoring programs are typically conducted to train employees for leadership roles. Using this method, the employees can gain leadership insights from people who have already been in the role. This makes things easier as you do not have to figure out everything from scratch. Get more insights to boost your growth: Leadership Development: The Complete Guide with 9 Impactful Tips

What role does a leadership mentor play in your growth?

A leadership mentor plays a vital role in your growth by offering guidance and wisdom from their experiences. Their insights help you navigate challenges with greater effectiveness as a manager and make informed decisions. Additionally, their support is personalized to your unique strengths, goals, and development areas, accelerating your growth by addressing specific needs. Moreover, mentors expose you to diverse viewpoints, expanding your perspective and fostering creative problem-solving. They also provide networking opportunities by introducing you to their professional connections, enhancing your visibility and access to valuable opportunities. Significantly, a mentor’s belief in your potential boosts your self-confidence, empowering you to embrace challenges and step out of your comfort zone. Read more: Why having a workplace mentor is crucial for your career success?

How to build a good relationship with your leadership mentor?

Building a strong relationship with your leadership mentor begins with open communication. Maintaining transparent and honest dialogue allows you to share your goals, challenges, and progress, enabling them to provide relevant guidance. Active listening is crucial – pay close attention to their insights and feedback, demonstrating your value for their input and expertise. Respect their time constraints by being punctual for meetings and discussions, showcasing your appreciation for their commitment. Implementing the feedback and advice they provide is essential; taking action based on their guidance reflects your dedication to growth. Lastly, show gratitude for their support and investment in your development – a sincere “thank you” goes a long way in acknowledging their contribution to your journey.

Pros of Using Leadership Mentors

There’s no doubt that leadership is an important skill and one that can be improved through dedicated training and mentorship. However, there are a few pros to using leadership mentors for skill building.

Gain experience-based know-how and insights

Firstly, a leadership mentor can give you insights into different management styles and how they’ve been successful in the past. This can give you a better understanding of the management techniques that are currently in use and help you develop a better work ethic. The mentee understands management techniques and organizational functioning, which will be beneficial when taking up new roles or responsibilities within the company. In addition, it can lead to a more cohesive and united team, resulting in improved performance. The mentor’s experience can give the mentees many invaluable nuggets of wisdom.

Get guidance for the future

Secondly, a leadership mentor can guide you on the latest trends in management. This can come in handy when making decisions about your career or choosing which challenges to take on next. By having access to advice from an experienced individual, you’ll be able to make well-informed choices that will help you progress within your field. By choosing the right mentor, you’ll gain access to expert advice and develop critical skills that will stand you in good stead regardless of your next path. Secondly, a leadership mentor can also help you plan your future career moves and guide you on the best way to achieve them. This is especially helpful if you are unsure where you want to head in your career or how best to get there. Additionally, it can be helpful to have someone to discuss challenges you’re experiencing in your career path. Using a leadership mentor can be a great way to boost your confidence and skill set and increase your chances of success in your career.

Empathy with a human element

Thirdly, a leadership mentor can be instrumental in building empathy and understanding for your team members. This is because they’ll likely have had similar experiences in their careers, which makes them more able to relate to your situation as well as the challenges that you’re facing. In addition, a good leadership mentor will also be mindful of the human element – meaning they’ll consider things like emotions and relationships when providing mentorship advice. Doing this creates an environment where everyone feels respected and valued – essential ingredients for effective leadership.

Learn to ask questions

Fourthly, a good leadership mentor will know how to give and take feedback effectively. This is because they’ll have learned the art of asking questions to understand what needs to change. They’re also comfortable giving constructive criticism, which can be difficult for some people. By learning these skills early on in your career, you can build a strong foundation for future success as a leader. Through these interactions, managers can learn to ask great questions that give helpful insights.

Career development and networking

Fifthly, a leadership mentor can also be instrumental in helping you develop your career and achieve greater heights. This is because they’ll help you identify where you want to go and how to get there. Additionally, they’ll often have connections that can lead to opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise find. These networking opportunities are often hard to find. As a result, working with a good leadership mentor can benefit you professionally and personally. A leadership mentor can also enhance the mentee’s networking skills and capabilities. They are likely to know people who could offer valuable expertise or support when taking on new challenges through their contacts. This can help you to build a strong network of contacts that can be highly beneficial when it comes to finding new jobs or advancing your career.

Cons of Using Leadership Mentors

Anyone can benefit from the guidance and skills of a leadership mentor. However, before you take the plunge and hire one, consider the pros and cons. The cost of using a leadership mentor may be worth it if you feel that having advice from an expert will help improve your career growth rate.

Compatibility issues

One of the potential downsides of using a leadership mentor is that they may not be compatible with your attitude or work style. If you like to take charge, a leadership mentor may not be your best choice. They might try to push and prod you in directions that don’t necessarily reflect your interests or strengths. Sometimes, this can damage relationships with colleagues or customers because it won’t conform to their view of how things should be done. You also risk becoming overwhelmed by their advice if it goes against what feels natural for you as an individual. Moreover, a mismatch in central values can give way to lots of misunderstandings and clashes.

May not have expertise or ability to mentor

Before you commit to using a leadership mentor, be sure to investigate their qualifications and experience. Often, they may not have the expertise or ability to offer meaningful guidance. This could lead to wasted time and energy if you’re looking for someone who can help you grow as an individual leader. Also, a mentor may be competent in their role, but it would be difficult for one person to offer you the whole breadth of any subject. Their knowledge can go in-depth only so much. At some point or the other, they might run out of solutions for you because they are also a human being in a similar position, albeit with a more fantastic experience. Finally, even if a leadership mentor does have the skills and expertise to help you grow as a leader, it’s possible that they simply don’t have the personal qualities or temperament to be successful in this role. They may be unable to relate well to people or build strong relationships. This could make it hard for them to provide sound advice and support when needed.

Hesitation in asking for a favor

If you’re hesitant to ask for help from a leadership mentor, this could be another downside. You may think it’s too much of a commitment, or you don’t need their help. This can lead to paralysis in the face of an obstacle or challenge, ultimately hindering your leadership progress. Moreover, you might get leadership mentoring from someone as a favor. In the future, you may have to return that favor and not want to get into a tricky transactional relationship.

Hard to find a good mentor

One of the main challenges when seeking a leadership mentor is finding someone qualified and willing to help can be difficult. This can make finding a suitable match challenging, especially if you’re looking for someone with expertise in specific areas. Moreover, people who are good at mentoring often don’t always want the added responsibility or public acclaim that comes with this role. This could be another negative factor if your leadership mentor is not always available. For example, they might be traveling for work or out sick, so they won’t have time to offer guidance and support on specific topics. This can leave you feeling lost and unsupported, slowing down your growth as a leader. Moreover, if your vision for success does not align with your mentor’s, you will encounter confusion and strife. While choosing a mentor, it is crucial to pick someone whose beliefs do not set limits for your potential. Read more: Mentor Matching at Work: Best Practices to Find the Right Guidance

Dependence and loyalty issues

This could be a significant issue if a leadership mentor is too dependent on you or loyal only to themselves. They may not be willing to give criticism. Constructively, and they might not offer sound advice when it’s needed most. This can lead to burnout and frustration on your part, as well as decreased motivation levels. Mentor-mentee relationships can create dependency as well. Wherein the person cannot make decisions independent of the mentor’s input. The other employees can also raise questions about your loyalty after observing your close relationship with one person. Employees can become committed to their mentor and professional development while losing touch with the organization.

Questions to Ask a Leadership Mentor

There are countless benefits to using leadership mentors for skill building. They offer guidance and mentorship, help students develop new skills, and boost their confidence. Beginning a mentorship session with a handy list of questions prepared beforehand would be best. Before beginning the session, you should be clear about your objectives and how you will engage. The aim is to gain the best insights from the conversation. Here are a few examples of questions that you can ask your mentor.
  • What is the source of your motivation?
  • Are there any books that you would suggest every potential leader read?
  • How do you establish a work-life balance?
  • How do you approach challenges and unconventional situations? What are the common challenges in this role?
  • Which skills have potential in the industry right now? How should I choose things to learn?
Find more here: 7 Questions To Ask Work Mentor To Get On The Right Path To Success

Overcoming limitations of mentorship

As we have noted, there are several limitations in using a leadership mentor, despite the benefits it offers. These limitations can sometimes become a significant factor that can keep one from focusing on developing managerial skills. To overcome these, we first need to envisage the ideal medium for coaching leaders and managers. A few basic features of this medium would include:

Easy to approach

The ideal alternative should be easy to approach. Although the human factor in mentorship is a great addition, it can be the primary inhibitor for many people. They might feel ashamed to seek help. Their actions can become a subject of gossip and judgment within the organization, and consequently, people will shy away from looking for mentorship. To overcome this, the medium needs to be easy to approach along with interactive. A balance of both elements is essential to keeping the audience engaged.

Non-transactional relationships

The transactional nature of the mentorship relationship becomes apparent as it is somewhere between personal and professional. The exchange of favors can put many people in uncomfortable positions. Therefore, we understand that a training method must avoid interpersonal relationships. In short, the medium should avoid creating dependency and loyalty issues with the individual. Objectivity and impartiality are needed as critical features.

Values and beliefs match

Leadership training is about getting the values and beliefs that the existing leaders hold. Moreover, the personal values of the individual are also important. A mismatch between the learner and the teacher will leave them in internal conflict. Otherwise, it can lead to confusion in terms of direction and objectives. The ideal alternative would ensure that there is no mismatch, along with a commitment from both parties to grow together through learning new things. The alignment of key values will help them develop a vision for which they can work together.

High availability and scalability

The ideal alternative should also be scalable. This means that it can accommodate a wide range of people and their needs which, in turn, leads to high availability. The level of expertise required for effective mentorship is not available everywhere. However, this does not mean that there are no good resources out there. Most experts do not offer their services as mentorships due to the earlier scalability factor. Hence, a platform that brings together insights from numerous sources would be ideal. This would help them develop a better understanding of different concepts as well as how they can be applied in practice. Furthermore, access to such resources will allow learners to widen their perspectives on management issues and develop innovative solutions.

In-depth and broad expertise needed

Lastly, a much-needed feature of any place offering training to leaders and managers is abroad scope of knowledge. A single person will not be able to provide a broad enough perspective. In order to create an array of well-equipped leaders, several resources and methods would be required. Instead of a monotonous approach, it would be best to combine a few methods. This can include long-form written content like blogs, engaging videos, interactive nudges that motivate, courses for in-depth immersion into concepts, and toolkits for practical guidance. The abovementioned elements provide a better understanding of how one can choose things to learn when one aspires to become a better leader or manager. Although experience is the best teacher, it is not always possible to have access to all the necessary knowledge. In such cases, using technology can be a great way of overcoming this limitation. Platforms like Risley, the AI co-pilot for leadership development, can help managers and leaders achieve personal development goals. It offers a great deal of knowledge – served in an enviably simple and effective manner.

Is your Leadership Mentor helping you? Red flags you need to note

Sometimes, a mentor-mentee relationship might not be doing the best for you. Instead, it becomes an impediment in the journey of your growth. Here are a few signs you need to note:
  • Lack of Communication: Infrequent or unclear communication from the mentor.
  • Mismatched Goals: Misalignment between your goals and the mentor’s guidance.
  • Limited Engagement: Limited interest or investment from the mentor in your progress.
  • Dismissive Attitude: The mentor dismisses your challenges or concerns without offering guidance.
  • No Personalization: Generic advice without consideration for your individual needs.
  • Negative Feedback: Consistently receiving negative or unconstructive feedback.
  • Unavailability: Difficulty in scheduling meetings or lack of responsiveness.
  • Stagnant Progress: Little to no growth or improvement despite mentorship.
  • Broken Commitments: The mentor doesn’t follow through on commitments or promises.
  • Unsupportive Environment: A lack of support or encouragement in your endeavors.
If you relate to many of these, it’s time to move on! 


Many businesses struggle to find the right balance between work and personal life. This often results in employees who are burnt out and unfocused. To combat this issue, many businesses turn to leadership mentors to help them build the skills necessary for success in their careers. While there are many benefits to using a leadership mentor, you must weigh them carefully before deciding. Additionally, ask yourself some key questions about whether or not a leadership mentor is right for you. We hope this blog was helpful and that you will consider the points before using a leadership mentor in the future!

Keep growing the free growth mindset toolkit for managers.

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Leadership Development: The Complete Guide with 9 Impactful Tips

Leadership Development: The Complete Guide with 9 Impactful Tips

It is not enough for managers to be good leaders. They must develop their leadership skills to keep pace with the fast-changing environment and deliver results. In this era of constant change, teams need leaders who are flexible, innovative, compassionate, confident, and able to adapt to different situations. The demand for leadership development has never been higher. The constant need for skills and personal growth makes it a necessity for every manager. This blog highlights the benefits of leadership development programs and how they can help managers do their job better. So, let’s head straight in!

What is leadership development?

Leadership development is the process of improving a manager’s ability to lead and manage other people. The core focus of this process is to enhance the requisite skills and abilities of the manager to effectively perform in leadership roles and lead teams to success. In addition, it includes developing the mindset that can envision and act for growth.   Is there just one way to become better in a leadership role? Absolutely no! You can do it through training programs, seminars, books, online resources, or even 1-1 coaching. One of the most common misconceptions about Leadership Development is that it is a linear and one-time process. Reality can’t be farther from it.  This is where most Leadership Development programs in organizations go wrong. Most programs treat everyone with the same yardstick, expect a similar outcome, and deliver the same learning methods and content. It is important to find an approach that feels comfortable for you and matches your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and challenges. As you continue working, it is also vital to practice what you have learned by taking on various leadership roles in your career or personal life. By doing this, you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how others interact with you. In turn, this will help you become more effective when leading teams or managing projects.

