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Developing your leadership skills

By Fi Darby | 30 April 2018

It might surprise you to hear that, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), almost a third of employees don’t feel they can trust their employer. You might argue that the ability to generate trust is not one of the most important leadership skills but, if your eye is on the bottom line, think again. Studies such as the 2013 Trust Across America study show that there is a direct relationship between perceptions of trust and financial performance. Good leadership generates trust, but it’s tricky to develop your leadership qualities and understand leadership styles without great leadership training. We look at the most important leadership skills and discuss how best to attain these through our superior range of online leadership and management courses.  

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Leadership qualities 

Ethical behaviour

The SHRM report on trust suggests there is a wide gap between the importance placed by employees on highly ethical behaviour and their perceptions of their own managers’ ethics. Not all management courses recognise the importance of ethical leadership qualities but our Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership (BSB80215), carefully designed to help existing, experienced business leaders strengthen their leadership skills, includes a unit on how to lead and influence ethical practice. 

Emotional intelligence

Today’s leaders are working with a diverse and complex range of generations, each with different emotional responses and triggers. What motivates the socially connected millennial employee may well not appeal to those from Generation X who tend to be more considered and self-sufficient. The ability to understand and react effectively to a wide range of personalities is one of the key leadership qualities that don’t come naturally to everybody. The good news is that emotionally intelligent leadership styles can be learned. Our Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51918) includes three delivery methods: online, classroom or blended and includes a unit dedicated to developing and using emotional intelligence in leadership situations. 

A positive attitude to learning

Good leaders will regularly seek learning opportunities. John F Kennedy once said, ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’ If you want to be a smart leader, work on understanding what you don’t know and keep a constant eye out for professional and personal development opportunities. Leaders are busy people but online learning is flexible enough to fit in with a hectic routine and can keep you ahead of your game and excited by what you are doing. You can enrol in an online management course and improve your leadership style whatever you existing level of learning. If you work a learning environment or hold a responsibility for employee learning, you might want to take a closer look at our Graduate Diploma of Management (Learning) (BSB80615), which has been specifically designed for managers with some existing experience.  

listening concept 

Leadership skills 


Leaders are responsible for developing strategy and overseeing results but they couldn’t do either of these things without the ability to communicate with their team. Communication is a key leadership skill that develops naturally with our experiences but there are some nuances of leadership communication that can have a huge impact on your leadership style and may need to be learned in a more formal manner. Our management courses all recognise the importance of communication. For example, our Certificate IV in Leadership and Management (BSB42015) is perfect for new or aspiring leaders and includes a unit on communicating effectively as a workplace leader. 

Change management

We live in a dynamic and fast-paced world and the ability to effect and control change is one of the most important leadership skills. The knack of bringing your team together during times of change is a leadership quality that requires a combination of natural ability and structured training. Our Advanced Diploma of Leadership Management (BSB61015) includes a unit specifically designed to reinforce the leadership skills associated with leading and managing organisational change. 


No doubt the poet John Donne was thinking about personal experience when he said ‘No man is an island’, but the suggestion is larger and truer today than it ever was, particularly when it comes to business globalisation and socially driven marketing. The ability to collaborate is with us from an early age but needs honing if it's going to become one of the useful leadership skills. Collaboration is one of the less recognised leadership qualities but it's becoming a vital component to leadership success. The Upskilled Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership (BSB80215) focuses on this with a specific unit on developing and cultivating collaborative partnerships and relationships. 

Modern day leaders

Modern day business practices and environments are increasingly diverse and it's often on-going learning that allows modern day leaders to keep ahead of trends. The challenges are many but we have picked out three currently facing modern day leaders. Watch this space; the pace of change is fast. 

  • Working out what customers want should be easier than ever with unprecedented levels of personal information now available online but audience values change more quickly and are harder to predict as social media continues to exert its control over opinions.
  • Globalisation has been around for some time now but new markets are always opening up and it isn’t just attracting global customers that is a key business leadership skill, working with global employees is fast becoming one too.
  • Employee power and control is on the increase with online opportunities to expose leadership styles and leadership qualities abounding. The savvy leader will understand this and prioritise leadership skills such as collaboration and communication. 

man with arms in the air facing laptop

Leadership styles

There has been much written about leadership styles with updated examples always emerging including: 

  • The responsible leadership style – leaders who aim for stewardship above exploitation
  • The authentic leadership style – leaders who have a genuine desire to serve others
  • The collaborative leadership style – leaders whose teams have a strong grasp of a shared goal 

Learn to play upon your strengths. Whether you are an existing or an aspiring manager you will already have some of the necessary leadership skills. Your leadership style will be either emerging or established and you may or may not understand your own leadership qualities. You will also be very busy. Whatever your current leadership situation, online leadership and management training represents a great way to improve your understanding, knowledge and practice without untimely disruption to your management responsibilities. Get in touch with our team today for more advice.

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