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Employability skills

Leadership

What are leadership skills?

The ability to influence and motivate others to achieve a common purpose or goal.

Many people associate leadership with a directive, autocratic approach with one person dictating the work to others, or being ‘the boss’. There are however, many different styles and approaches to leadership, so think broadly when considering examples you might have or exploring opportunities to develop these skills. Leadership is a complex issue and one it is worth reading further about. Understanding what good leadership is will also help you identify examples from your own life which you may not previously have considered.

Mindtools has some good explanations of the different leadership styles.

Why do employers want leadership skills?

Many graduate employers recruit graduates with a view to them becoming future leaders of the organisation, so actively seek people with leadership skills or potential. Even in organisations where this is not necessarily the long-term goal, leadership skills will be useful when working as part of a team or when supervising others.

Examples of how leadership skills can be developed or evidenced

  • Team sports.
  • Clubs or student societies (e.g. motivating by taking a lead in problem-solving, clarifying tasks and facilitating).
  • Coaching and mentoring (e.g. PASS mentor).
  • Incidences demonstrating a key role in a group context.
  • Taking responsibility for a specific project in work or other context.
  • For more information on developing your skills, download our eBook or read it online