Types of Leadership Development

  • Skill-focused leadership training: It focuses on teaching managers specific skills they need to succeed. These can include things like communication, delegation, and conflict management. Skill-focused training can be found through institutes or universities, while self-development programs are available online.
  • Mindset-focused leadership development: The mindset of leaders is critical for success in any role. Mindset-focused development helps managers understand their strengths and weaknesses and how others react to them. It offers tools for overcoming challenges and boosting confidence. It allows managers to cultivate a growth mindset that enables forward-thinking instead of a limiting mindset.
  • General leadership training: This leadership development is designed to help managers effectively across all areas of their job. It can include things like coaching, training programs, and mentoring. General leadership training can be found through institutes or universities, while online options and self-development programs are available.
  • Creative leadership training: Creative leadership training helps managers develop their unique style of leadership. It teaches them how to tap into their creative side and use it to inspire others. This leadership development process can help managers become innovative, effective problem-solvers and team leaders.

Why is leadership development important?

Leadership development is important because it helps to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are competent and effective stewards fostering the growth of their teams. It also promotes innovation, creativity, and teamwork within an organization. Leaders who undergo development programs often exhibit excellent team morale, improved communication skills, and a more robust understanding of organizational dynamics. Additionally, these leaders are more likely to produce positive results for their teams.

Build critical skills

Leadership development can help managers become more effective leaders across all areas of their job. Primarily, it helps leaders build and upskill on skills critical to effectively managing a leadership role, such as assertive communication, conflict resolution, and managing change. Many leadership development techniques focus on enriching specific areas to ensure the development of managers in these crucial areas. Although experience is the best teacher, specific programs and processes can speed up the process. The addition of expertise to experience facilitates growth big time.

Speed up professional growth

By developing critical skills for managerial effectiveness, you can increase the pace of your professional growth. In addition, it allows you to compete with other influential peers and exchange knowledge at a pretty low cost when used correctly. Many leadership development programs offer accelerated learning opportunities that allow managers to complete program modules and assessments more rapidly than traditional in-person programs, giving them an edge over others. Additionally, online coaching programs can provide on-demand support for leaders who are working full-time or juggling multiple responsibilities.

Craft creative leadership strategies

When you effectively lead your team, it is often because you have crafted creative leadership strategies. Leadership development can help leaders become better at coming up with innovative approaches to solving problems and increasing performance. Managers can take on challenges with confidence by learning new thinking skills and building an expanded repertoire of problem-solving options. As a result, you can become an influential leader with the help of your critical thinking and analytical skills.

Create an engaged team

Employee engagement is key to the success of any team. Leaders who create an engaged team have a clear advantage over those who do not. By engaging team members in their work, leaders can help them develop skills and motivation that will lead to greater satisfaction. In addition, leadership development allows managers to create the perfect recipe for cohesion in their team by enhancing their overall communication skills. In totality, a manager can more easily lead and motivate their team.

Beat challenges and lead changes

It can help you become better at leading change. Leaders can successfully navigate through challenging times by learning how to manage difficult conversations and make tough decisions. Additionally, such programs can provide training in problem-solving and effective communication techniques to help managers succeed in leading changes. With the right skill set and mindset at the helm, you can take on any challenge and reach your goals.

Leadership Development Tips for Managers

  • Self-Awareness and Reflection: Regularly assess your strengths, weaknesses, and leadership style. Reflect on your actions and decisions to learn from experiences.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay curious and seek opportunities to learn new skills and expand your knowledge through various modes such as leadership books, attend workshops, and engage in online courses.
  • Adaptability: Embrace change and be flexible in response to evolving situations. and demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges.
  • Delegation: Trust your team members with responsibilities and empower them to take ownership.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the values and behaviors you expect from your team, including professionalism, ethics, and a positive attitude.
  • Vision and Goal Setting: Create a clear vision and set strategic goals for your team. Communicate the vision and rally your team around these shared objectives.
  • Accountability: Take responsibility for your actions and decisions.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Build relationships within and outside the organization and connect with peers, mentors, and industry professionals who can guide and support you.
  • Stay Resilient: Navigate setbacks and challenges with a positive attitude. Learn from failures and use them as opportunities for growth.

What are leadership development programs?

Development programs come in many types and forms. Therefore, as a manager, it is essential that you pick the right format that suits your needs. The most common types of leadership development programs are:
  • Workshops and Seminars: Such programs offer in-person workshops and seminars. Managers from higher levels of organizations typically attend these events, and they offer a variety of learning opportunities. For example, some workshops focus on developing communication skills while others explore problem-solving techniques. Industry experts and experienced professionals lead them.
  • Online Courses: Many leadership development programs now offer online courses from anywhere in the world. Online courses provide easy access to training for busy managers who need to take advantage of flexible work schedules but also want high-quality instruction offered at an affordable price. Many online courses also have live chat sessions and interactive features to create a personalized element.
  • Managerial Training Sessions: Some leadership development programs offer manager-led training sessions. These events are typically smaller in size and scope than workshops or seminars but provide more one-on-one coaching opportunities. In addition, managerial training sessions often focus on specific skills for effective team management.
  • Self-help methods: Many programs for developing leaders can be led by self-help methods such as reading autobiographies, developing group activities, or practicing mindfulness. These methods help managers learn about themselves and develop new skills for leading their teams effectively. However, they might get confused due to the sheer abundance of the material without a clear pathway.
  • Mentorship: Mentorship is a critical component of leadership development. A good mentor can help a manager grow and progress professionally. Effective mentorship programs provide matched mentors from within the organization who can offer guidance, feedback, and support. Their expertise, added with insights, can significantly help up-and-coming managers.

Why do leadership development programs fail?

  • Generic Content and Solutions: Most leadership development programs are not tailored to the needs of their clients. The content is often generic or rehashes material already covered in other training courses.
  • Lack of Applicability: Participants cannot practice what they learned in the real world, because often, the exact situations do not show up when they are learning.
  • Little Support to Retain Learning: Think of that leadership development workshop two months back. How much would an average participant remember once they are out of the camp? Such programs offer little to no continuous support. As a result, these programs often need to live up to expectations and produce lasting change.
If leadership development programs are too general or focused on specific management styles over a person’s overall development, they can be ineffective. Instead, leadership development programs should be tailored to the needs of the manager and should focus on developing skills that will help them succeed at their job. This is where the AI co-pilot for leadership development takes the lead. Find out more here: Becoming The Best Manager: Why AI Co-Pilot Overtakes Manual Solutions?

Leadership Development Assessment

Given the high stakes of leadership development, it is important to ensure that programs are effective. To this end, an assessment conducted at the beginning of each program can provide valuable insights into participant needs and potential success. You can use this information to design customized programs based on individual strengths and weaknesses. Once a leadership development program has been designed and implemented, regular assessments should be performed to monitor progress and determine whether changes need to be made for participants to achieve their goals. By taking these steps, teams can maximize the effectiveness of their leadership development efforts while minimizing risk. Risely helps managers assess their critical leadership skills with free self-assessments. You can check them out here! Not only this, Risely helps managers take charge of their leadership development journey with AI-based customized leadership coaching. It allows managers to solve more than 30 people’s management challenges that constantly bug progress and hold back your true potential. So, if you are a manager who often wonders what to do in the face of challenges, sign up for Risely today and create an exciting journey. You can become a better leader and build your career forward with proper thought leadership, regular reflection, and hard work!

Designing your Leadership Development Journey

The Leadership Development Process

The leadership development process involves steps to identify, nurture, and prepare individuals within an organization to take on leadership roles effectively. Here’s a stepwise breakdown of the process:
  • Assessment and Identification: Identify potential leaders within the organization based on their performance, skills, competencies, and potential for growth using tools like performance evaluations, 360-degree feedback, and assessments to gauge leadership qualities.
  • Goal Setting and Planning: Collaboratively set clear leadership development goals for each identified candidate. It includes the skills, behaviors, and competencies required for successful leadership roles. Tailor leadership development plans for each leader based on their strengths, areas for improvement, and career aspirations with a roadmap for skill enhancement, experiential learning, and exposure to leadership opportunities. Ensure that you are covering the primary leadership development focus areas at this stage.
  • Training and Learning: Provide formal training programs, workshops, and courses on leadership skills in different modes to accommodate different learning styles. Additionally, experienced mentors or coaches can guide aspiring leaders, offering personalized support and feedback. Managers can add leadership development activities to the mix to make it more engaging.
  • On-the-Job Experience: Provide opportunities for aspiring leaders to take on challenging assignments, cross-functional projects, and stretch assignments that allow them to apply and refine their leadership skills in real-world scenarios.
  • Networking and Exposure: Encourage participation in industry events, conferences, and professional associations to expand their networks and stay updated on industry trends.
  • Feedback and Evaluation: Regularly assess leadership development progress through performance reviews, feedback sessions, and self-assessments and adjust the development plan as needed. Based on this, continuously refine the leadership development process based on the outcomes, changing organizational needs, and participant feedback. Ensure you recognize and celebrate the achievements and growth of emerging leaders within the organization. Keep an eye on The Top 6 Best Practices for Leadership Development in 2023 for more effective operations.

Leadership Development Agenda Examples for Managers

Some examples of Leadership Development Agendas are shared below to help you craft your own: 

Leadership Development Agenda 1: Core Leadership Skills Workshop

  • Leadership Essentials: Explore the fundamental concepts of leadership, including its role in driving organizational success and fostering growth.
  • Communication and Emotional Intelligence: Learn effective communication techniques and delve into emotional intelligence to enhance interpersonal interactions.
  • Decision-Making and Problem-Solving: Develop strategies for making informed decisions and creatively addressing challenges in leadership roles.
  • Leading by Example: Discuss the impact of teaching by setting a positive example and explore case studies of successful leadership practices.
  • Action Planning and Reflection: Develop personalized action plans to apply learned skills, set leadership goals, and reflect on the workshop experience.

Leadership Development Agenda 2: Strategic Leadership Program

  • Strategic Thinking and Vision: Understand the importance of strategic thinking, crafting a vision, and aligning teams with organizational goals.
  • Innovation and Change Management: Explore techniques to encourage innovation and navigate organizational change as a strategic leader.
  • Leadership Ethics and Accountability: Delve into ethical considerations in leadership decisions and embrace accountability for actions.
  • Leadership Case Studies: Analyze real-world leadership scenarios, fostering critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Style: Define a unique leadership style that aligns with individual strengths and values.
  • Leading High-Performance Teams: Discover strategies for creating and leading teams consistently delivering exceptional results.

Leadership Development Agenda 3: Emerging Leaders Bootcamp

  • Introduction to Leadership: Lay the foundation by introducing the principles and significance of effective leadership.
  • Effective Communication Skills: Hone communication skills are essential for conveying ideas, motivating teams, and fostering collaboration.
  • Building Collaborative Teams: Learn techniques to create and nurture collaborative, high-performing teams.
  • Adaptability and Change Management: Acquire skills to navigate change, adapt to evolving environments, and lead teams through transitions.
  • Ethical Leadership Practices: Explore the ethical dimensions of leadership and understand how they influence decision-making.
  • Leadership Action Plan Development: Develop an actionable plan to apply learned skills and principles in real-world leadership scenarios.


While leadership development is an ongoing process that should ideally continue throughout a person’s professional life, it also requires organizational support and commitment. Leaders willing to adopt new ways of thinking, supporting employees in changing their work processes, and creating a culture of innovation and creativity can create an environment for leadership development to thrive. Developing leaders means developing future leaders who will take over the organization. It’s not a one-time event – it requires constant effort and dedication from the manager and their team. Leadership is about giving vision and ensuring everyone around you is excited to work hard for their goals.

Are you ready to unleash the leader within?

Sign up for free today to start a journey on an amazing learning experience, crafted just for you.

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6 Effective Ways to Build Time Management Skills as a Manager

6 Effective Ways to Build Time Management Skills as a Manager

“Time is the biggest resource” is something we have all heard in different situations. Using it effectively is the key to making the most of it. Yet, time management is one of every manager’s most critical challenges. With so much to do and so little time to do, time management skills are essential for managers. This blog will provide a one-stop guide on handling time for managers and leaders, starting with defining time management and highlighting common issues and challenges. It then provides tips on assessing your time management skills and highlights the skills needed for effective time management. So if you’re looking to up your game as a manager, this blog is for you!

What is time management?

Time management is the process of organizing and prioritizing your time to achieve your goals. Effective time management requires setting boundaries, establishing priorities, and breaking tasks into manageable parts. It involves setting realistic expectations for yourself, developing effective habits, and establishing rules for how you will use your time. It allows you to get more done in less time – saving your energy for more productive endeavors. Time management can refer to creating systems or routines that help manage appointments, tasks, and deadlines. It also involves developing a personal schedule, setting priorities, managing distractions, and disciplining oneself. It is not just about prioritizing yourself and saving time for yourself. It also involves spending the right amount of time on whatever you get yourself involved in. We can understand the value of effective time management best by looking at the examples of some of the most successful people of our time. For example, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, has famously said, “time is the most valuable resource we have.” The personal tips and tricks for time management of these popular leaders are interesting, such as the bucket system of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He classifies his work into buckets and spends an equal amount of time dedicated to each every day. 

Is time management a skill?

Yes, time management is a skill. Efficiently managing your time and resources can ensure you get the most out of each day. People with solid skills in managing time efficiently manage their time and resources, and you can ensure you get the most out of each day. So, if you want to take your career to the next level, develop skills to manage your time effectively!

What are time management skills?

