9 Leadership Skills and How to Improve Them [Examples]

Leadership skills are what makes you good at motivating and organising people to reach a common goal. It's a careful balance of keeping schedules, and keeping your team happy. Efficient leaders are imperative to running any business smoothly, so strong leaders find their way to the top the quickest.

 

So, how should you go about showing your leadership before you work with anybody, and develop leadership skills examples for your CV? This guide ought to be a good start. By the time you’re done you’ll have learned what are leadership skills, how to develop them, and how to include them on your CV.

 

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Leadership skills on a CV example

 

Stanley Klein

Branch Manager

 

Personal Info

Phone: 07777 777777 

Email: StanleyHKlein@madeup.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/stan_klein

 

Summary

 

Energetic branch manager with 5+ years of retail banking experience. Committed to leading by example, having secured this position after only 11 months in an entry-level role. Led the team of 25+ employees to exceed revenue goals for 22 consecutive months. Secured free on-the-job training for my team to enable their progression, and keep them motivated while executing my initiatives, the latest of which was securing 37 high net-worth individuals for the investment portfolio.

 

Work Experience

 

Branch Manager

HSBC Ashford

November 2017–Present

  • Supervised, trained, and mentored a team of 25+ bank tellers, product specialists, lending officers and financial advisors.
  • Negotiated with the Head Office to secure free on-the-job training for the team to enable their career progression from bank teller onwards.
  • Envisioned, planned, and managed an expansion of the investment portfolio by the advisor team, which netted 37 new high net-worth individuals’ contributions in 2020.
  • Increased the branch’s quarterly income by 8% within the first 6 months of work.
  • With the help of the team, met or exceeded monthly revenue goals for 22 consecutive months.

 

Assistant Supervisor

HSBC Ashford

December 2016–November 2017

  • Displayed enough initiative, innovation and leadership in supporting the operations of the branch to secure a promotion to Branch Manager in just 11 months.
  • Took full responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the bank during Branch Manager’s absences, without incident.
  • Maintained 98% customer maintenance and 97.2% satisfaction rate (based on online survey).

 

Education

 

(2.1) BSc in Economics & Management, 2013–2016

Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom

 

Skills

 

  • Interpersonal Skills: Reduced the annual staff turnover rate from 20% to 3% — meaning we lose only one person a year on average.
  • Team Building: Constantly implementing new initiatives, opportunities, and structures to support the team in becoming more experienced, skilled, efficient and fulfilled. 
  • People Management: Mentored a team of 25+ employees, improving average engagement and satisfaction scores from 65% to 80%.
  • Mentoring: Guided two assistant managers into corporate new leaders program leading to them taking on branch management positions.
  • Analytical Skills: Carried out analysis of branch expenditure, identifying and rectifying inefficiencies that led to saving of 7% of annual budget.   

 

Languages

 

  • Chinese (fluent)
  • German (basic)
  • Dutch (intermediate)

 

Types of Leadership Skills

 

Strong leadership skills are incredibly valuable to employers. Fortunately for you, most people don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to leadership. Some people are under the impression that you are either born a leader, or not.

 

A 2017 study has shown that no dimension of personality correlates directly with leadership competencies, and neither does intelligence. Effective leadership skills can be learned and developed.

 

And importantly, they’re an excellent example of transferable skills that will prove their worth regardless of the industry you work in.

 

Here’s a list of leadership skills examples that will put you ahead of every other candidate.

 

1. Interpersonal Skills

 

For there to be a leader, somebody needs to be led. Leading is not about bossing people around, neither is it about inflicting your idealistic vision on others. A list of leadership skills and qualities must begin with strong interpersonal skills.

 

What comprises those? You can start by being an avid, active listener; an empathic, patient mentor; and a fair, and constructive critic. An effective leader is not made by their desire to lead. They are made by others’ desire to follow. That’s how you build an effective, content team ready to take on any challenge.

 

2. Communication Skills

 

Aren’t these interpersonal skills, too? Yes...and no. You’re going to have to communicate constantly. Many times, you won’t be approaching a specific person or goal in mind, but need to consider the way you communicate. 

 

First thing to remember is that communication skills are as much about speaking as about listening. The best leaders are skilled at reading the room, and eliciting information and opinions through precise, relevant questioning.

 

3. Integrity

 

One of the key leadership skills, or perhaps values, is integrity. Leaders unwilling to admit to their mistakes and failures can not even begin understanding how to improve on it next time. Also, your team knows. They always do. How you make yourself look is your choice, and will reflect upon you more than any possible mistake.

 

Integrity makes you accountable, trustworthy, dependable, and honestly—likeable. Who doesn’t want to be that?

