7 Leadership Skills Employers Look For In New Hires

People are often so focused on their job experience and what appears on their resume that they tend to overlook other important factors that might make or break their chances of getting hired. Some of these factors include how you interact with customers and coworkers, how you handle certain situations, and/or how well you follow instructions. Another factor employers constantly look for in a new hire is their ability to lead others. All leaders, whether in an office building, on a sports’ team, or even in the military must posses certain skills that allow them to effectively interact with their employees and coworkers so as to achieve the team, or overall goal.

Before you go to your interview, take some time to think about your work experience. Chances are you will be asked for specific examples regarding your work history in the interview. This will be your time to shine, and use the STAR response to highlight what the situation was, what tasks you had to accomplish, how you achieved your task, and what the results were. Take some extra time to think about an occasion when you had to step up and be the leader, and try to show your experience using these seven leadership skills.

1. Positive

Having a positive attitude is the hidden key to success. Walking around radiating negativity will only bring you down, along with those around you. A good leader should be able to laugh at him or herself, and promote a happy, relaxed environment for their employees to work in. Talk to your coworkers about things outside of work, and relate to them on a personal level. This will help them become more relaxed and better able to focus on their work.

2. Trustworthy

Effective leaders must have the respect of their employees, or the whole team becomes unproductive and untrusting of each other. Employees need to be able to trust their leader(s) with their problems, questions, and/or concerns, whether professional or personal, without hesitation. Good leaders are honest, and instill a sense of trust in their employees by doing, not simply assuring. Showing you are trustworthy will help your employees trust you and become more honest themselves.

3. Responsible

No matter what the deciding factor was, or is, leaders are responsible for both the successes and failures of their team. Deferring blame or singling people out will only make your employees untrusting, and therefore disrespectful of you as their leader. As the leader, you must accept the responsibility for the actions and results of your team, and help your teamwork for a better outcome the next time around.

4. Dedicated

Leaders must also exhibit dedication, not only to their team and the company, but also to the task at hand. It is therefore, crucial, that good leaders show commitment and dedication on the job. Leaving your employees to finish up a really important project, for example, shows a lack of concern for the end result on your part, whereas staying until after 6:00 or 7:00pm shows that you are dedicated to the task. Be sure your employees feel you are all in it together, and follow through on your promises, even it that just means getting donuts for breakfast one morning.

5. Good Communication Skills

One of the most important skills a leader can demonstrate is their ability to effectively communicate. That doesn’t mean just sending out a mass email or correctly utilizing social media; it means being able to address your employees in a group and one-on-one setting, and be able to clearly explain the team goals, individual tasks, and other such information that is vital to the group’s success.

A leader must also be able to listen to their employees concerns, provide positive and effective feedback, and be able to assign your individual team members to specific tasks so as to accomplish the group goal.  Try to promote an open-door policy so that you can establish an environment of constant communication with your staff, and always make efforts to interact with your team.

6. Motivated

Along with being trustworthy and promoting a positive environment for people to work in, a good leader must also be encouraging. Employees need to be given more than just a paycheck every couple of weeks to stay passionate about their jobs; they need to feel that their work is valued and appreciated by you and the company at large.

Delegating new responsibilities to your employees shows that you trust them with more work, and encourages them to keep working hard. Handing out awards for recognition is also a great motivational tool, so consider hosting some small monthly award ceremony in the conference room.

7. Creative/Innovative 

Leaders must finally be creative, and able to innovate and think outside the box. Approaching problems with unconventional solutions will help your team think of other ways to solve problems and show innovation on your part. This will also demonstrate your flexibility as a leader: new problems will pop-up out of the blue on a daily basis, and you must be able to quickly analyze the problem and come up with a solution. Don’t be afraid to cite some of your outlandish ideas in your interview, especially if they had positive outcomes.