Have you ever compared yourself to a coworker who seems to be shining in all they do, getting plum assignments and promotions, even though you have more seniority, and seem to just naturally step up to the plate and take the lead?

“They’re a born leader,” you may rationalize.

It may seem that way and, true, there are some leadership traits that are more innate and natural to certain individuals. But many of the best leaders are made, not born. You can develop and sharpen leadership skills to get better at your current job and get ahead in your career, with just a little determination and some dedicated practice. As far-fetched as it may seem right now, one day soon, someone else may be referring to you the same way: as a “born leader.”

Here are five top leadership skills to work on:


Like all the best leadership qualities, strong communication skills are valuable at every step in your career, but especially if your goal is to move up and get ahead. Work to develop your strengths in areas including active listening, confrontation and conflict resolution, and dealing with difficult people. Also, learn how effective communication can continuously improve your organizational culture.


There’s a tendency to hesitate to delegate – thinking it’s a sign of weakness – but the ability to do so effectively is actually a sign of a good leader. The goal of delegating isn’t just to free your time up (though that’s definitely an added benefit), it’s also to empower your direct reports to grow and take ownership, facilitate teamwork, and provide autonomy. Last but not least, delegation can help build trust.


Integrity is another key element in building and maintaining trust. The word “integrity” comes from the Latin “intact, whole” or “complete,” so it’s not surprising that it would be difficult to succeed as a leader without it. Leaders with integrity are not afraid of the truth, no matter how tough or unattractive it may be, and they consistently stand up for what they believe in. Above all else, they are honest. And, they inspire the same tendencies in those who follow them.


Gratitude makes you not only a better leader, but also a better person. The best leaders practice gratitude every day. It breeds engagement and more positive interactions, and allows you to embrace your accomplishments while keeping your ego in check.


Empathy is a critical component of emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. It contributes to positive relationships and cultures, and it drives results.

Developing leaders is not only our job, it’s our passion at PrideStaff Northern Kentucky. Our mission is to consistently provide professionals like you with experiences, skills and knowledge focused on what they value most. Contact us today to connect with our experienced career development counselors – and let’s get you started down the path to leadership excellence.

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