The essential skills for effective management of time include:
  • Goal setting: Setting goals is essential for determining your purpose in life and objectives. It helps you focus on what’s important and stay motivated. With goals, it becomes easier to determine how you are progressing or where you stand relative to your stated goal.
  • Prioritizing tasks: Tasks must be prioritized to ensure that you address the most important ones first. Prioritization enables you to allocate time and resources effectively while avoiding distraction or burnout. Effective time management requires breaking tasks into manageable parts and assessing their importance before setting a priority level.
  • Scheduling: Schedule your time to ensure that you are working on important tasks at the right time. Scheduling allows for flexibility and a balance between work and leisure activities. However, scheduling can also be tedious if not done correctly. Many online tools help you schedule your time more effectively, such as Google Calendar or even Microsoft Outlook!
  • Multitasking: Multitasking is the ability to carry out two or more tasks simultaneously. However, effective multitasking depends on task management skills. If tasks are not prioritized and organized, you will be too busy trying to do multiple things at once poorly instead of completing essential tasks.
  • Overcoming barriers: Time management is often hampered due to barriers such as disruptive environments or people. Hence, you need to identify and overcome things that can confuse and distract you.
  • Delegation: Delegation is the process of assigning a task to someone else, usually with the expectation that the delegate will carry out the task to your satisfaction. Delegating tasks allows you to focus on higher-level tasks while delegating less critical tasks to individuals who can complete them more efficiently and free up your time to focus on high-value aspects of work.

Why are time management skills essential for managers?

Time management skills are essential for managers because they help them stay on track and meet deadlines. Managers who are effective at managing time use various methods to manage their time effectively. These methods include organizing their work so that everything is manageable, setting realistic goals for themselves and their team members, and delegating tasks correctly. In addition to managing time skillfully, good managers also handle interruptions calmly and efficiently. By mastering these skills, managers can effectively manage their teams and stay on top of their work.

Benefits of effective time management

Managers need time management skills to handle the plethora of responsibilities effectively. In addition to solving personal challenges, the time management skills of a manager are required to ensure that team operations also stay on track. At a glance, effective handling of time helps managers in the following ways:

Create a better work-life balance

Effective time management skills help managers have a better work-life balance. By prioritizing and managing time properly, managers can delegate tasks correctly, stay on top of their work, and avoid distractions. It ensures they can handle the workload while still having a life outside work. Dealing with interrupts and multitasking is difficult without good time management skills. Managers organize their work by breaking it down into manageable tasks when they are skilled at managing time. In this manner, managers can ensure that they are not overwhelmed by work but give it due attention at the right time.

High quality of work

Effective time management skills help to produce high-quality work. By correctly delegating tasks and prioritizing work, managers ensure that the job is completed to the best of their ability. It allows them to put in quality work without sacrificing time or effort on other tasks. Good time management skills also help managers be less stressed, which leads to better decision-making capabilities and a higher level of focus in the workplace. They can also overcome procrastination and workplace distractions with effective practices for managing time.

Reduced stress

Terrible time management habits create causes for stress, such as tall piles of work and long to-do lists. Effective time management skills help reduce stress levels in the workplace. By adequately delegating tasks and prioritizing work, managers can avoid multitasking, leading to more stress. Managing time effectively also allows managers to set aside time for themselves each day- whether taking a break or a task list to relax. Stress at work negatively impacts mental and physical health; effectively managing time helps healthily manage this stress, leading to improved morale.

Better team productivity

A productive team comprises individually talented members who work together to achieve a common goal. Effective time management skills help create a productive team by ensuring that tasks are completed on time and that everyone can contribute their best work. To do this, managers ensure that their teams have sufficient work, time, and resources. It leads to better task completion and builds trust between team members- which is essential for successful collaboration. When each member feels valued and vital, productivity increases dramatically. Catch interesting insights here: Performance or Productivity: Where do you focus?

Mental & physical wellness

Maintaining good time management skills can also help to improve mental and physical wellness. For instance, proper scheduling allows for restorative breaks throughout the day- which helps restore energy levels and boost productivity. Furthermore, it helps reduce stress levels, leading to better sleep patterns and overall health. On the other hand, poor time management habits have been linked with hypertension, obesity, anxiety disorders, mood swings, etc. – all of which are preventable by improving workplace habits.

Growth of leadership skillset

The growth of your leadership skillset is a direct result of improved time management skills. When team members are effectively managed, they are more likely to commit to and follow through with tasks. In addition, it promotes trust and cooperation- essential qualities for effective leadership. Furthermore, managers skilled at managing time can ensure that tasks are completed on schedule, facilitating better communication between team members. With strong leaders at the helm who work by the clock, teams can achieve great things together! Are you prepared to handle teams? Assess your leadership skills for free now!

What if your time management is poor?

Poor time management skills have several negative consequences, including missed deadlines, less productivity at work, and poor coordination between different parts of your life and team. We can see poor time management in managers’ lack of a proper work-life balance. It also affects team coordination as team members find it difficult to trust a manager who cannot accurately assess the time required to complete a job. Consequently, low productivity and poor work relationships demoralize individuals and hurt their career growth. The impact of poorly managing time goes more profound than it is visible, as it can disrupt several crucial operations. The key signs of poor time management that you need to be aware of are:
  • You are constantly procrastinating and putting away work
  • You get to work when deadlines are approaching fast
  • The quality of your work does not satisfy you
  • You feel like you are not getting enough done
  • Your team is often working extra and long hours

What are the challenges managers face in time management?

While time management is one of the essential skills of a manager, there are several impediments to achieving it in real life. Problems in managing time can range from an extra chatty co-worker disrupting your workflow to the background noises distracting you at work. In some cases, an overwhelming workload can also throw you into mismanagement, as you forget what needs to be done and when. As a result, you might find yourself looking for escapes from procrastination. Time management challenges arise due to poor habits too. The lack of practice in prioritizing tasks and planning for contingencies often jeopardizes teams. When dealing with a team, the actions of team members can impact a manager too. If the team acts and responds too little, it will also slow down the pace of operations for everyone else. Here, the manager must solve with their team and for their team. The problems of a manager are not solely limited to themselves. They can expand in terms of causes and impact on their teams. If such challenges in the management of time are not taken seriously, the constant flow of work and information can push managers toward burnout too.

How can managers overcome time management challenges?

Managing time effectively is a challenge that many managers face. However, with the help of time management tips, you can overcome this hurdle and achieve your objectives more efficiently.

Set goals & deadlines

Setting goals and deadlines helps to regulate the amount of time you spend on tasks. This way, you know how much time is allocated for a given task and can adjust your schedule accordingly. Goal setting is the first step to achieving them. It helps you create a timeline for actions to take and helps define a set of actions to follow. You can start effectively managing time today by using the many goal-setting techniques for managers, like SMART goals and OKRs. Check out some great examples of time management goals here.

Prioritize tasks

Trying to do too many things at a time is one of the most common problems in the effective management of time. It’s essential to prioritize your tasks so that you can focus on the most important ones and give them their due share of attention. It also helps you stay focused and motivated. When you have a list of task priorities, it will be easier to know when and where to apply resources.

Share your burden

One of the best ways to save time is to delegate tasks to others. When you assign a task to someone else, they are responsible for completing it. This way, you can focus on other essential tasks while someone else completes the delegated task. Delegating also allows you to tap into the skills and knowledge of others in your team. When tasks are delegated correctly, everyone benefits!

Keep motivation high

Keeping your motivation high is essential to time management. When the task at hand feels like a drag, it’s much harder to complete. Instead, try to find things you enjoy and look forward to in your work. It will help keep you motivated when things are tough. In addition, try setting short-term goals for yourself and your team, along with rewards for reaching them (this can be anything from free lunches to significant discount cards). Finally, ensure regular breaks throughout the day to take a breath and re-energize yourself before picking up where you left off.

Time management activities for teams

Managing the team’s time is essential to keep everyone on track and motivated. A manager should create an effective task management system that keeps everyone organized and energized. Otherwise, lethargy can creep up on the entire team. Consider looking into engaging in time management activities that suit the whole team. For instance, the team can set up a Pomodoro routine to keep working throughout the day with sufficient breaks.

Design your time management strategy

No one-time management strategy is perfect for everyone. Instead, you need to customize it to fit your personal needs and the way you work best. You can start with some examples of time management strategies and move ahead. Following are some tips on how to do that:
  • Evaluate your daily routine and see where time can be saved or improved.
  • Create effective task management systems to help keep everything organized. Use time management tools designed for managers.
  • Practice your skills by setting short-term goals, rewarding yourself when you reach them, and taking regular breaks throughout the day.
Wondering where to start? Check out Time management training: Boost your productivity and achieve your goals Download the free Time Management toolkit for managers by Risely to access templates and frameworks that make time management a breeze for busy professionals. It helps you improve your all-around focus on managing time with its effective self-audit template, task prioritization framework, and weekly planner.

How to assess your time management skills?

Employers are constantly looking for managers who can efficiently manage their time and prioritize tasks. But, we often fail to recognize effective time management. It is generally confused with being busy and chasing unrealistic productivity metrics. Instead, effective time management keeps you from working extra long hours and getting stressed over pending work instead of keeping you glued to the workstation. You can quickly assess your time management skills with Risely’s free Time Management self-assessment for managers and leaders. The self-assessment is designed to present an honest picture of your skills as a team manager based on your experience. It provides insights into your vital areas that catalyze growth and the weak regions that often land you in trouble. By understanding where you need to work, you can overcome the challenges hampering your professional growth easily. To make things even easier, you can sign up for Risely to get customized guidance on managing time and any other people management challenges that block your way to success. In addition, Risely offers customized learning journeys that help you collaborate with your team to solve issues affecting your productivity. Equipped with toolkits and assessments for managers, it makes people management a breeze! 


In the end, time management is all about being efficient. After reading this article, you should know how to get started and make an impact with your new approach. If you follow the strategies mentioned above, you will be on track to achieve success in your career and become a great manager! To conclude, keep one thing in mind: working more intelligently does not mean you can ignore everything related to time management. In fact, it is very important for everyone who wants to manage their workload effectively. With just a few tricks up your sleeve, like what we’ve discussed above, keeping tabs on tasks and prioritizing them without fail can be easier than ever! Managers face a lot of challenges when it comes to time management. These skills are essential for a successful career, from juggling multiple tasks to resisting the urge to work late into the night. In this blog, we have outlined the different aspects of managing time effectively and provided tips on improving your skills. Make sure to read through the blog to get a one-stop guide on time management!

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How to develop the 8 Conceptual Skills every Manager needs?

How to develop the 8 Conceptual Skills every Manager needs?

It’s no secret that success in any professional field hinges on thinking critically, strategically, and creatively. That’s where conceptual skills come in. They are essential for managers because they help them process information to pursue their roles and manage their teams effectively. This blog post will discuss nine conceptual skills that managers need to be proficient in. Make sure to check it out to learn more about why they’re so important and how you can develop them. But before that, let’s understand what conceptual skills are and why they are essential.

What are Conceptual Skills for Managers?

Conceptual skills in management are one of the most critical skills. They are the ability to think abstractly and apply concepts to new situations. They are the ability to think about and understand ideas. These conceptual skills are the management skills that let you see the big picture and work through problems. They allow us to understand and learn from experience and develop creative solutions to problems. Read more about manager effectiveness here: The Complete Guide to Manager Effectiveness with Essential Skills

What is the importance of conceptual skills for managers?

Conceptual skills in management are most essential for learning, thinking critically, and coming up with new ideas. They are necessary for any professional, especially for managers, as they help them understand complex issues, identify solutions, and make decisions. Managers with strong conceptual ability are better equipped to handle complex tasks, meet deadlines, and lead teams. They are also better equipped to identify and capitalize on opportunities. With the right conceptual skills, managers can be sure that they will navigate their way through any challenging situation with relative ease. They are also crucial for effective strategic planning and long-term business growth. The greater their level of conceptual skills, the more powerful and effective they become as managers. All that together is enough to prove the importance of conceptual skills. But what conceptual skills do managers need to develop? Let’s dig into that in our next section.

8 Conceptual Skills In Management You Need

The top nine examples of conceptual skills that managers need to be effective in their managerial position and lead their entire organization towards growth are as follows:


Problem-solving is one of the most critical conceptual skills in management for a successful team. As a manager, you must identify and solve problems quickly to efficiently carry out your assigned tasks. By solving problems effectively, you save time and ensure that your team is working in the most efficient way possible. Furthermore, problem-solving skills equip you to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to thorny problems. How to develop problem-solving skills?
  • Practice Root Cause Analysis: Dig deep and identify the underlying causes of problems rather than just addressing symptoms.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Encourage teams to brainstorm solutions from various angles, incorporating different viewpoints to foster innovative problem-solving.
With this essential skill set under your belt, you are well to become a successful manager. Another excellent way to develop these problem-solving skills is by engaging in simulations. It involves using hypothetical scenarios to train yourself and your team members for real-world challenges. By doing this, you can help your team be better prepared for any curveballs that may come their way. Master the skill with some interesting problem-solving scenarios here: 7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With Solutions)

Decision making

As a manager, it is crucial to make sound decisions quickly and effectively. By knowing the different decision-making models and how to use them, you can make the most informed choices possible. There are three main decision-making models: fact-based, intuition-based, and values-based. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so it is essential to know which one is best suited for the particular situation. How to develop decision-making skills as a manager?
  • Collect Data: Emphasize the importance of data-driven decisions. Encourage teams to gather relevant information before making choices.
  • Consider Consequences: Think about the potential outcomes and impacts of each decision on various stakeholders before taking action.
By understanding these models named above and how to use them, you can become a better manager overall. To develop this skill, you need to think critically and assess the situation at hand together with all the data objectively. You may also need to have good analytical skills, as decision-making requires data analysis. With practice and good judgment, any manager can develop these decision-making skills. The decision-making skills of a manager always need to be top-notch to tackle challenges head-on. Are you prepared for that? Take Risely’s free decision-making self-assessment for managers to find out now.

