8 Leadership Skills You Need to Empower Your Team

The old way we defined leadership has changed in recent years. As much as hard skills are defining, what has changed is the awareness of the interpersonal skills that make a great leader. Whether you’re in a management position within a big company or lead a team in a small business, you need to hone these skills to guide and support your team for a more positive work environment and enhanced productivity. 

A leader is passionate about their job, confident about what they know, and inspires trust and respect in their team. Unlocking your team’s potential is achieved through these soft, practical skills. Some of these leadership skills may come naturally to certain people; however, leadership programs such as MBAs and business administration & management, teach and help hone these skills through experience and training. 


Having a high emotional intelligence helps leaders motivate their teams. To positively impact the people you work with and the customers, you need to have the ability to find common ground and connect. You can empathize by sharing, listening, finding common ground, and bonding. When debriefing on a project, be thoughtful and specific about the feedback you provide.

Lack of sympathy and empathy from leaders can make workers feel uncared for and as if they don’t have someone who understands their circumstances. Employees who feel like they’re there “just to get the job done” instead of human beings are likely to become dissatisfied with work.


Leaders demonstrate discipline by emphasizing the importance of focusing on long-term goals. Many tasks—strategic planning, negotiations, people development, program management—associated with leadership require patience. Different people adapt at different speeds; by giving employees the freedom to process all the information, they will be more receptive to change. 

Gaining and giving respect can’t be achieved overnight; thus, leaders should employ patience. Employing patience does not insinuate you will altogether leave your team on their own. It just means that you will give them space to deliver tasks on their own.


Being an effective communicator involves listening intently, speaking clearly, understanding body language, and being conscious of your tone. Concisely communicating goals, tasks,, and other work-related needs to the team will determine how the team will approach a project and, ultimately, the final deliverable. If a leader doesn’t set clear expectations for their employee, they won’t get the results they want. It also eliminates stress on both sides. 


A manager must be able to gain the trust of their staff in order to lead effectively. Great leaders earn the loyalty of their workers by being honest with them. Being open about the organization’s trials and tribulations from your vantage point will allow your team to see that you are human and, in turn, inspire them. 

Transparency in leadership entails keeping your staff informed, sharing both the positive and the negative and accepting honest feedback from your team. You’ll gain support from your employees if you introduce yourself as a human being. If they believe they have a personal bond with you, they would be more willing to accept bad news or constructive criticism.


A good leader demonstrates accountability by acknowledging when mistakes have been made. How you take ownership of your work reflects positively. Accountability occurs when individuals reliably deliver on their commitments. Stay consistent in words, actions, and expectations to build effective leadership skills.


Leaders who are effective at showing appreciation and recognize employees when they see extra effort or risk-taking motivate the team and encourage more of that behavior in the future.  The team will fight low morale when they feel rewarded, and they will be motivated for the next challenge.


Gaining the respect and support of your team members is almost crucial. If employees trust their managers and feel they “have their back” and support them, they are more likely to feel empowered. For your employees to trust you, you need to give them opportunities to gain your trust first. When possible, include your employees in decision-making and goal-setting. A team member is more empowered when they have the authority to make a decision.

Eliminate the need for micromanagement by letting your team do their job without standing over their shoulders. People are more empowered as they have more control over their tasks and how it is done.


Encouragement means mentoring employees, recognizing accomplishments, or providing rewarding and challenging work—essentially a little of everything we mentioned so far. Knowing which member of the team is ideally qualified to take on a mission or assignment and empowering them to do so is part of being a successful leader. Delegating tasks to other team members helps them to demonstrate their abilities while still learning new ones, making them feel more invested in their work.

A leader is someone who is enthusiastic about their work, confident in their competence, and instills confidence and respect in their team. Empowerment impacts the engagement of the group, but it also affects productivity. Practice these soft skills to ensure you’re inspiring those around to do their best work.