Leadership is not a position or title, it is action and example.
On your resume, leadership can be all of these things. If you’ve led others in your workplace to success, demonstrating this in your application is crucial.
Keep reading to learn some insider techniques for showcasing your leadership skills and abilities and check out our list of leadership skills.
What Are Leadership Skills?
First, let’s answer the question, “what are leadership skills.”
They’re the skills necessary to create a vision, inspire people to believe in that vision, and see through its execution.
The importance of leadership skills cannot be overstated for meeting individual, group, departmental, and organizational goals. They’re considered a soft skill, because they’re not easily learned or quantified.
Some leadership skills examples include:
- Communicating goals so everyone understands them and their role in achieving them
- Positioning team members to use their talents optimally
- Promoting productivity and quality standards
- Motivating and inspiring everyone to do their best work
- Keeping team members on task, on schedule, and on budget
- Maintaining morale and workplace harmony
Prospective employers need to know that you’re the applicant who can pull this off. And that’s a lot to concisely convey in writing, making this a tricky aspect of compiling a resume skills list.
7 Key Leadership Skills: List & Examples
Offering some initial insight into your leadership abilities is crucial when writing a compelling resume, which should list prior leadership experience.
Follow up by explaining why your leadership and management skills make you the perfect candidate in your cover letter. Hiring managers will want to see your experience developing leadership skills. Be prepared to discuss it during each phone screening and interview.
Let’s take a look at some common team leader skills employers look for:
Effective leadership starts with good leadership communication skills in both conversation and writing — in a variety of circumstances. You must make sure your team members understand collective and individual objectives, what’s expected of them, and how to find help when they need it. Communication is a two-way street, so you need to be an active, attentive listener.
Project managers must use leadership and communication skills to lead by ensuring that everyone working on a project understands what to do and when to do it. They often have to coordinate between different teams and departments.
2. Problem Solving
Even with the best leaders, teams, ideas, plans, and intentions, things don’t always run smoothly. The ability to roll with the punches while remaining objective and positive is essential, as is a knack for charting the smartest course forward.
This takes flexibility, practicality, and creativity. As a leader, this doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with perfect solutions on your own — often, it means pulling everyone together and inspiring them to conquer unforeseen problems.
Effective leaders who see a project heading over budget must identify ways to cut costs without falling short of expectations, perhaps in a brainstorming session with the team.
When you manage people and projects, you must ensure everything is completed by the deadline. You need to keep your team productive with realistic workloads.
Smart delegating isn’t as simple as handing out assignments — it also requires assigning tasks based on each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
A good leader creating an ad campaign provides direction while assigning concept, design, copy, and other responsibilities to the most suitable people — without micromanaging or taking on too much themselves.
4. Giving & Receiving Feedback
Speaking of strengths and weaknesses, leaders have to provide team members with positive feedback and constructive criticism.
Positive feedback helps keep people productive, happy, and loyal. Constructive criticism helps them grow, perform better, and advance in their career.
Similarly, leaders should regularly seek feedback about what they’re doing right and what they could do differently.
Asking for feedback shows respect and dedication to the team, but being genuinely receptive and implementing useful suggestions is what matters.
A great leadership example is to say something like, “You handled that upset customer very professionally, but next time, please bring the situation to a manager’s attention sooner.”
5. Conflict Resolution
Conflict occurs in all professional settings. A good leader knows that conflict undermines morale and productivity, that even minor disputes shouldn’t fester, and that conflict shouldn’t be ended with a proclamation from above.
Effective conflict resolution reaches a fair solution that involves leaves everyone involved feeling like they were heard and shown respect.
If employees argue about how to complete a task, have them take some cool-down time, then let them explain their points without interruption. Try to incorporate something from each suggested approach in the final instructions.
Being at the helm means constantly juggling all the pieces, prioritizing, monitoring progress, and re-evaluating everything. In addition to supervising and managing employees, organization leadership examples include:
- Creating short and long-term goals
- Developing plans to reach those goals
- Keeping an eye on budgets and schedules
- Coming up with new ideas
- Addressing problems
- Resolving conflicts
- Otherwise controlling everything involved in your team’s work.
Organizational skills are necessary for successful leadership — and for staying sane.
Strong leaders use the right organizational tools to simplify their work (e.g., software that helps with time management, accounting, or report tracking; cloud solutions for communication across multiple locations; and apps for project management or comparing vendor prices).
A gift for motivating people is one key difference between merely managing and truly leading. Strong leadership is about much more than just telling everyone what to do. It’s about presenting them with a vision and inspiring them to want to achieve it with you.
To accomplish this, you must make all team members feel valued. They need to see that the organization’s success is also their own, and to feel like they’re experiencing personal and professional growth.
Building a respectful company culture that promotes a work–life balance, providing staff with professional development opportunities, and offering incentives like bonuses and profit sharing are powerful ways to drive productivity and inspire your team.
3 Tips for Showcasing Your Leadership Skills
Having strong leadership skills isn’t enough; you need to highlight them on your resume and in your cover letter.
Our tips will help you create an effective leadership skills resume and cover letter that complement each other to knock the socks off the hiring manager.
1. Discuss Them in Your Cover Letter
Spend some time checking out some top-notch cover letter examples. You’ll see they outline relevant personal details, experience, and skills that make the applicant an ideal fit for the job.
When applying for a leadership role, address your leadership experience and qualities in the cover letter.
You may only have this single chance to convince the employer that you understand how to be a successful leader and that you’ve filled that role in the past. That may mean in a previous or current position, as a volunteer, or in a school or sports organization.
Any opportunity to highlight your leadership abilities — especially recent and relevant experience — is worth covering in your cover letter.
2. Prove You’re a Strong Leader in Your Professional Experience
While listing abilities like “Exceptional problem solver,” “Good at delegating,” and “Highly organized” in your resume skills section is effective, it won’t be enough to sell a hiring manager on your leadership skill.
Know the old cliché about showing versus telling? It’s easy but meaningless to rattle off a list of skills, claiming you possess them.
More valuable is proving these claims with accomplishments oriented bullet points describing how you’ve leveraged those skills before.
Take a moment to think about how you’ve used your leadership skills to benefit your previous employers, and then include those details in your work experience.
3. Prepare to Back Up Your Claims in the Interview
As you work on your resume, single out examples of leadership skills you can back up in the interview, since it’s likely you’ll be asked that old favorite question of interviewers, “tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.”
When you apply to a leadership role or highlight leadership skills on your resume, count on being pressed for more details on them in your interviews.
Let Your Leadership Skills Shine
If you hope to land a job that puts you in charge of others, highlighting effective leadership skills in your application is essential.
Showcasing these types of leadership skills (in your resume skills section or elsewhere) will help you stand out from the competition.
If you’re ready to start resume writing, our intuitive resume builder can help you build a resume in mere minutes.