 

4. People Management

 

The best leaders read their team’s strengths and weaknesses, and take that into account when delegating tasks. They also notice what motivates and drives each member, and use that to their advantage. Bad ‘leaders’ take everything upon themselves and try to show everyone they’re the best. 

 

5. Organisational Skills

 

Being clear about what you need to do, what is important and needs to be prioritised, deciding when you're going to do it, allocating adequate time to do so, and not getting frustrated, but being adaptable when things don't go to plan—those are all characteristics of a good leader.

 

6. Decision Making

 

A good leader can read the situation and see if a quick, perhaps risky, and perhaps even sub-optimal decision is needed; or whether a step back and regrouping is absolutely necessary.

 

  1. Risk Taking & Improvisation

 

Did you know Martin Luther King improvised the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech? The best leaders are proven when things go off-script. Agility, adaptability, innovation, and creativity make a good leader into a general that can navigate the stormiest seas.

 

8. Persuasion Skills

 

The most persuasive leaders have a knack for making their people arrive at the same conclusions the leader did—by supplying the key information and asking the right questions. The admired persuaders do so to make everyone feel on the same page. The arrogant ones make their people feel stupid.

 

The same fine balance is to be struck with assertiveness. Admirable leaders make their points firmly, but not arrogantly. They enforce rules and standards for an explained and understood reason, not their own power trip. They adjust the tone and way of speaking to each bespoke situation. 

 

9. Ability to teach and mentor

 

The highest level of mastery of a subject is being able to teach others in a simple and understandable manner. It's also a skill that makes a leader admired, not just respected. Just as importantly. It's a skill that lets your teammates grow, and therefore grow your organisation from the bottom up.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

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How to include leadership skills on your CV

 

You’ve just seen some of the best examples of leadership skills. Now it’s time to finally get down to business and find out how to write a CV studded with leadership skills from top to bottom.

 

1. Start with your CV profile

 

What to include in your CV? Right at the top ought to be your CV summary, also known as your CV profile. There is no reason to wait any longer to start listing your leadership skills. Here’s an example:

 

Leadership skills in the CV summary

 

Energetic branch manager with 5+ years of retail banking experience. Committed to leading by example, having secured this position after only 11 months in an entry-level role. Led the team of 25+ employees to exceed revenue goals for 22 consecutive months. Secured free on-the-job training for my team to enable their progression, and keep them motivated while executing my initiatives, the latest of which was securing 37 high net-worth individuals for the investment portfolio.

 

2. Write a work experience section worthy of a leader

 

The most important part of any CV is always the work experience section. Here is the place you get to elaborate on your leadership skill examples in relation to real, professional experience. Here are some CV tips on how to get it right.

 

  • Begin as many bullet points as possible with a CV action verb for a clear, readable structure. Avoid low-effort phrases like ‘responsible for’.
  • List notable achievements quantified by numbers, where possible. Relate them to the leadership skill components relevant to your particular job posting.
  • 5-7 bullet points for your most recent position is optimal, but make 3 the maximum for older ones.

 

Job description with leadership skills

 

Branch Manager

HSBC Ashford

November 2017—Present

  • Supervised, trained, and mentored a team of 25+ bank tellers, product specialists, lending officers and financial advisors.
  • Negotiated with the Head Office to secure free on-the-job training for the team to enable their career progression from bank teller onwards.
  • Envisioned, planned, and managed an expansion of the investment portfolio by the advisor team, which netted 37 new high net-worth individuals’ contributions in 2020.
  • Increased the branch’s quarterly income by 8% within the first 6 months of work.
  • With the help of the team, met or exceeded monthly revenue goals for 22 consecutive months.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

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3. Make use of your education section

 

If you’re writing a student CV fresh out of school, you may not have much relevant experience to relate to. You can compensate for that by adding examples of leadership skills to your CV education section. Include extracurricular activities that prove you have good leadership skills.

 

Leadership skills in the education section

 

Education

 

(2.1) BSc in Economics & Management,2013-2016

Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom

Extracurricular activities: Captain of University Debating Society, leading to a Top 3 National finish in 2015

 

4. Smarten up your skills section

 

Your CV skills section shouldn’t be a randomly chosen list of 5 nouns. Focus it for maximum impact:

 

  • Target each CV to each job position. Different positions will require different leadership skill examples, so read carefully and understand exactly what they’re looking for, and choose exactly what’s relevant.
  • Add a brief statement elaborating your proficiency at said skill. Two skills supported with an example or justification are much better than a list of 5 random skills.
  • And try to include a good mix of soft skills and hard skills. 