Time management

Managing time is essential if you want to be successful as a manager. By learning how to optimize your time and use it effectively, you can ensure that your tasks are completed efficiently and on schedule. You can use several techniques to help you manage your time effectively, including goal setting, organizing your work, effective delegation, and breaking down large projects into manageable pieces. How to develop time management skills?
  • Prioritize Tasks: Identify high-priority tasks and delegate or eliminate low-priority ones.
  • Time Blocking: Teach managers to allocate specific blocks of time for different tasks, minimizing multitasking and improving focus.
You can also prioritize tasks and use the right tools (such as calendars, To-Do lists, and task managers) to help you stay on track. By applying these techniques systematically, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your day. By practicing this, you’ll stay productive and efficient no matter how busy your life as a manager gets.

Teamwork and communication skills

Teamwork is essential for any successful undertaking, and effective communication skills are vital for effective management. As a manager, it is crucial to work well with a team. This is not only necessary for completing tasks successfully but also for building a solid relationship with your team. Good communication skills are essential for building trust and establishing clear lines of authority. By communicating with your team effectively, you can help them understand your goals and mission and work together to achieve them. Further, with good teamwork skills, you can create an environment conducive to innovation and growth. Developing these requires interpersonal skills and soft skills like active listening, empathy, respect, etc. How to develop communication skills?
  • Active Listening: Listen actively to team members, showing empathy and understanding their perspectives.
  • Clear Communication: Emphasize clear and concise communication to avoid misunderstandings and foster a transparent work environment.
Communication is not just about getting your point across. Effective communication takes a holistic approach by focusing on actively listening to what the other person is saying. Test your active listening skills today with Risely’s free self-assessment for managers and leaders. Understand the areas that you can work on to ensure success for your teams.

Logical thinking

Logical thinking is an essential conceptual skill for managers because it allows them to see the big picture and make decisions that will benefit their company. Logistical thinkers can think ahead and plan for potential problems while also remaining flexible to adapt to changing situations. They can also consider a variety of factors when making decisions and can weigh the pros and cons of different options. In order to be a successful manager, it is crucial to be able to think logically and strategically. How to develop logical thinking skills?
  • Analyze Patterns: Focus on patterns and trends in data or situations, enabling them to make informed decisions.
  • Use Socratic Questioning: Ask probing questions that lead to logical and well-reasoned conclusions.
Logistical thinking skills can be learned and developed, but they are not always easy. There are several exercises you can do to improve your logical thinking skills. One is to practice identifying fallacies in arguments. Another is to try to solve puzzles or problems that require logical thinking. You can also practice logical thinking by participating in problem-solving sessions or brainstorming topics with your team.

Critical thinking

One of the most important conceptual skills in management is thinking critically. Critical thinking skills allow managers to analyze problems, identify potential solutions, and make sound decisions. In order to be an effective manager, you need to be able to think on your feet and come up with creative solutions. Critical thinking skills are also crucial for managing employees. When managers can think critically, they can better assess employee performance and identify areas where employees need improvement. Additionally, critical thinking skills help managers make better decisions regarding employee retention and termination. How to improve critical thinking skills?
  • Challenge Assumptions: Encourage team members to question assumptions and explore alternative viewpoints before arriving at conclusions.
  • Evaluate Evidence: Develop the ability to critically assess the validity and reliability of information and data through repeated questioning.
To improve your critical thinking skills, start by regularly engaging in thoughtful discussions with your colleagues and peers and by challenging yourself to come up with novel solutions to complex problems. Learn more about developing the critical thinking skills that every manager needs here.


Persuasion is one of the top conceptual skills in management. Managers need to be persuasive to get their employees to buy into their vision and work towards common business goals. To be successful, managers need to influence people’s thoughts and behaviors. This involves understanding the principles of persuasion and using them effectively. How to develop persuasion skills?
  • Understand Audiences: Tailor your messages to the preferences and needs of your audience when trying to persuade.
  • Highlight Benefits: Articulate the benefits and positive outcomes of your proposals or ideas.
There are several techniques that top managers use to persuade others. Some of these techniques include using logical arguments, making a strong case, appealing to people’s emotions, and building relationships of trust. Moreover, managers who are good at persuasion can get their employees to work harder and be more productive.

Abstract Thinking

One of the critical skills that a successful manager must have is abstract thinking. This refers to the ability to think beyond the concrete details and connect the dots when all information is unavailable. It helps you make decisions that are not biased by personal emotions or preconceived notions. As a manager, it is essential to step back and assess the situation objectively and then come up with a plan of action using abstract concepts and abstract ideas that will best suit the team’s needs. By developing your abstract thinking skills, you will manage your team more effectively and achieve your goals faster. How to develop abstract thinking skills?

How to develop Conceptual Skills as a Manager?

Managers can develop conceptual skills needed in the workplace by engaging in critical thinking and problem-solving activities. This can include participating in case studies, analyzing data and trends, and seeking opportunities to learn from experts in their field through mentorship. Managers can also seek training and development programs focusing on conceptual skills, such as strategic planning and decision-making. It can also be helpful for managers to actively seek out diverse perspectives and engage in dialogue with team members to broaden their understanding and perspective. Additionally, staying up to date with industry trends and advancements can help managers stay sharp and develop their conceptual skills. Moreover, managers can help leadership development programs tackle any challenges they face in effectively developing conceptual skills. Risely, an AI-based leadership coaching platform, can help managers identify their weak areas and design unique guided learning journeys to overcome those troubles. Check out Risely today to start your move toward success.


It’s no secret that becoming a successful manager requires more than good technical skills. You need to be able to think strategically, logically, and critically. You will also be able to solve problems effectively and lead and communicate effectively. This blog post has discussed nine examples of essential conceptual skills that managers need to be successful. By understanding and employing these conceptual skills in management, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an influential leader.

Problem solving has become a problem?
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Are effective managers and leaders born or made? Discussing the Debate

Are effective managers and leaders born or made? Discussing the Debate

As a leader, you’re responsible for setting the tone and direction of your team – and, ultimately, your organization. It’s your job to motivate and encourage them to achieve their goals while keeping them safe and healthy. But what are the essential qualities of a successful leader? In this blog post, we’ll explore this question in-depth and discuss the leadership traits that make a manager successful. Whether you’re new to leadership or a seasoned professional, read about the skills you need to be a successful leader!

What is Leadership?

In its most straightforward meaning, effective leadership stands for the ability of an individual to influence others in progress toward a shared goal. Leaders need to acutely understand their people and circumstances to guide others throughout the journey. It also helps them efficiently utilize the resources available at their disposal, including the people. Leadership does not end with showing the way. As John Maxwell famously noted “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” The leader does not merely guide by also exemplifies. Great leaders lead by example. They demonstrate the ethics that they wish to cherish in their team. Moreover, they adopt a hands-on approach and coach their team to overcome limitations and reach new heights by using motivation and innovation appropriately. The job of a leader is manifold, and sometimes they have to turn into coaches while the other time they have to use their impeccable management skills. While discussing leadership, we also note that certain traits are common to all leaders. This understanding had a historical basis when it was assumed that leaders could only be born and not made out of people like us.

Are Managers and Leaders Born or Made?

The debate is ancient – so what’s the answer? Traditionally, it was believed that leaders are born. Examples of many leaders were taken to show that they demonstrated the signs of greatness right from childhood. Certain traits of individuals, such as confidence and heroism – set them apart from the rest of the people as potential leaders. However, leaders who rose from poverty and innumerable challenges have tested such notions. But over time, such opinions have died down. Thus, we do not consider evidence of leadership traits since childhood necessary for a leader! Research has shown that leaders are largely made. Leadership is not about genetic factors but also accounts for learnings from the environment. The belief that leaders are made from hard work and experience has gained substantial support. The University of Illinois has also demonstrated that training can mold individuals into leaders and help in developing leadership traits. Thus, the actual answer lies somewhere in the middle, and a person might inherit some leadership qualities and learn the rest from the world to grow into an effective leader. It means that organizations can develop leadership skills in their in-house talent and develop leaders at home!

Let’s look at some examples – we see leaders developing everyday in front of us

  • Personal Growth: A shy and introverted individual gradually develops strong leadership skills through experiences and self-improvement. Over time, they learn to communicate effectively, motivate others, and make decisions confidently, evolving into an influential leader.
  • Learning from Failures: A manager faces multiple setbacks in their career but uses each failure as a learning opportunity. Through reflection, adapting strategies, and seeking mentorship, they build resilience and refine their leadership abilities, ultimately becoming a respected figure in their organization.
  • Skill Development: An employee with no prior leadership experience joins a leadership development program. Through training, workshops, and mentorship, they acquire essential leadership skills like delegation, conflict resolution, and team motivation. Over time, they transform into a capable and inspiring leader.
  • Adapting to Change: An employee is promoted to a leadership role during a period of organizational change. Despite feeling overwhelmed initially, they actively seek guidance, learn to manage uncertainty, and gradually gain the confidence and skills needed to lead their team through transitions successfully.
  • Inspired by Role Models: A person observes their mentors’ leadership qualities and is inspired to develop similar attributes. They focus on improving their communication, empathy, and strategic thinking, honing these skills over time and emerging as an effective leader themselves.
To become a successful leader, you can focus on developing the skills required for effective leadership. Let us understand in greater detail what these skills are.

What Is A Successful Leader?

So what qualities are essential for a leader to be successful? There is no clear answer to this question. But a few qualities are said to be shared in all effective leaders. Typically, these primarily include the ability to influence and motivate their teams to keep going forward in pursuit of the goal. The leader needs to be sure of their purpose and path to take the team ahead and help them cross hurdles. In this process, a leader needs the help of many leadership skills. For instance, taking the team through challenges will require the leader to possess impeccable communication skills. It will help them avoid misunderstandings and solve problems arising from miscommunication. But suppose an issue does arise; what happens then? The leader’s conflict resolution skills come to save the day. In the furor of chaos, time slips away quietly. A leader needs practical time management skills to keep hold of their schedules. They also need to learn how to set and achieve smart goals with their teams. Through this journey, the team is bound to face multiple challenges, often leaving them amazed. To outsmart these difficulties, leaders must facilitate collaboration and innovation in their teams. And while at it, they need to give constructive feedback to their team to correct their path as they keep moving ahead. That sounds like a lot! Leadership is not merely about carrying out a few functions. In totality, leadership stands for a mindset. The leadership mindset is a growth mindset that emphasizes constant growth and development for the team ad the team members. Developing a growth mindset is among the crucial challenges that leaders face. Successful leadership helps their team grow and develop over time as individuals and professionally by offering ample opportunities and inspiring them with their vision.

What are Leadership Traits or Qualities?

While there is no clear definition of indispensable leadership traits or skills. We understand that a few leadership qualities are essential to fulfilling the role of a leader. These qualities help individuals become one step over mere managers. People who build these qualities learn to influence and guide teams in their desired directions. For starters, a leader needs to value integrity. Having integrity as one of their core values helps leaders set standards for behavior in their teams. Ideas based on truth and trustworthiness also assist in establishing credibility and creating mutual respect in which teams can operate. Another quality that greatly helps leaders is humility. Great leaders are willing to accept mistakes and consequences. They do not try to shift the blame onto others. Instead, they focus on the greatest good and empower others to take ownership of their work. Along with these, a few other leadership traits help managers adapt to the role effectively. You can read more about them here.

How can you become a leader?

There is no definite answer to this question. While some people might be born with leadership traits, most skills a leader needs can be learned. It means that you can develop leadership skills on your own. You can start by developing a good work ethic. As you grow as an individual, you will learn to understand and respect the needs of others. It is essential in leading effective teams. Make sure that your communication skills are up to par too. Leaders must communicate effectively with their teammates, superiors, and other stakeholders if they want their plan to be successful. Additionally, influential leaders know how to get things done without compromising ethics or principles, so teamwork is always valued. There are many paths to leadership development. These include: You can read more about all of these to pick the suitable one for you. However, most of these methods of developing leadership skills are accompanied by their own sets of limitations. For instance, if you pick up self-help methods, you might find yourself lost in the absence of guidance. On the other hand, leadership workshops and seminars may be insufficient as they offer general insights. Your challenges could be entirely different! Therefore, you need to pick the right option very smartly. You can also take up the AI-enabled leadership coaching platform Risely. Risely offers real-time support for your challenges as you wish. It allows you to pick your challenges and progress at your own pace. Adding well-researched content designed as toolkits and self-assessments is a great benefit. The ability to access it from anywhere at any time at an affordable price makes it an ideal pick for up-and-coming leaders of the new generation – who overcome limitations to rise rapidly! Find out more about AI co-pilot for leadership development here: Becoming The Best Manager: Why AI Co-Pilot Overtakes Manual Solutions?


Leadership is the buzzword of today’s age. Yet, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding it. In this blog, we understood that leaders could be made with adequate guidance. Nonetheless, the old debate of are leaders born or made is sure to continue raging. The emphasis has now moved from leadership traits to skills. Leadership skills are essential and can be developed in many ways. The best way to find the right method for you is to talk to others who have done it before, read about leadership development methods, and then decide on an approach that fits your personality and goals.

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Why managers are made and not born?

Managers are made and not born because they managerial skills which are the mark of effective managers can be learned. With sufficient practice and right resources such as toolkits and assessments, managers can learn leadership skills and become effective.

Is a good and effective manager inherited or acquired?

Effective management skills are a combination of both personal qualities and professional training. Managerial skills can be acquired through the various modes of training available such as managerial training programs, leadership coaching, etc.

What makes an effective manager and leader?

An effective manager and leader is one who can guide their team in the right direction. They have the right skills such as communication and conflict resolution to overcome internal team challenges as well as other traits such as active listening, problem solving, critical thinking, etc. to maneuver the team through challenges.

