• 30 Jun 2020
  • SBS-ED
  • 3Min

5 skills every young leader needs to learn

5 skills every young leader needs to learn


Whether you’re starting out or have been in the same role for a few years now, learning leadership skills can help you in both your professional and personal lives. While most individuals in senior roles have amazing CVs that list endless accomplishments, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), young leaders will benefit by displaying fresh, innovative ideas and mastering soft skills.

What skills do you need to be a successful leader?

A lot of individuals have a natural inclination for leadership, but leadership traits can also be taught and honed. Harnessing these five skills is a crucial first step in your rise to the top.

1. Start with a good foundation

Displaying restraint is a key leadership skill and it all starts with discipline. Individuals who are disciplined are also the same people who have stability and structure in their lives and are respectful to everyone around them. Without discipline, an individual could do whatever they wanted with seemingly no consequences – a very bad position to be in if you’re a leader.

2. Strategy is everything

The ability to think critically and strategically is what’s most often cited as the distinguishing factor between leaders and managers. As a young leader, you’ll need to see the big picture and work towards that vision or goal with your team. Skills You Need suggests basing your decisions on the answer to one question: Does this take me closer to where I want to be? By keeping your eye on the prize, you won’t get distracted by minor details or smaller struggles along the way.

3. All clued up

In the same way that having a plan or strategy allows you to remain focused on your main goal, you’ll still need to have a view of the bigger picture. This is where situational awareness steps in. Good leaders anticipate problems before they occur and, by being both aware and strategic, you can hone your ability to foresee bumps in the road and provide suggestions to avoid potential difficulties.

4. Listen, don’t speak

For most of us, to listen is the simple fact of hearing someone say something. But in business, those who listen well to the people around them end up being some of the greatest leaders.

Why? Because all good communication starts with understanding what both you and the other person wants. If you’re really listening, you can avoid potential conflict, negotiate better outcomes and build solid relationships both within your team and with external clients and other stakeholders.

5. Stay on the cutting edge

According to a 2018 study, the ability to facilitate change was the most important leadership quality. In 2020, nothing has proven truer as businesses and leaders scrambled to put work-from-home and project management plans in place. Successful leaders are those who can adapt to change by stepping out of their comfort zones and exploring new ideas and challenges. Not only does this help give you and your business a competitive edge but it will also prove useful in everyday situations where there is constant flux.


Want to master more leadership skills to help take you to the next level? USB-ED’s New Managers Development Programme (NMDP) is structured to help young leaders hone the necessary skills they need to advance their career. This essential management course will help you gain the confidence and capabilities to respond to business challenges and grow into a formidable young leader.

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