By Forbes Agency Council
Continuing your education as a working professional, and especially a team leader, is a must. This constant learning process can allow you to hone skills you already have, and develop abilities that will help you in the future.
While there is an extensive array of educational classes and seminars that you can take advantage of, knowing what kinds of skills you want to gain or improve can help you narrow your selection in order to get the most benefit out of your continuing education. So what should you focus on? Below, 11 members of Forbes Agency Council weigh in on the soft skills they encourage team leaders to develop, and why. Here’s what they recommend:
Members share a few skills leaders should seek to master.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
It’s important for leaders to develop a h3 sense of self-reliance. Don’t wait to be asked. Train yourself to go out on your own and learn anything and everything, on any subject matter whatsoever. You’ll be surprised by how often that “extra” knowledge will come in handy. – Guy Avigdor, Klear
The ability to adapt quickly is the one skill I encourage team leaders to continuously develop. Industries, skills and technologies are changing so fast all the time. It’s key for team leaders to respond promptly to altered environments and guide their teams appropriately in order to meet business objectives. Changing how you work and learn makes projects more efficient, creative and profitable. – Alex Bider, 2Marketing.com
3. Listening To Your Team
I think a leader needs to be able to listen to his team, especially the younger members. When working in the marketing and PR environment you need to deal with lots of new tools and social networks, and the younger generation is a “live” user. Any insight they may have usually proves to be “on the field” experience, and that’s usually precious insight for our client development. Question yourself, always. – Sarah Hamon, S2H Communication
One skill that I find highly useful when leading a team of individuals is the skill of manifestation. Manifestation is extremely important to properly transition your vision to your team members. If you cannot master the skill of manifestation and deliver your vision in a clear and easy to understand way, it will be hard for the team to get behind the vision. – Ryan White, Social Revelation Marketing
5. Emotional Intelligence
I’d encourage team leaders to develop emotional intelligence skills as part of continuing education via workshops, seminars or advanced reading. Today’s leaders need a better understanding on when to speak, to lead and, perhaps most importantly, when to listen — listen to their clients, their peers and their team. – Jacqueline Lieberman, Story Worldwide.
I would have to say it’s decisiveness across decision-making. New leaders need to understand just how important time is, and that each minute is a precious resource. Critical thinking, prioritization and focusing on the task at hand will train leaders to make the decisions that will drive impact now and not later. This focus leads to success and ultimate accountability to issues and opportunities. – Eric Vardon, Arcane
7. Maximizing Your Learning Style
Smart people understand that continuous learning is necessary. To do so, you must know what methods work best to keep you learning. Reading, experiencing, listening to audiobooks, or face-to-face encounters — find your best learning style and maximize it! – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta
8. New Business Activity
We allocate time for each of our team leaders to get involved in new business activity each month, ranging from networking at local events to participating in new business pitches and creating proposals. Not only is this skill important to the growth of the agency, but it gets our senior leadership team involved in developing positive relationships with potential clients from the very beginning. – Catherine Seeds, Ketner Group Communications.
Team leaders are only as effective as their communication and organization skills. I suggest that leaders engage regularly in continuing education opportunities that will give them the skills to help them communicate effectively and keep their teams as organized as possible. – Michelle Dempsey, Very Well-Written Marketing.
One of the most relevant skills for team leaders to hone is collaboration. We work in an environment that demands expertise in numerous areas while requiring specific results. Close-fisted leaders are outdated, as agile team leaders collaborate to bring together the best of each team member in their area of expertise. – Evangeline Sutton, Regenerative Marketing, LLC.
In my experience, the most successful team leaders always begin by listening to their people. Hear their feedback and opinions, ask them questions, and understand their concerns. However, after that is done, the leader must decide firmly on a course of action and explain clearly why they have made that choice. Teams will follow decisive leaders who gather input. – Rebecca Brooks, Alter Agents, Inc.
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This content was originally published by Forbes Magazine. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Forbes Magazine