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In uncertain times, effective leadership skills matter more than ever. But what are those aptitudes that make a great leader? Which actions embody leadership skills?
This question is equally important for job seekers. Employers want to see candidates who can display solid leadership skills examples on their resumes—and prove them. To help you bring out the best as you apply for your dream job, here you’ll find answers to all your questions about leadership skills.
This guide will show you:
- What leadership skills are and what they include.
- A leadership skills list for you to learn what makes a good and effective leader.
- Leadership skills resume example(s) you can copy and adjust.
- Where to develop leadership skills so that employers recognize your value.
- Why and how to prove leadership on a your resume.
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Want to learn more about other job-winning skills? Follow up with our dedicated guides:
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Creative Thinking Skills
- Writing Skills
- Analytical Skills
- Administrative Skills
What Are Leadership Skills?
Leadership skills are key qualities and abilities that allow managers to guide teams efficiently and meet organizational goals. The skills of a leader include great interpersonal skills, effective communication, strategic thinking, negotiation, conflict resolution, and similar.
Great leadership skills allow professionals to advance in their careers, become good managers, inspire others, and gain recognition as highly-valued members of the organizations they work for.
However, one doesn’t necessarily have to have a leadership role to demonstrate leadership qualities. Taking responsibility and showing initiative are valued at any job, regardless of position.
Not sure how to differentiate between types of skills? See our guide: Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills: What Employers Look For
Key Leadership Skills Examples
What makes a good leader? There can’t be one definitive answer. While there are types of leadership qualities that prove to be universal, some of them are industry- or job-specific.
We’ve compiled a list of the top skills of a leader, where each unites a general type of leadership skill with over 100 subcategories:
- People Management. Recruiting, hiring, training, mentoring, coaching, onboarding, disciplining, getting buy-in, and team building.
- Management Skills. Business knowledge, office management, finance, vendor management, policy deployment, delegating, planning, and strategic thinking.
- Collaboration Skills. Analyzing problems, brainstorming solutions, compromising, defining roles, facilitating discussion, and employee engagement.
- Decision-Making Skills. Prioritizing tasks, research, ethical decision-making, team decision-making, and consensus-building.
- Time Management. Goal setting, self-awareness, prioritization, focus, self-motivation, outsourcing, and stress management.
- Persuasion. Sales, speaking, listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, and empowerment.
- Psychological Leadership Skills. Judging character, negotiation, flexibility, motivation, persistence, and morale-building.
- Problem-Solving Skills. Perceptiveness, data gathering, fact-finding, analysis, brainstorming, research, test development, testing, and evaluation.
- Ethical Leadership Skills. Accountability, professionalism, honesty, and good judgment.
- Communication Skills. Active listening, speaking, receiving feedback, storytelling, facilitating conversations, presentation skills, and PowerPoint.
- Interpersonal Skills. Charisma, relationship building, listening, empathy, and conflict management.
- Employee Motivation. Providing rewards, recognition, giving and receiving feedback, evaluating performance, and setting expectations.
- Positive Attitude. Empathy, compassion, diplomacy, being good-natured, and self-confidence.
- Creative Thinking Skills. Lateral thinking, brainstorming, listening to ideas, and open-mindedness.
- Project Management. Lean thinking, strategic planning, scheduling, and Scrum.
- Computer Skills. MS Office, email, writing, enterprise systems, and spreadsheets.
- Supporting Employees. Listening, keeping promises, compassion, and logistics.
- Lean Thinking. Value stream mapping, kanban, poka-yoke, policy deployment, 5S, Six Sigma, inventory reduction, and setup reduction.
- Agile/Scrum. Meeting facilitation, Agile planning, enforcing rules, shielding the team, servant leadership, and removing impediments.
- Team Leadership Skills. Communication, organization, supervision, respect, influence, honesty, team support, logistics, delegation, and giving recognition.