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6 Steps To Good Leadership Development Plans For You

6 Steps To Good Leadership Development Plans For You

When leaders are development-ready, they’re able to adapt to different situations and apply leadership skills effectively—having a leadership development plan allows individuals to develop leadership skills that will help them become more effective leaders. Just as individuals have personal development plans for career and professional development, organizations also have leadership development plans. This type of plan helps employees grow and become better leaders.

What is leadership development?

Leadership development is the process of helping individuals become better leaders. It involves training, education, and experience. A leadership development plan typically includes goals, objectives, and strategies. These goals and objectives determine the type of training or experience a person needs and the pace at which they should receive that activity or experience. This plan is tailored to the individual’s needs and interests, considering their background, goals, and aspirations. Following a plan can improve an individual’s ability to make good decisions and develop practical leadership skills. Leaders who have developed strong leadership skills can build trust among employees and stakeholders, create positive organizational climates, lead change effectively, and more. They are also better equipped to excel in their roles and perform better.

What is a leadership development plan?

A leadership development plan is a program created to help individuals grow and develop their leadership skills. A leadership development plan should be tailored to the individual’s needs and goals and include activities that support the person in building leadership skills and abilities. For example, the plan may consist of workshops, group activities, and role-play simulations. In addition, the plan should be updated regularly by the organizations to reflect individual skills and abilities changes. A well-crafted leadership plan can help an individual become a more effective leader, improving employee engagement and morale within the organization.

Benefits of a Personal Leadership Development Plan

A personal leadership development plan is valuable for improving skills and knowledge and developing new abilities and strengths. It can help you focus on your personal goals and objectives, create a positive attitude and work ethic, develop strong team skills, and develop the skills necessary to lead and manage yourself effectively. A personal leadership development plan can also help you create a roadmap of goals, strategies, and objectives, track your progress, and stay focused on your goals. Overall, personal leadership development plans offer many benefits for individuals of all ages.

Types of leadership development plans

Below are the two types of leadership development plans: –

Individual leadership development plans

These are the plans tailored to the individual employee’s specific needs, goals, and career aspirations. They may include activities such as coaching, mentoring, or self-directed learning. These plans are particularly effective for high-potential employees groomed for leadership roles or those with specific development needs.

Group leadership development plans

These on the other hand, are designed to develop leadership skills and knowledge among a group of employees. These plans may include team-building exercises, workshops, or training programs. Group leadership development plans are particularly effective for developing a team or department’s skills and knowledge. Both individual and group leadership development plans have their advantages and disadvantages. Individual programs are more tailored to the specific needs of the individual employee, but they can be more expensive and time-consuming to implement. Group plans, on the other hand, are less costly and more efficient, but they may not address the specific needs of individual employees. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the specific needs of the organization and the employees. Combining individual and group plans may be the most effective way to develop leaders within an organization.

Components of a leadership development plan

A leadership development plan is a plan that outlines the process and goals of leadership development for an individual, team, or organization. Essentially, it’s a road map of leadership development goals and objectives. In addition, it provides direction on how to achieve leadership development goals. A plan for leadership development typically includes the following key components:
  • Needs assessment: A thorough evaluation of the organization’s current leadership skills and knowledge, as well as identification of any specific challenges or issues the organization is facing.
  • Goals and objectives: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals and objectives that align with the overall goals of the organization and address the identified needs.
  • Development methods: Selection of the most appropriate methods for achieving the goals and objectives of the plan, such as mentoring, coaching, training programs, workshops, or online courses.
  • Timeline and milestones: A schedule for the plan’s implementation, including milestones and deadlines, should be followed to ensure that the plan stays on track and that progress can be monitored.
  • Resources: Identification of the resources required for the plan, such as funding, personnel, and materials, and ensuring that they are available.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Regular monitoring of the progress of the plan, assessment of the effectiveness of the development methods, and making any necessary adjustments.
  • Communication and buy-in: Communication of the plan to all stakeholders, including employees, managers, and executives, to ensure buy-in and support for training.
  • Measuring success: Establishing metrics to measure the success of the leadership development plan and regularly reviewing the progress and impact of the program.

How to develop a leadership development plan?

A leadership development plan is a roadmap of action and reflection that guides an individual toward leadership development goals. The following steps will help you create a plan for leadership development that caters to your needs and requirements. 

1. Assess current leadership development needs

The first step in developing a leadership development plan is to assess the organization’s current needs. This includes identifying gaps in skills and knowledge, as well as any specific challenges or issues the organization faces. The assessment can be conducted through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or other methods and should involve input from employees at all levels of the organization. Assessment is the first and most critical step for developing leadership development plans. We are here to get you smoothly started on the task. Go to Risely to find out the various free self-assessments we provide to assess your multiple skills as a manager or leader. These assessments will help you identify the gaps in your leadership and empower you with the necessary information to develop these skills.

2. Define goals and objectives

After identifying the goals and objectives, the next step is to define the goals and objectives of the leadership development plan. These should align with the organization’s overall goals and address the identified needs. The goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Here are some effective tips for managers on how to set SMART goals and make them a reality.

3. Identify target audience

The target audience for the leadership development plan should be determined based on the goals and objectives. This could include current leaders who need to improve specific skills, high-potential employees for leadership roles, or new hires who need to develop leadership skills. Remember to include the often overlooked profiles: think of mid-level manager training or leadership development for supervisors, as their impact on team performance is quite direct.

4. Select development methods

The next step is to select the most appropriate methods for achieving the goals and objectives of the plan. Various development ways include mentoring, coaching, training programs, workshops, online courses, or a combination of methods. The methods should be chosen based on the identified needs and target audience and tailored to the organization’s culture and resources.

5. Create a timeline

A plan implementation schedule should be developed, including milestones and deadlines. A timeline will help to ensure that the plan stays on track and that progress can be monitored.

6. Allocate resources

Identify the resources required for the plan, such as funding, personnel, and materials, and ensure they are available. For example, resource allocation could include budgeting for training programs, hiring additional staff, or purchasing materials.

7. Communicate the plan

Communicate the plan to all stakeholders, including employees, managers, and executives, to ensure buy-in and support. This includes communicating the goals and objectives of the program, the target audience, and the methods used. In addition, it is essential to keep all stakeholders informed of progress and to involve them in the monitoring and evaluation process. Check out How Open Communication Boosts Productivity Understand With 3 Examples

8. Monitor and evaluate progress

Regularly monitor the plan’s progress, assess the development methods’ effectiveness, and make any necessary adjustments. This includes tracking the progress of individual participants as well as the overall success of the plan.

Leadership Development Plans Examples

A leadership development plan is a valuable tool for developing the skills and knowledge needed for effective leadership. A well-crafted plan can help individuals develop the skills, abilities, and knowledge required to be influential leaders in their organizations. Not only does it help individuals grow as leaders, but it also helps them become better team members. Let’s take the example of an L&D head, Alex, creating a leadership development plan for her newly promoted managers. She has noticed that they face a few challenges and thinks a shared plan would be the best way to move forward, as it creates opportunities to interact with people in similar contexts and challenges. Here’s how she develops a leadership development plan for managers: 
Set up the goals first 
Developing a plan starts by identifying the objectives. Alex does this by analyzing the skill gaps she has observed and assessed. She also asks the managers about the challenges they are facing. Ultimately, she narrows down these goals for the leadership development plan:
  •    Enhance leadership skills and capabilities of five newly promoted managers.
  •    Foster effective communication and team collaboration.
  •    Develop strategic thinking and decision-making abilities.
  •    Strengthen emotional intelligence and resilience in leadership roles.
  •    Cultivate a growth mindset and continuous learning culture.
Timelines and methods
Alex recognizes that developing leadership capabilities is more than just a one-stop job. Instead, it is going to take time and effort. Hence, she sets up the timeline for the leadership development plan for new managers of her team as follows: 
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Monthly training sessions: Each month, a dedicated training session will focus on specific leadership competencies.
  • Ongoing coaching and mentorship: Managers will receive bi-weekly one-on-one coaching sessions and quarterly group mentorship meetings. Alex will also integrate in-house SMEs and seniors as coaches to provide socialization opportunities.
Resources – Where to learn from?
Alex has created a mix of resources and training methods for the leadership development plan to encourage self-directed learning and engage multiple people who learn and think differently. It includes:
  • External Leadership Workshops: Attending external leadership workshops or seminars focusing on effective communication, strategic planning, and emotional intelligence.
  • Internal Training Modules: Customized training modules developed in-house, covering topics like conflict resolution, change management, and team dynamics.
  • Leadership Books and Resources: Access relevant leadership books, articles, podcasts, and online courses to supplement learning.
  • Guest Speakers and Subject Matter Experts: Inviting industry experts and senior leaders within the organization to share insights and best practices.
  • Leadership Assessments: Utilization of leadership assessment tools to identify strengths and areas for development, such as 360-degree feedback assessments and personality assessments like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Risely’s skill assessments.
Assessment and Evaluation Methods
Training cannot go on without assessment and evaluation. Alex has established a system of reviews and feedback to ensure that the personal leadership development plans are working effectively.
  • Pre-Assessment: Conduct initial assessments to identify each manager’s current leadership skills, strengths, and areas for improvement.
  • Monthly Progress Reviews: Regular check-ins to assess progress against development goals and provide feedback on performance.
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Collect feedback from direct reports, peers, and supervisors to gain insights into leadership effectiveness and areas for growth.
  • Leadership Competency Assessments: Periodic assessments to evaluate proficiency in key leadership competencies, such as communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution.
  • Post-Program Evaluation: Gather feedback from participants regarding the development program’s effectiveness, areas of improvement, and suggestions for future enhancements.
By implementing this comprehensive leadership development plan, Alex aims to equip her newly promoted managers with the necessary skills, knowledge, and mindset to excel in their leadership roles and drive organizational success. A few other leadership development plan examples can look like:
  • Rotational leadership program: This program provides employees with hands-on training and experience in leadership roles through job rotations. It allows employees to gain experience in different areas of the organization and develop a broad range of leadership skills.
  • Executive coaching program: A program that pairs senior leaders with experienced coaches who provide guidance, feedback, and support in communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking.
  • Mentoring program: A program that matches less experienced employees with more experienced leaders who provide guidance, advice, and support. Mentoring is done one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Leadership training workshops: A series of workshops or seminars that provide employees with knowledge and skills in communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  • Self-paced e-learning program: An online program that allows employees to learn at their own pace and location. It covers various leadership topics, such as emotional intelligence, change management, and mentoring. 


In conclusion, leadership development plans are essential for organizations looking to develop and retain strong leaders. A well-designed plan should include a thorough needs assessment, clear goals and objectives, appropriate development methods, a timeline and milestones, sufficient resources, regular monitoring and evaluation, communication and buy-in from stakeholders, a follow-up and sustainability plan, and metrics to measure success. Organizations can improve their performance and achieve their goals by providing employees with the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to become influential leaders. With the ever-changing business environment and the constant need for innovation, it is more important than ever to have a strong leadership development plan in place. These plans will benefit the organization and the individuals who will grow and evolve with the organization.

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Strategic Thinking In Leadership: Secrets To Success From 5 Leaders

Strategic Thinking In Leadership: Secrets To Success From 5 Leaders

Leadership is more than just managing people and resources. It’s about having a vision for the future and developing a plan to achieve it. That’s where strategic thinking comes in. Strategic thinking is the ability to see the big picture, understand how different parts of a team or project fit together and make decisions that move toward a long-term goal. In this blog, we will explore the importance of strategic thinking in leadership, the key skills required to be an effective strategic leader, and the habits that successful strategic leaders cultivate to drive innovation and achieve long-term success. If you are a new leader seeking to develop your strategic thinking skills and refine your approach, this blog will provide valuable insights to help you lead your team to success.

What is strategic thinking in leadership?

Strategic thinking in leadership is the ability to analyze and understand the big picture of a team or project, anticipate potential challenges and opportunities, and make informed decisions that align with long-term goals. It involves considering the short and long-term implications of decisions, prioritizing tasks and projects, and quickly adapting to market or industry changes. Leaders who think strategically can effectively communicate their vision and goals to their team and make data-driven decisions that drive the team’s success. It’s important to note that this skill involves both analytical and creative thinking. Leaders who think strategically must be able to gather and analyze data, identify trends and patterns, and use that information to make informed decisions. However, they must also be able to think creatively, consider different perspectives and approaches to problems, and develop innovative solutions that move the team forward. Another critical aspect of strategic thinking in leadership is the ability to anticipate change and plan for the future. This involves developing contingency plans to address potential challenges and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. 
Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft shifted its focus towards cloud computing. Nadella recognized the growing importance of cloud services and led the company’s efforts to become a major player in the cloud industry. Microsoft’s Azure platform, developed during Nadella’s tenure, has become a key contributor to the company’s revenue and growth.
Mary Barra (Chair and CEO of General Motors) Mary Barra has strategically positioned General Motors for the future by emphasizing electric and autonomous vehicles. She announced plans for General Motors to go all-electric by 2035, recognizing the shift in consumer preferences and the industry’s move towards sustainable transportation.
Jeff Bezos (Founder and Former CEO of Amazon) Jeff Bezos strategically diversified Amazon’s business beyond e-commerce. Recognizing the potential of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched, providing a new revenue stream and becoming a leader in the cloud services industry.
Steve Jobs (Co-founder of Apple Inc.) Jobs strategically emphasized design and user experience in Apple products. This focus differentiated Apple from competitors and created a strong brand identity. The intuitive design and aesthetic appeal of products like the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad contributed to Apple’s success.
Indra Nooyi (Former CEO of PepsiCo) Nooyi strategically led PepsiCo through a shift in product focus by promoting healthier food and beverage options. This strategic decision aligned with changing consumer preferences and contributed to the development and marketing of products like Baked Lay’s and Tropicana juices.
Read more: How To Improve Strategic Thinking Skills? 5 Steps For Managers

Why is strategic thinking in leadership important ?