 

Leadership skills in the skills section

 

Skills

 

  • Interpersonal Skills: Reduced the annual staff turnover rate from 20% to 3% — meaning we lose only one person a year on average.
  • Team Building: Constantly implementing new initiatives, opportunities, and structures to support the team in becoming more experienced, skilled, efficient and fulfilled. 

 

5. Include additional sections

 

The extra CV sections you choose will either make you stand out, or blend in with the other candidates. Here are some tips.

 

Adding extra CV sections is one of the best ways of standing out from other candidates. You can add extra examples of your leadership skills and distinguish yourself as an individual. Here are some ideas that will help round out the perfect CV:

 

  • In case you weren’t aware, nobody cares that you do yoga and photography. Do you coach a football team? Great! If you choose to include a CV hobbies and interests section, just remember this section is still about the employer and not you. 
  • Therefore, for any private interests or activities you list, make sure they relate to your future position and the said leadership skills. 
  • List Languages, Certificates and Awards under separate, clear headings rather than bundled all together.

 

Leadership skills in the extra sections

 

Languages

 

  • Chinese (fluent)
  • German (basic)
  • Dutch (intermediate)

 

How to improve your leadership skills

 

First of all, kudos for striving to be better. Now it’s time for an honest appraisal of what needs the most improvement, and how much of it. Perhaps you need to learn some simple tricks; or perhaps you need an attitude change; or perhaps an extensive leadership course would be best.

 

There are plenty of ways to develop your leadership skills. Here are a few suggestions.

 

1. Take the initiative

 

To become a leader you need to step out of your comfort zone. Volunteer for extra tasks at work that fall outside your day-to-day responsibilities. Learn about aspects of the business that you aren’t usually involved in. You’ll improve your knowledge and prove you’re able to take the initiative which is one of the key leadership skills.

 

2. Constantly learn and develop

 

Improve on the skills you have and strive to learn new ones. Start with this government-compiled list of resources to sharpen your leadership skills. All of the aspects we discussed can be found here. By constantly learning and developing you’ll prove you’re committed to being at the cutting edge. A sure mark of a true leader.

 

3. Start to delegate

 

The best leaders know when to delegate work. They understand that they can’t do everything and that delegation empowers their teams with new knowledge and responsibility. Delegation also shows trust in others, another key leadership skill.

 

4. Cultivate active listening

 

A good leader doesn’t just hear the words that others are saying, they strive to understand the whole message and context. Active listening includes eliciting further information and repeating the speaker’s words back to them for clarity. It also includes showing you’re fully engaged and interested in what others are saying. This helps to build teams and ensure you have all the information needed to make important business decisions.

 

5. Understand that people are individuals

 

There’s no ‘i’ in team, but there is a group of distinct individuals. Don’t treat team members as identical with identical needs. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and what motivates them. This will allow you to maximise their performance, get the most out of your team and earn their respect.

 

6. Acknowledge success

 

A key leadership skill is to acknowledge success and not hog the limelight for yourself. Recognise the efforts of others and always recognise and reward their hard work. Nothing is more destructive to morale and productivity than a leader who fails to give credit where it’s due.

 

7. Find a mentor

 

Look for someone who you admire as a leader who can help you to develop your skills and offer advice and mentoring. It’s important to develop your own unique leadership skills, but modelling yourself on the proven success of others is also incredibly effective.

 

8. Learn to resolve conflicts

 

Leadership isn’t always smooth sailing. Conflicts will inevitably develop. Don’t stick your head in the sand when they occur. Develop your conflict management skills so you can help to resolve disputes and prevent them impacting team cohesion and business effectiveness.

 

9. Encourage creativity

 

Empower everyone you work with to offer up new ideas, strategies and even criticism. By doing so you’ll have access to an increased knowledge base and instil confidence in those around you. Let colleagues know that new ideas and suggestions will always be welcome.

 

What else to remember when including leadership skills on your CV?

 

Good leadership skills aren’t just for managers. Whatever role you have and whatever industry you work in, the ability to inspire and influence others is key to success. Strive to constantly practice and improve your leadership skills and you’ll empower yourself and others.

 

For an effective CV, include proof of your leadership skills throughout. And don’t forget to write the best cover letter you can. 83% of HR professionals still think that a perfect cover letter is necessary as it can secure you an interview even if your CV isn’t good enough.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

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If you’re still struggling to define your leadership skills, or you just need some advice on how to include them in your CV, then let us know in the comments section. We’re here to help.

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Dave Rygielski

Dave Rygielski

About the author

Dave is a career expert delivering a wide range of well-researched advice regarding the job hunting and application process. At ResumeLab, his data-driven resume and cover letter guides help readers capitalize on their potential.

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