Want to zero in on job-specific skills? Visit: Hard Skills for Any Job (Best List of Samples)
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
Ways to Improve or Develop Effective Leadership Skills
Here’s the great news: leadership is a skill that can be learned. In many ways, being a great leader means:
- Showing empathy and listening to people’s needs.
- Creating a vision and inspiring others to follow it.
- Striving to make your team’s work lives easier and encouraging people through good and bad times.
There’s a variety of resources online that can teach you how to improve your leadership skills. Here’s a list of training courses to get you started:
General Leadership Skills Courses
Primarily, leadership skills are soft skills, but there are exceptions (like leadership based on data analysis or knowledge of necessary methodologies).
Technical Leadership Skills Courses
- Organizational Leadership: MIT, Coursera
- People Management: Open University, Coursera
- Operations Management: Open University, Alison
- Office Management: Study.com, Alison
- Decision Making: Open University, Coursera
- Time Management: Lynda, Skillshare
- Interpersonal Skills: Udemy, Lynda
- Coaching: Coursera, Universal Class
- Communication: Open University, Coursera
- Project Management: PMI, University of Phoenix
- Agile: Coursera, PMI
- Computer Skills: Alison, Lynda
- Lean Thinking: Lean.org, GBMP
- Nursing: NursingWorld
- Negotiation: Coursera, Harvard Business School
Need more advice on listing technical leadership skills? See our guide: Technical Skills List: Examples for Resumes Employers Want
How to Show Strong Leadership Skills on Your Resume (With Examples)
Which leadership qualities would make sense on your resume? How do you choose, and how do you present those skills to impress the hiring manager?
You could definitely go the easy way and just list your good leadership skills in a separate resume section, like so:
Skills: Interpersonal skills, collaboration, PowerPoint, communication, and budgeting.
But are those the exact leadership skills your employer wants? And is it enough to persuade the hiring manager you’re a great fit for the job?
Need a step-by-step approach? Here’s how you find the right leadership skills for your resume:
- Scan the job ad for keywords. Decide which leadership skills the employer expects to see.
- Focus on those, and create your list around the relevant skills only.
- Show how they helped your employer by supporting those leadership skills with quantifiable achievements.
For example, if the job ad says: negotiating, training, Lean, and value stream mapping, you can use leadership experience resume examples like these:
- Negotiated key deals with vendors, resulting in 25% cost savings.
- Through Lean training across all team members, slashed inventory by 40%.
- Led team in value stream mapping drive. Cut lead times by 3 days.
Or if the job ad says: passion, accountability, and a supportive attitude, your resume should say:
- Spread passion for excellence through a 500-person team with presentations and one-on-one conversations. Cut turnover by 30%.
- Took accountability for all decisions from direct reports. When a big client asked for a rush job, my team volunteered to work the weekend to deliver.
- Supported employees with extra resources, time, and autonomy. Achieved 95% buy-in for our Kaizen efforts.
As good as hired. Each bullet has leadership traits or skills the job wants. Plus—each accomplishment brought value to the company, and there are numbers to prove it.
Based on that, when you’re choosing skills for your resume skills section, the following leadership traits would make sense:
- Providing support
Those leadership skills would summarize and reinforce what you said in your work experience section, making your resume strong and coherent.
Pro Tip: if you want to add leadership skills to your resume, don’t cram too many. Only feature the ones that make sense for the job and your actual experience. And don’t lie. Making up achievements may get you to the interview. But they’ll spot your lack of leadership qualities the second you sit down and start talking.
Now, here are some specific examples of listing leadership skills on a resume:
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Communication Skills
Does the job posting want leadership communication skills? Then prove you have them! But which ones?
Does it need active listening? Speaking? Business storytelling? Or does it just want general written and spoken communication skills? Figure it out with our leadership skills resume example before you get down to writing your own resume.
If the job ad says: giving presentations, PowerPoint, written communication, you can use the below leadership experience resume examples for your resume:
- Gave 3–5 group presentations a month to employees and clients. They were posted to YouTube. Most got 1,000–50,000 views.