Strategic thinking in leadership is critical because it helps them navigate the challenges of their role and drive their team’s success. When starting a new leadership role, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. However, by taking a strategic approach, new leaders can establish a clear direction for their team and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals. One of the key benefits of strategic thinking for new leaders is that it provides a roadmap for success. As a result, leaders can prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively by setting long-term goals and identifying the steps necessary to achieve them. Another benefit of strategic thinking is that it enables new leaders to anticipate and plan for change. The industry constantly evolves, and new leaders must adapt to new challenges and opportunities. By thinking strategically, leaders can identify potential risks and opportunities and develop contingency plans to address them. Finally, strategic thinking in leadership is essential for effective communication. New leaders must be able to communicate their vision and goals to their team and stakeholders in a clear, concise, and compelling way. By thinking strategically, leaders can identify the key messages they must convey and tailor their communication style to suit different stakeholders. 

What are the different strategic thinking skills?

Strategic thinking skills refer to analyzing complex situations, identifying opportunities and challenges, and developing effective strategies to achieve specific goals. It involves thinking critically and creatively, considering multiple perspectives, and making decisions. They are essential because managers can make or break company growth. Strategic thinking in leadership requires a combination of skills mentioned below:
  1. Analytical skills: Strategic thinking requires gathering and analyzing data, identifying patterns and trends, and using that information to make decisions. Leaders who think strategically must be able to interpret complex data sets and draw meaningful insights from them.
  2. Communication skills: Effective communication is essential for strategic thinking. Leaders who think strategically must communicate their vision and goals to their team and stakeholders clearly, concisely, and compellingly. They must also be able to listen actively and provide feedback to their team.
  3. Problem-solving skills: Strategic thinking requires the ability to identify and solve problems. Leaders who think strategically must be able to approach problems from multiple angles and develop creative solutions that address the root causes of the issue.
  4. Planning and management skills: Strategic thinking involves setting long-term goals and identifying the necessary steps. Leaders who think strategically must be able to develop and implement strategic plans, allocate resources effectively, and manage risks and opportunities.

How to think strategically as a leader?

Strategic thinking in leadership does not come naturally to everyone, but it’s a skill that can be developed with practice. Here are some tips for how you can improve your strategic thinking skills:
  • Gather information: To think strategically, leaders need to have a deep understanding of their team, its mission, values, and objectives. Managers must also stay up to date with the latest industry trends, market changes, and emerging technologies.
  • Analyze data: Use data to make informed decisions. Analyze trends, identify patterns, and use data to predict future outcomes.
  • Think creatively: Be bold and think outside the box. Consider different perspectives and approaches to problems and challenges.
  • Develop a plan: Once you’ve gathered information and analyzed data, develop a plan that aligns with your team’s goals and values. 
  • Evaluate your progress: Regularly review your progress towards your goals and adjust your plan as necessary. Celebrate successes and learn from failures.

How can managers improve their strategic thinking skills?

Ask strategic questions

Asking the right questions is key to strategic thinking. By asking open-ended questions that challenge assumptions and uncover new insights, you can better understand the problem or opportunity. Strategic questions can help you identify root causes, consider multiple perspectives, and develop creative solutions.

Observe and reflect

Observing and reflecting on your environment can help you develop your strategic thinking skills. By analyzing trends and patterns in your industry or marketplace, you can identify opportunities for growth and potential risks. Reflection allows you to think deeply about your experiences and learn from them, enabling you to make more informed decisions.

Consider different and opposing viewpoints

Strategic thinking in leadership involves considering multiple perspectives and ideas. Leaders can challenge their assumptions and expand their thinking by actively seeking opposing views. This can help you develop more robust strategies and make more informed decisions.

Adopt formal training

Formal training in strategic thinking can help you develop your skills and gain new insights. Many courses, workshops, and books can teach you the principles and techniques of strategic thinking. This can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices and develop your skills in a structured and systematic way.

Collaborate with others

Collaboration can help leaders develop their strategic thinking skills by exposing them to new ideas and perspectives. By working with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences, they can gain fresh insights into their challenges and develop more innovative solutions. Seek role models: Learning from others skilled in strategic thinking can be a valuable way to develop your skills. Seek mentors and role models who can offer guidance, advice, and feedback, and observe how they approach strategic challenges. This can help you develop your strategic thinking skills and build a network of support and guidance as you navigate your leadership role.

What skills do leaders with solid strategic thinking demonstrate?

  • Strategic agility: Leaders with strong strategic thinking skills can quickly adapt to changing circumstances and respond to new challenges. They can anticipate potential roadblocks and opportunities and adjust their strategies accordingly.
  • Flexibility when dealing with a paradox: Effective strategic thinkers can hold seemingly opposing ideas in their minds simultaneously and find creative solutions to resolve them. They can embrace complexity and ambiguity and use them to their advantage.
  • Clarity amid ambiguity: Leaders with strong strategic thinking skills can cut through ambiguity and make sense of complex information. They can identify the key drivers of change and distill them into clear and concise goals and strategies.
  • The perspective of the bigger team picture: Strategic thinkers can see the big picture and understand how their decisions and actions impact the team. They can align their strategies with the overall mission and vision of the team and work collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals.

Activities to Boost Strategic Thinking as a Leader

  • Continuous learning: Strategic leaders are committed to constant learning and self-improvement. They seek new information, ideas, and perspectives and apply them to their work. They also prioritize ongoing professional development and seek opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge.
  • Focus on the long-term: Strategic leaders can balance short-term goals with long-term vision. They prioritize initiatives that align with the team’s strategic direction and can stay focused, even in the face of short-term challenges.
  • Collaborative mindset: Strategic leaders understand the value of collaboration and actively seek opportunities to work with others. They build strong teams and partnerships and can leverage diverse perspectives to drive innovation and achieve shared goals.
  • Embrace innovation: Strategic leaders are open to new ideas and approaches and are willing to take calculated risks to achieve breakthrough results. They encourage experimentation and learning and can pivot quickly in response to changing market conditions or customer needs.
  • Lead with purpose: Strategic leaders are guided by a clear purpose and mission. They can articulate a compelling vision for the future and inspire others to join them in achieving it. They also prioritize ethical behavior and act with integrity in all their interactions.
By cultivating these habits, strategic leaders can drive innovation, build strong teams, and achieve long-term success for their teams.


Strategic thinking in leadership is critical in today’s fast-paced environment. Effective strategic leaders possess various analytical, communication, problem-solving, planning, and management skills. They can ask strategic questions, observe and reflect, consider opposing ideas, and embrace formal training to improve their strategic thinking abilities. They also cultivate habits such as continuous learning, a focus on the long term, a collaborative mindset, and an embrace of innovation. By developing these skills and habits, strategic leaders can lead their teams through uncertainty and change and drive long-term success. Whether you are a new leader seeking to develop your strategic thinking skills or an experienced one looking to refine your approach, the key is to prioritize continuous learning and self-improvement and to stay focused while remaining flexible and adaptable. You can become a successful strategic leader and help your team thrive by doing so.

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Frequently asked question 

Why do leaders need strategic thinking?

Leaders need strategic thinking because it enables them to see the big picture and anticipate future opportunities and challenges. It helps them make informed decisions aligned with the team’s vision and goals and enables them to develop and execute effective strategies that drive growth and success. Without strategic thinking, leaders may become reactive, miss opportunities, or fail to address potential threats.

What is the strategic role of leaders? 

The strategic role of leaders is to provide direction, align resources, and make decisions that support the team’s long-term success. They must develop a deep understanding of the team’s internal and external environment, identify key trends and drivers, and anticipate future challenges and opportunities. They must translate this knowledge into actionable strategies and plans that drive growth, innovation, and competitive advantage.

How do leaders develop strategic thinking?

Leaders can develop strategic thinking by:
– Engaging in continuous learning and professional development to stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments.
– Seeking diverse perspectives and input from colleagues, stakeholders, and experts to better understand the team’s challenges.
– Encouraging a culture of innovation and experimentation that supports creative thinking and risk-taking.
– Setting clear goals and objectives aligned with the team’s vision and values.

How can strategic thinking improve leadership? 

Strategic thinking can improve leadership by enabling leaders to:
– Develop a clear vision and direction for the team.
– Identify and capitalize on opportunities for growth and innovation.
– Anticipate and mitigate potential risks and challenges.

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Problem Solving And Decision Making: 10 Hacks That Managers Love

Problem Solving And Decision Making: 10 Hacks That Managers Love

In life, we face various problems that require us to make decisions. Some are small and quickly resolved, while others can be more complex and challenging. But what if you could master the art of problem solving and decision making? In this post, we will delve deep into what problem solving and decision making are, their importance, and the science behind them. We will also provide you with ten proven techniques to help you tackle problems and easily make sound decisions. From Root Cause Analysis to Vroom-Yetton Decision Model, we have got it all covered in this comprehensive guide to mastering the art of problem solving and decision making. So buckle up as we take you on an insightful journey toward becoming a problem solving pro!

Understanding Problem Solving & Decision Making

Problem solving and decision making are related concepts often used together, but they are not the same. Here is a brief explanation of the difference between problem solving and decision making: Problem solving: Problem solving is identifying, analyzing, and resolving problems or issues. It involves specifying the root cause of a problem and finding solutions to overcome it. Problem solving requires critical thinking, creativity, and analytical skills. It is a process that can resolve simple and complex problems in various contexts, such as personal, professional, and organizational settings. Decision making: Decision making is the process of choosing a course of action from among several alternatives. It involves evaluating options, considering consequences, and selecting the best course of action based on the available information and criteria. Decision making requires critical thinking, judgment, and evaluation skills. It is a process that can be used to make simple and complex decisions in various contexts, such as personal, professional, and organizational settings.

Why are problem solving and decision making skills essential in the workplace?

Effective problem solving and decision making skills are essential in the workplace for several reasons:
  • Improved efficiency and productivity: Employees with strong problem solving and decision making skills are better equipped to identify and solve issues that may arise in their work. This leads to improved efficiency and productivity as they can complete their work more timely and effectively.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Problem solving and decision making skills also help employees address any concerns or issues customers may have. This leads to enhanced customer satisfaction as customers feel their needs are being addressed and their problems are resolved.
  • Effective teamwork: When working in teams, problem solving and decision making skills are essential for effective collaboration. Groups that can effectively identify and solve problems together are more likely to successfully achieve their goals.
  • Innovation: Effective problem-solving and decision-making skills are also crucial for driving innovation in the workplace. Employees who think creatively and develop new solutions to problems are more likely to develop innovative ideas to move the business forward.
  • Risk management: Problem solving and decision making skills are also crucial for managing risk in the workplace. By identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them, employees can help minimize the negative impact of risks on the business.
Overall, problem solving and decision making skills are essential in the workplace as they help employees identify and solve problems, work effectively in teams, drive innovation, and manage risk. As a result, employers highly value these skills as they are essential for business success.

Five Techniques for Effective Problem Solving

Here are five different techniques and strategies for problem solving, along with an example of how each one could be used:
  • Brainstorming: Brainstorming is a technique for generating creative ideas and solutions to problems. In a brainstorming session, a group of people share their thoughts and build on each other’s suggestions. The goal is to generate a large number of ideas in a short amount of time. For example, a team of engineers could use brainstorming to develop new ideas for improving the efficiency of a manufacturing process.
  • Root Cause Analysis: Root cause analysis is a technique for identifying the underlying cause of a problem. It involves asking “why” questions to uncover the root cause of the problem. Once the root cause is identified, steps can be taken to address it. For example, a hospital could use root cause analysis to investigate why patient falls occur and identify the root cause, such as inadequate staffing or poor lighting.
  • SWOT Analysis: SWOT analysis is a technique for evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to a problem or situation. It involves assessing internal and external factors that could impact the problem and identifying ways to leverage strengths and opportunities while minimizing weaknesses and threats. For example, a small business could use SWOT analysis to evaluate its market position and identify opportunities to expand its product line or improve its marketing.
  • Pareto Analysis: Pareto analysis is a technique for identifying the most critical problems to address. It involves ranking problems by impact and frequency and first focusing on the most significant issues. For example, a software development team could use Pareto analysis to prioritize bugs and issues to fix based on their impact on the user experience.
  • Decision Matrix Analysis: Decision matrix analysis evaluates alternatives and selects the best course of action. It involves creating a matrix to compare options based on criteria and weighting factors and selecting the option with the highest score. For example, a manager could use decision matrix analysis to evaluate different software vendors based on criteria such as price, features, and support and select the vendor with the best overall score.
Check out Decision Making Grids: 7 steps to create a grid and reach your potential

Five Techniques for Effective Decision Making

Here are five effective techniques and strategies for decision making, along with an example of how each one could be used:
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Cost-benefit analysis is a technique for evaluating the costs and benefits of different options. It involves comparing each option’s expected costs and benefits and selecting the one with the highest net benefit. For example, a company could use cost-benefit analysis to evaluate a new product line’s potential return on investment.
  • Decision Trees: Decision trees are a visual representation of the decision-making process. They involve mapping out different options and their potential outcomes and probabilities. This helps to identify the best course of action based on the likelihood of different outcomes. For example, a farmer could use a decision tree to choose crops to plant based on the expected weather patterns.
  • SWOT Analysis: SWOT analysis can also be used for decision making. By identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of different options, a decision maker can evaluate each option’s potential risks and benefits. For example, a business owner could use SWOT analysis to assess the potential risks and benefits of expanding into a new market.
  • Pros and Cons Analysis: Pros and cons analysis lists the advantages and disadvantages of different options. It involves weighing the pros and cons of each option to determine the best course of action. For example, an individual could use a pros and cons analysis to decide whether to take a job offer.
  • Six Thinking Hats: The six thinking hats technique is a way to think about a problem from different perspectives. It involves using six different “hats” to consider various aspects of the decision. The hats include white (facts and figures), red (emotions and feelings), black (risks and drawbacks), yellow (benefits and opportunities), green (creativity and new ideas), and blue (overview and control). For example, a team could use the six thinking hats technique to evaluate different options for a marketing campaign.
These techniques and strategies can be helpful in decision making in different situations. For example, using a structured approach to decision making, a decision maker can evaluate options more objectively and make better-informed choices. You can check out more here: The 10 Best Decision Making Techniques in Management


In conclusion, mastering problem-solving and decision-making techniques are essential for personal and professional success. It allows you to make informed decisions, solve complex problems, and quickly achieve your goals. By using these ten techniques effectively, you can enhance your problem solving and decision making abilities and become a more productive and efficient individual. So, start practicing these techniques today to get closer to your goals. Want to learn more about how to master the art of problem solving and decision making?

