Top 55 Leadership Skills For Job Seekers

By Jeff Gillis

Think back to a boss you had that you didn’t like. What was it about them that bothered you? What leadership skills were they lacking?

Did they ignore your suggestions? Did they task you with more work than was fair or right? Did they minimize your contributions and take the glory for themselves?

Maybe they weren’t good at explaining what they needed you to do and were impatient with you or got frustrated or angry with you when you made mistakes?

Odds are, if you’ve spent any time in the work force, you’ve either worked for, or come across someone who wasn’t a good leader.

On the other side of the fence, you have the opposite type of boss… a great leader that clearly possesses the necessary skills to be effective in her/his role.

Being a good leader is in a work place (or any situation, for that matter) is more than just bossing people around and having them do what you tell them to do. Yes, it does involve assigning tasks to people and making sure those tasks are completed, but being a good leader is much more than that, it takes leadership skills.

What Are Leadership Skills?

But what exactly are leadership skills? Well in order to understand leadership skills it helps to have a good grasp  on the two main types of skills first. Skills can generally be broken down into two categories, hard skills and soft skills.

Knowing how to do your job and mastering the skills you need in order to perform that job are what are called hard skills. You learn these through training, education and experience.

In contrast, soft skills are usually interpersonal skills…or people skills. These can include things like listening skills, analytical skills and communication skills, to name a few.

In most cases (and for 99% of positions… not just leadership positions), companies look to hire individuals who have a certain combination of hard and soft skills that the company deems necessary to be effective in the job.

So how do hard and soft skills apply to leadership positions?

It is no different when hiring for leadership positions. The company is looking for the individual that best exemplifies the necessary leadership skills that will allow her/him to be a successful leader. In other words, there is a set of hard AND soft skills that are most desirable for candidates interviewing for leadership positions.

If you want to be hired for a leadership position, you need to identify what these leadership skills are and ensure that you are able to demonstrate them to your interviewer.

Don’t worry, we’ve pulled together a list of the top leadership skills hiring managers look for!

Our List of the Top 55 Leadership Skills

Here we’ve compiled a fairly comprehensive list of common leadership skills that hiring managers are often looking for:

  1. Analytical skills
  2. Business sense
  3. Calculated risk taking
  4. Coaching experience
  5. Commitment
  6. Confidence
  7. Collaboration experience
  8. Commitment
  9. Communication skills
  10. Compassion
  11. Competitiveness
  12. Conflict management and resolution
  13. Constructive criticism and feedback
  14. Coordination experience
  15. Courage
  16. Creativity
  17. Critical Thinking
  18. Decision making
  19. Delegation
  20. Enthusiasm
  21. Flexibility
  22. Goal setting and completion
  23. Good judgement
  24. Honesty
  25. Humor
  26. Humility
  27. Initiative
  28. Inspirational
  29. Integrity
  30. Listening skills
  31. Logical thinking
  32. Management skills
  33. Motivational skills
  34. Multitasking abilities
  35. Negotiation skills
  36. Networking skills
  37. Non-verbal skills
  38. Open minded
  39. Optimism
  40. Organizational skills
  41. Passion
  42. Persuasiveness
  43. Planning and strategy skills
  44. Positivity
  45. Problem solving
  46. Relationship building
  47. Resourcefulness
  48. Respectful
  49. Self-confidence
  50. Self-motivation
  51. Supportive
  52. Team building
  53. Trustworthiness
  54. Verbal communication
  55. Vision for the future

Putting It All Together

Of course, just stuffing your resume full of leadership adjectives won’t do you, or the hiring managers, any good. Just like any other skill you’re highlighting in your resumes, cover letters and interviews, you need to make sure they match up to the job description you’re applying for and the skills the hiring managers are looking for.

Not only that, you always need to have clear, quantifiable examples of you exhibiting those skills. Never claim to have a skill that you can’t back up with proof!

Read the job description carefully and see what leadership skills the hiring managers are emphasizing and then focus on those. By pulling those key words out, you’ll be able to better target not only your resume and cover letter, but also your interview!

About The Author

Jeff Gillis

Co-founder and CTO of Jeff is a featured contributor delivering advice on job search, job interviews and career advancement, having published more than 50 pieces of unique content on the site, with his work being featured in top publications such as INC, ZDnet, MSN and more. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.