- Used PowerPoint to demonstrate why we should use Trello as an office kanban system. Gained 100% buy-in. Cut delivery times for projects by 18%.
- Wrote a monthly company newsletter, quarterly reports, and two federal grants per year. Awarded an average of $50,000 annually for special projects.
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Management Skills
Does your dream job require leadership skills for managers? Of course, it does. But does that mean people management or operations management? Process management or project management? What about hiring, training, or delegating?
Read the job ad carefully, then build your bullet points like this:
If the job ad says: mentoring, office management, your resume should say:
- Hand-picked by upper management to mentor teams and managers from other departments. Facilitated a 15% increase in policy compliance.
- Managed head office with 21 staff members. Used a targeted approach to hiring, compensation, and engagement and slashed turnover by 25%.
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Interpersonal Skills
Leadership soft skills are key in manager jobs. Do you have skills and qualities like charisma, active listening, and conflict management?
Great! Now make sure those stand out to the hiring manager. Sift through the job ad and find just the interpersonal skills it calls for. Then build bullet points like this:
If the job ad says: charisma, conflict management, your resume should say:
- Elected by popular vote of 500+ employees to lead the company’s Goal Compass team. Facilitated reaching all four goals in one year.
- Resolved conflicts on the production floor by leading meetings between opposing parties. Slashed time lost to intra-term conflicts by 30%.
When possible, use exact resume keywords from the job posting. In this case, we swapped “charisma” with “popular” because it made more sense.
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Team Leadership Skills
Team leadership skills impact a tight-knit group. They’re different from organizational leadership qualities that cover multiple teams.
What team leader skills does this job need? Support? Communication? Supervision? Prove them on your resume like this leadership skills resume example shows:
If the job ad says: supervision, giving recognition, your resume should say:
- Supervised a team of 7 CNC operators. Consistently hit all production targets, turning out 17% fewer defects than the plant average.
- Gave persistent, daily recognition for jobs well done. Also used monthly & quarterly recognition to gain 10% higher morale scores than the company average.
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Technical Leadership Skills
Technical leadership skills are the opposite of leadership soft skills. They’re things like training, finance, data gathering, and Six Sigma.
When should you show them on your resume? When the job ad asks for them, or when they’re central to the job itself.
If the job ad says: Agile planning, fact-finding, your resume should say:
- Used Agile planning for 10 projects per year. Saved $45,000 a year in quality issues.
- Conducted 1–2 fact-finding operations per month to address quality concerns. During my tenure, customer complaints dropped by 22%.
Leadership Skills Examples for a Resume—Nursing Skills
Your nursing skills may be up there with Ann O’Brien’s. But if you don’t prove them on your resume, the hiring manager will have no idea.
Read the job ad. Does it want communication the most? Team building? Training skills? Integrity? Match your resume leadership qualities to those.
If the job ad says: team building, commitment to quality, your resume should say:
- Conducted 3 team-building events per year with 30 staff members each. Contributed to raising job satisfaction scores by 20% in 2 years.
- Led patient-care quality improvement drive. Helped raise scores on a nursing portion of the HCAHPS survey by 23%.
Need a bigger list of skills and qualities for your resume? See our guide: 99 Key Skills for a Resume + Examples
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
Leadership skills are an umbrella term for a variety of skills allowing an individual to impact and guide others. Good leadership skills can be nourished and improved over time through experience and exploring offline/online educational resources.
Here’s a recap of how to describe leadership skills on a resume:
- Review the different types of leadership skills.
- Read the job ad. Learn the leadership qualities that matter for this job.
- Prove your leadership skills with achievements from past jobs.
- Add numbers to your leadership skills resume phrases to show you’ve got the characteristics of a leader. Use dollar figures, percentages, hours saved, and numbers of people trained.
Still ambiguous about effective leadership skills? Not sure how to prove leadership skills on a resume? Give us a shout in the comments! We’d be happy to help out.
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