How strong are your decision making skills?

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Frequently Asked Questions

How are problem solving and decision making related?

Problem solving and decision making are closely related concepts, as effective problem solving involves identifying potential solutions and making informed decisions about which solution to pursue. To make a good decision, it is often necessary to engage in problem solving by gathering information, analyzing options, and weighing the pros and cons of different choices. Ultimately, problem solving and decision making require critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate information logically and systematically.

What is a good example of decision-making?

A good example of decision-making is carefully considering all available options, weighing the pros and cons, and choosing based on what aligns with your values and goals. For instance, deciding to go back to school to further your education or accepting a job offer based on factors like salary, benefits, and work-life balance can be good examples of effective decision-making.

What are the steps in problem-solving and decision-making?

The steps in problem-solving and decision-making can vary depending on the situation. Still, some common steps include identifying the problem, gathering information and analyzing it, generating potential solutions or options, evaluating the pros and cons of each option, making a decision, and taking action to implement the chosen solution. It is essential to reflect on the process and outcome to learn from mistakes or improve future decision-making.

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11 Reasons Why Decision-Making is Important in Management

11 Reasons Why Decision-Making is Important in Management

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell
Decision-making is one of the central processes for any team, more so for the managers and leaders. But why is that? What makes decision-making one of the most critical skills for leaders? As Malcom Galdwell’s quote says, decision-making needs you to bring in the best of both worlds – your gut instinct and your mind. Rely on either too much, and you are at risk. It happens because most of our decisions as leaders carry a heavy impact. As managers and leaders, your choices can catapult teams to success or push them into the sandbox. This potential for change is what gives decisions the importance they hold. This blog post will uncover eleven reasons why decision-making is important. But before that, there’s a quick round of what decision-making entails to figure out what the fuss is all about! Ultimately, we also identify the characteristics of effective decision-making to help you sharpen your processes and get on a journey of professional growth confidently.

Why decision-making is important for the managers?

Before jumping on, let’s think briefly: where do managers make decisions? The list would start slow and appear endless. Managerial decisions impact strategies, team performance, resource allocation, goal-setting, and team members’ careers, to name a few things. By making sound decisions, managers can drive their teams forward and ensure they are well-positioned to succeed in a constantly changing environment. On the other hand, wrong choices can hurt teams quickly, too. Hence, recognizing the importance of decision-making in workplaces is crucial to succeed as a manager. In an era where AI and advanced technology are touted as the most significant threats to employment, safer jobs rely on hard-to-replicate skills, such as decision-making. Decision-making in management that combines a data-driven approach with expertise and experience is the cornerstone of such effectiveness. As the world moves toward a more digital workplace, skills like decision-making are becoming more important, as the US’s National Bureau of Economic Research noted in a paper by David Deming.

11 Reasons Why Decision-Making is Important in Management

The critical skill of decision-making derives its importance from its wide-ranging impact. Think of your typical day as a manager and the number of decisions you consciously and unconsciously make. It could be about sharing a message with your team, adding a new strategy to your plan, or choosing a new way to manage deadlines. The areas are vast, and thus, your decisions become all the more important. Let’s explore some of these aspects below to outline the importance of decision-making for managers. effectively:

Allocating the Resources Right

Resource allocation is one of the most crucial areas that a manager oversees. It includes allocating resources for the various projects that the team may be handling, along with internal budgets and support for the team through training and other development opportunities. Allocating these resources effectively ensures that teams can achieve and exceed their deadlines on time. On the other hand, mismanagement of resources can lead to waste or shortages – both of these scenarios hurt teams. For example, a marketing manager needs to allocate budgets for various campaigns that their team has proposed. Suppose they make the right decision and give adequate funding to the projects that are likely to succeed, such as targeted advertising for their audience. In that case, their team can obtain a positive ROI. Conversely, investing in the wrong channels creates liabilities. It leads to a wastage of resources that the team worked hard to get.

Solving Problems Effectively

A manager’s time goes into solving problems that can hold back their teams. And how does the problem-solving process go about? You need to look for solutions and decide the best course of action for your team. Again, the decision may not be cent percent right; the key lies in picking the best from the available options through analysis. Let’s return to the marketing manager we met in the first point; if she identifies that her team cannot submit work on time, she must attempt to improve this situation. She can look into some options here – should the deadlines be more relaxed? Or does the team need help in managing their time better? Choosing a plan here and acting on it involves making a decision that impacts multiple people in an attempt to solve a problem, as many managers do daily.

Identifying and Grabbing Opportunities

As the faces of teams, managers must know when to spot and grab an opportunity. Quick decision-making based on mental models and solid analytical abilities enables managers to get these decisions right. It could involve entering new markets, launching new products, or investing in new technology. By taking advantage of these opportunities, managers can drive their teams forward and improve their competitiveness.

Goal achievement

Achieving goals is the hallmark of a manager’s success. Decision-making skills are present at every step of the goal-setting process, from choosing which goals to pursue to the strategies applied to achieve them.  Suppose a project manager is working with tight guidelines. At this stage, they must choose which tasks and activities to prioritize for the team and which can be skipped. Moreover, the project manager needs to consider the risks and challenges involved in this process and choose an action plan accordingly. By making informed decisions, managers can align their actions with their goals and ensure that the team moves in the right direction.

Conflict Resolution at Work

Conflicts can arise in any workplace, and effective decision-making by managers is crucial for conflict resolution. Effective decision-making in the conflict resolution process involves understanding the situation from different perspectives and choosing the most mutually beneficial solutions. Whether it is a dispute between employees or departments, managers must be able to make fair and effective decisions to maintain a positive work environment and avoid negative consequences. For instance, HR professionals need to mediate conflicts arising from employee relations issues. Suppose a team member accuses another of not putting in effort at work. In such a scenario, the manager needs to hear both sides and define a course of action. They can inform the first team member about a rational workload and discuss improved time management with the other. 

Motivating Employees

Putting employee motivation and decision-making in the same equation seems absurd at the outset. But here’s the deal – your decisions impact how your employees perceive work. Picture this: a manager decides everything by themselves. They like a particular strategy, so the team goes that way irrespective of concerns about extra workload or lack of resources to carry it out effectively. You get a team of disgruntled and unhappy employees because their manager’s decisions are unhelpful. On the other hand, think of a manager who makes thoughtful choices. They can invite team members to contribute via ideas and explain the rationale behind decisions when they seem too far-fetched. Good decision-making by managers can improve employee motivation and satisfaction by giving them space and creating trust. It can increase productivity and performance and help retain top talent.

Managing Risks for Your Team

Decisions are a critical factor in determining how much risk your team faces. When managed well, risky situations can be navigated effectively to create opportunities. But, mismanagement of risk can heavily jeopardize teams, making decision-making regarding risk a crucial function of any managerial role. Effective decision-making in management is essential for controlling risks that may impact the team. It could involve assessing financial risks, regulatory compliance risks, or operational risks. Managers can mitigate risks and ensure their team’s long-term success by making informed decisions.


The importance of decision making is most aptly visible when managers need to lead transformations. The business world is constantly changing, and managers must be able to adapt to these changes. Effective decision-making enables managers to be flexible and responsive to changes in the marketplace, technology, and other external factors. By making informed decisions, they can ensure that their team remains competitive and successful over the long term. The role of adaptability became all the more apparent over the recent year when the pandemic induced rapid changes in the way of working adopted by many organizations. Managers who could foresee the challenges and come up with quick solutions in the face of uncertainty were able to safeguard their teams to a greater extent. Read more: 5+ Examples Of Adaptability In The Workplace For Leaders

Improved communication

Getting communication right as a manager is a tricky business. While you have to ensure that the team understands your vision and shares your ideas, only some things can be communicated at all times. It’s a delicate balance – communicate too little, and you have a confused team; communicate too much, and your team now has a vast deal of information with little use for it. Add to it the prevalence of communication barriers that can make a mountain out of a molehill. Thus, choices regarding communication matter a lot for any management professional. The question is not simply of to be or not to be – it’s a broader idea. Choosing the right mode of communication, the suitable frequency, and adapting to situational and personal needs are just a few aspects.

Increased efficiency

Efficiency happens when things are set right. Things and processes are put right in place through managerial decisions. Choosing the proper workflows and structures can significantly impact your team’s productivity and efficiency. The key is to prepare the base correctly so that your team members can go through the process perfectly in every instance. Of course, sometimes you do go astray. However, effective decisions that consider multiple perspectives balance stakeholders well and consider the various forces impacting the team to enable greater efficiency. Managers who recognize the importance of decision-making can contribute to developing more efficient teams. It is because they understand the critical touch points, have analytical abilities to supplement good decisions, and have skills to execute them. Effective decision-making enables managers to streamline processes and increase efficiency within their team.

Better teamwork

Decision-making is, more often than not, not a top-down process. Instead, as a process that impacts many, it considers many, too. And that’s where the role of decision-making in teamwork gets outlined. When managers know the importance of decision-making, it can improve teamwork and collaboration within the team. It happens because they are open to ideas and involve the team at various stages. For instance, a manager can ask each team member to propose an idea for their next marketing campaign. Finally, they pick a few with some modifications and a consensus. Participation, mutual trust, and healthy relationships are enhanced in such decision-making processes. Conversely, imposing decisions and not communicating them can lead to disruptions and resentment in the team.

What are the Characteristics of Decision-Making?

  • Rational thinking: Rational thinking is a crucial characteristic of effective decision-making. It involves analyzing data, weighing the pros and cons, and considering different options before deciding. Managers must use logical reasoning and critical thinking to make informed decisions that align with their team’s goals.
  • Process: Decision-making is a process, not a one-time event. It involves gathering information, generating options, evaluating alternatives, and implementing the chosen solution. Managers must understand and follow a structured decision-making process to ensure that all relevant information is considered and that the best decision is made.
  • Selective: Effective decision-makers are selective in their approach to problem-solving. They prioritize the most critical issues and allocate resources accordingly while disregarding matters that are less important or have lower priority. This helps them to focus their efforts and make the most impact.
  • Purposive: Effective decision-making is purposive, meaning a clear purpose or goal guides it. Managers must understand the purpose of their decisions and ensure that their actions align with their team’s goals. This helps to ensure that decisions are made with the right objectives in mind and that the team is moving in the right direction.
  • Positive: Positive decision-making is a process that involves making decisions that result in a positive outcome. Managers must focus on opportunities, seek solutions that benefit the team, and take a proactive approach to problem-solving. They can drive their team forward and achieve their goals by making positive decisions.
  • Commitment: Effective decision-makers must be committed to their decisions. They must have the courage to make tough decisions, even when the outcome may be uncertain. By being dedicated, they can ensure that decisions are implemented effectively and that the team moves forward.
  • Evaluations: Effective decision-making is a process that involves ongoing evaluations and assessments. Managers must continuously evaluate their decisions’ outcomes and make necessary adjustments. By regularly assessing their findings, they can ensure that they are making the right choices and that their team remains competitive and successful over the long term.

How to Make Effective Decisions? Tips for Managers

  • Reframe the problem: Reframing the problem can help managers to look at it from a different perspective and consider new solutions. By reframing the problem, managers can broaden their thinking and identify more innovative solutions.
  • Make evidence-based decisions: Effective decision-making is a process that involves relying on data, research, and other forms of evidence to inform your choices. Managers should gather and analyze relevant data to make informed decisions and minimize the risks associated with their choices.
  • Challenge the status quo: Managers should be willing to challenge the status quo and consider new and innovative solutions. By breaking away from traditional thinking and considering new approaches, managers can find unique and practical solutions to problems.
  • Get an outside perspective: Seeking the advice and views of others can help managers to broaden their thinking and consider new ideas. However, it’s also important to trust yourself and your instincts when making decisions.
  • Develop an eye for risk: Good decision-makers have an eye for risk and can assess potential risks associated with different choices. They weigh each option’s potential risks and benefits before making a decision to ensure that they make choices that are in the best interests of their team.
  • Let go of past mistakes: Effective decision-makers don’t dwell on past mistakes but instead learn from them and move forward. By letting go of past mistakes, they can focus on the present and make better decisions in the future.
  • Be honest with yourself: Effective decision-makers are open about their strengths, weaknesses, biases, and limitations. They understand that they are not perfect and are willing to admit when they need help. By being honest with themselves, they can make decisions grounded in reality and free of self-deception.


In this blog post, we discovered eleven reasons why decision-making remains among the most vital skills for a manager. Starting from understanding the crucial role and continuity of decision-making as a central ability to navigate a changing world, we delved deeper into the various reasons that uphold the importance of decision-making in the 21st century and beyond. For managers, decision-making is not merely about choices. Instead, it is a matter of the impact they can create through these actions. As we noted in the characteristics of decision-making, it’s not just a one-stop action. Decision-making is a continuous exercise to ensure relevance and success for professionals through the ages. To ensure you take advantage of this crucial skill, we recommend taking a free self-assessment by Risely. It helps you discover the minute areas that impact your talents and provides precise solutions.

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Importance of Decision Making FAQs

Why is decision making important in leadership?

Decision-making is crucial in leadership as it guides the direction of the team and organization. Leaders must make informed choices to achieve goals, inspire confidence in their team, and navigate challenges effectively.

Why is decision making important in the workplace?

In the workplace, decision-making impacts productivity, teamwork, and organizational success. Effective decision-making ensures efficient resource allocation, problem-solving, and a positive work environment, leading to improved performance and employee satisfaction.

Why is it important to make a good decision?

Making good decisions is vital as it directly impacts outcomes and consequences. Good decisions enhance productivity, build trust, and achieve desired results. Conversely, poor decisions can lead to wasted resources, missed opportunities, and negative repercussions for individuals and the organization.

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10+ Critical Thinking Questions to Build Your Skills

10+ Critical Thinking Questions to Build Your Skills

Critical thinking has become crucial for success in any field in today’s fast-paced and information-rich world. And the arena of management is definitely one of those. Critical thinking involves analyzing information, evaluating arguments, and making informed decisions based on evidence and reasoning. One of the most effective ways to develop your critical thinking skills is by asking the right questions. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most important critical thinking questions that managers and leaders can use to enhance their abilities and improve their overall performance, whether at work or in their personal lives. So, let’s hop on!

What is Critical Thinking for Leaders?

Critical thinking objectively analyzes, evaluates, and synthesizes information to form a judgment or decision. It involves examining information from multiple perspectives, questioning assumptions, identifying biases, and weighing evidence to reach logical conclusions. Critical thinking is essential because it allows you to assess information and arguments critically instead of unquestioningly accepting them as genuine. It enables you to identify faulty reasoning, inconsistencies, and gaps in arguments, which helps you make informed decisions and take responsible actions. In addition, critical thinking allows leaders to develop better communication skills, as they can articulate their ideas and opinions more effectively. As the world increasingly moves toward a technologically advanced way of working, critical thinking is one of the key factors in ensuring professional success as a manager in the era of AI and management working together. Hence, building your critical thinking skills is the need of the hour!

Why Do You Need Critical Thinking Skills at Work?

Critical thinking is essential in the workplace for several reasons:
  • Problem-solving: In any workplace, there are bound to be problems that arise. Critical thinking enables employees to analyze the problem from different angles, identify the root cause, and develop effective solutions.
  • Decision-making: Critical thinking is crucial when making important decisions. Employees with strong critical thinking skills can better weigh the pros and cons of various options, anticipate potential outcomes, and make informed decisions.
  • Innovation: Critical thinking enables employees to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to problems. Employees can identify new and creative ways to approach problems by examining the situation from different perspectives.
  • Communication: Effective communication is essential in any workplace. Critical thinking helps employees to communicate their ideas clearly and persuasively. It also enables employees to listen actively, ask insightful questions, and respond thoughtfully.
  • Time management: In fast-paced work environments, employees must make decisions quickly. Critical thinking lets employees quickly analyze information and make informed decisions without sacrificing quality.

Critical Thinking Questions for Managers and Teams

When we think of great managers, we often go to people who have solved challenges smartly and beaten down out-of-the-box challenges with even more innovative solutions. We can conclude one thing by looking at some examples of critical thinkers below.
Upon his return to Apple, Jobs critically assessed the company’s product lineup, streamlined its offerings, and focused on innovation. He made strategic decisions like introducing the iMac and later the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, which revitalized Apple and transformed it into one of the most valuable technology companies.
As CEO of PepsiCo, Nooyi navigated the shift in consumer preferences toward healthier options. She applied critical thinking to diversify the company’s product portfolio, acquiring and developing healthier snack and beverage options while maintaining profitability.
Barra, as CEO of General Motors, applied critical thinking to handle the aftermath of a major product recall. She prioritized transparency, initiated internal investigations, and implemented changes to improve product safety and corporate culture.
Thunberg’s critical thinking is evident in her ability to distil complex environmental issues into clear messages. She strategically uses her platform to influence public opinion, engage with world leaders, and mobilize a global movement demanding urgent action on climate change.
They always had clarity. What was the issue, and what needed to be done? These two served as the starting points. Arriving at these points is what critical thinking questions enable you to do. They help beat the confusion and chaos and envision the initial steps. Critical thinking questions can be powerful tools for managers and leaders to enhance their decision-making abilities, problem-solving skills, and leadership effectiveness. Based on the specific issues you are dealing with, such questions can help you probe the problem profoundly and identify solutions that could be skipping your mind at first glance. To get more insights, let’s dive into some critical thinking questions and examples below.

Critical Thinking Questions for Decision-Making and Planning

What problem or issue are we trying to solve, and what are the underlying causes?

This first critical thinking question encourages managers to clarify the nature of the problem or challenge and understand its root causes. It is a crucial first step in any problem-solving process, enabling you to develop targeted solutions that address the underlying issues rather than just the symptoms. To answer this question, you should first define the problem or issue they are trying to solve in clear and specific terms. Once they clearly understand the problem and its root causes, they can develop and implement targeted solutions that address the underlying issues. Let’s see this situation with an example –

A manager leads a team that needs help meeting its sales targets. Rather than simply increasing sales numbers, the manager first tries to understand the issue’s root causes. After conducting research and analysis, the manager identifies that the team needs more sales training and skills to engage with potential customers effectively. With this understanding, the manager can develop targeted training and coaching programs to improve the team’s sales skills, ultimately leading to better sales performance.

What are the potential consequences of different courses of action, and how can I mitigate risks?

This critical thinking question encourages leaders to consider the potential outcomes of different options and assess the associated risks. It enables you to make informed choices that consider both their actions’ short-term and long-term consequences during the decision-making process. You should identify their options and evaluate their potential outcomes to answer this question. Next, you should consider costs, benefits, and potential risks and weigh the pros and cons of each option. Once you have a clear understanding of the possible consequences of each option, you can then develop strategies to mitigate risks and maximize benefits. Here’s an example to illustrate this better –

A manager is considering launching a new product line. Before making a decision, the manager should evaluates the consequences of different courses of action. They consider factors such as market demand, production costs, and potential profitability, as well as potential risks such as supply chain disruptions or low sales volume. With this understanding, the manager then develops strategies to mitigate risks and maximize the chances of success. By taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to decision-making, the manager can increase the chances of success and minimize potential negative consequences.

What data do I need to make an informed decision, and how can I ensure its accuracy and reliability?

This critical thinking question encourages managers to take a data-driven approach to decision-making, ensuring that decisions are informed by accurate and reliable information. This is important because decisions based on complete or accurate information can be costly and damaging to organizations. Here’s how this situation can look like for a marketing manager –

A manager is considering expanding into a new market. To make an informed decision, the manager needs data on market size, consumer demographics, competitor analysis, and potential regulatory barriers. The manager then works to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this data, which involves validating sources, cross-checking data against multiple sources, and engaging experts in the field to provide additional insights.

What are the potential unintended consequences of the actions, and how can I minimize them? 

This critical thinking question encourages managers to think critically about the potential unintended consequences of their decisions and actions. It is important because unintended consequences can significantly impact a team. Hence, when thinking along these lines, go beyond the first level. Imagine all the possibilities and the second and third-order impacts it can bring. Now, this sounds like a challenging prospect, but here’s an example to help you visualize how it works.

A manager is considering implementing a new cost-cutting measure, such as reducing employee benefits. While this may help the organization save money in the short term, it could also have unintended consequences, such as reduced employee morale and increased turnover. To minimize these unintended consequences, the manager could consider alternative cost-cutting measures or work to mitigate the impact on employees by providing additional support or incentives.

Read more: Managers can make or break company growth

How can I test the assumptions and hypotheses, and what metrics can I measure success? 

This critical thinking question encourages managers to think critically about their assumptions and test them rigorously to ensure they make informed decisions based on reliable data. It is essential because assumptions that must be tested can lead to flawed decision-making and ultimately harm the organization.  To answer this question, you should identify the assumptions and hypotheses underlying their decisions or strategies. It may involve working with your team to brainstorm potential assumptions or hypotheses and then prioritizing them based on their importance to the decision. Once these assumptions have been identified, managers should work to test them rigorously, using reliable data and metrics to measure success. Here’s how this process looks in action –

A manager is considering launching a new product. The manager has assumptions about the market demand for the product, customer preferences, and production costs. To test these assumptions, the manager conducts market research, analyzes customer feedback, and conducts cost-benefit analyses to determine the product’s viability. The manager then sets metrics for success, such as sales targets or customer satisfaction ratings, and tracks these metrics over time to determine if the product is meeting expectations.

How can I anticipate and prepare for potential roadblocks or obstacles and develop contingency plans? 

The critical thinking question encourages managers to think critically about potential challenges and develop strategies to overcome them. It is essential because unexpected roadblocks can disrupt progress and lead to missed opportunities, while preparedness can ensure that the organization can pivot quickly and efficiently.

A manager oversees the development of a new product dependent on a key supplier for a critical component. The manager anticipates potential roadblocks, such as delays or quality issues with the supplier, and develops contingency plans to identify alternate suppliers or develop in-house capabilities for the component. In addition to developing contingency plans, the manager also communicates and aligns these plans with relevant stakeholders, including team members and leadership. It helps ensure everyone is on the same page and prepared to pivot if necessary.

How can I learn from past experiences and mistakes and apply those lessons to the current situation?

This critical thinking question encourages managers to think critically about past experiences and use those lessons to inform current decision-making. This is important because past experiences can provide valuable insights and help to avoid repeating mistakes or missed opportunities.

A manager oversaw a marketing campaign that failed to generate the desired results. After analyzing the campaign, the manager identified that the messaging was unclear and did not effectively communicate the product’s value proposition. When planning a new campaign for a similar product, the manager could apply the lessons learned by ensuring the messaging is clear and effectively communicates the value proposition.

Critical Thinking Questions for Team Building

How can I leverage our team’s diverse perspectives and expertise to generate creative solutions? 

This critical thinking question encourages managers to tap into their team’s collective knowledge and experience to generate innovative and practical solutions to problems. This is important because diverse perspectives can bring new insights, ideas, and approaches to problem-solving, leading to better outcomes and increased team engagement and satisfaction. To answer this question, managers should first identify the problem or challenge and then work to engage their team in the solution process. This may involve brainstorming sessions, cross-functional collaboration, or team-building activities encouraging open communication and idea-sharing. 

A manager is tasked with improving customer satisfaction ratings. The manager could convene a cross-functional team, including representatives from sales, customer service, marketing, and product development. The team could then use brainstorming sessions or design thinking techniques to generate creative solutions, drawing on their diverse perspectives and expertise to create innovative ideas. By involving the team in the solution process, the manager not only taps into the collective knowledge and experience of the team but also increases buy-in and engagement around the solution.

What is the long-term impact of my decisions, and how can I ensure they align with our organization’s mission and values?

This critical thinking question encourages managers to think beyond short-term gains and consider the broader impact of their decisions on the organization’s stakeholders. This is important because decisions prioritizing short-term gains over long-term sustainability can damage the organization’s reputation, create financial and legal risks, and harm the broader community.

A manager overseeing a manufacturing operation may need to make decisions about sourcing raw materials or disposing of waste products. By considering the long-term impact of these decisions, the manager could work to identify suppliers who prioritize sustainability and implement practices that reduce waste and minimize environmental harm.

How can we effectively communicate our decisions to the team to gain buy-in and support?

Effective communication is crucial for gaining the team’s trust, commitment, and support for decisions made by the manager. Transparent communication can address any concerns or uncertainties, reducing resistance to change and building a more positive work environment. When team members feel heard and involved in the decision-making process, they are more likely to be invested in the team’s goals and demonstrate greater dedication to achieving them.

A manager observes that their team feels disconnected from the work being done daily. Upon thinking, the manager understands that the team needs to be made aware of the rationale behind decisions made by the management. They can explore various communication strategies and channels to ensure team members understand the rationale behind decisions.

What feedback mechanisms can we implement to regularly assess and enhance our processes?

Regularly seeking feedback and implementing feedback mechanisms is essential for continuous improvement. Managers demonstrate their commitment to learning and growing as a team by asking this question. Feedback allows the team to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in their processes and performance. It helps recognize best practices, address bottlenecks, and adapt to changing circumstances or market demands.

A manager observes little performance improvement even after reviews and appraisals are over. They conclude that the feedback mechanisms are insufficient as they work infrequently and without coordination for follow-ups. It helps them search for better processes to implement with their team.

In conclusion, critical thinking questions are powerful tools to help you make better decisions, solve complex problems, and achieve your goals. By asking the right questions, you can gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, challenge assumptions, and identify new opportunities for growth and improvement. Remember that critical thinking is not a one-time event but a lifelong practice requiring dedication, effort, and continuous learning. So, commit to developing your critical thinking skills by regularly asking yourself and others thought-provoking questions. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance your performance but also inspire others to think more critically and creatively. And together, we can build a better future by embracing the power of critical thinking. Critical thinking skills are one of the essential areas to succeed in a leader’s role. If you ever wonder how things are going, fret not! Grab Risely’s free critical thinking self-assessment and get in-depth insights and suggestions to become the leading manager you have always wanted to be.

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Critical Thinking Questions FAQs

How do you encourage critical thinking in employees?

Encourage critical thinking in employees by providing opportunities for brainstorming, offering diverse perspectives, and promoting a culture of open-mindedness. Critical thinking skills are best grown in the field. Hence, the key lies in allowing the employees to explore and experiment.

How can teams improve critical thinking skills?

Teams can improve critical thinking skills by practicing active listening, analyzing problems from multiple angles, and soliciting feedback from team members.

What are critical thinking questions?

Critical thinking questions are thought-provoking inquiries that challenge assumptions and encourage deeper analysis and understanding.

What are 3 important things to consider in critical thinking?

The three important things to consider in critical thinking are evidence-based reasoning, objectivity, and problem-solving.

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