10 Leadership Skills To Highlight In Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leadership skills can help you in all facets of your career. Leadership usually incorporates several communication abilities and personality traits that are useful for anyone to practice and learn over time. If you're applying for a job that requires you to manage a team or group of employees, it's important to highlight your leadership skills on your resume to increase your chances of getting hired for the job. In this article, we discuss what leadership skills are, explore the characteristics of a good leader, learn the key leadership skills and how to highlight them in your resume.

What are leadership skills?

Leadership skills refer to the skills that you use when you manage or organise other people to meet a common goal. Whether you're leading a project or in a management position, leadership skills require you to encourage others to complete tasks, usually according to a schedule. Leadership isn't only one skill, but rather a combination of several skills that work together.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV

Characteristics of a good leader

Here's a look at some of the characteristics of a good leader:

  • Patient: This refers to your capacity to tolerate or accept delay, trouble or suffering without getting upset or angry.

  • Empathic: This refers to your ability to emotionally understand what others feel, imagine yourself in their position and see things from their point of view.

  • Active listener: Being an active listener means you can focus completely on a speaker, understand their message or analyse the information and respond thoughtfully.

  • Flexible: Working with a team of people means responsibilities, goals and tasks will shift. A flexible leader has the ability to adjust and maintain ownership of the meeting, project or team as needed.

  • Humility: Great leaders admit their mistakes and uplift those around them. Humility is crucial when you lead a team.

  • Innovative: Great leaders can come up with ideas, refine the ideas of others, solve problems and perform many other tasks that require creativity and innovation.

  • Passionate: The leader of a team should be passionate about achieving a common goal, building unity among their team to work together.

  • Respectful: Great leaders treat their co-workers with respect and gain respect in return. They are open-minded and value feedback. They also want to listen to the opinions or perspectives of their teammates.

  • Dependable: Leadership requires delegation. When a leader trusts their team to perform what they're assigned, it can encourage mutual respect and positive morale.

Related: Selecting the Right CV Skills in 5 Simple Steps

Key leadership skills

Here are 10 must-have leadership skills that may prove valuable to an individual applying for work or seeking career advancement:

Decisiveness

An effective leader can quickly make decisions with the information they have. Effective decision-making comes with experience and time. As you gain experience and become more familiar with your job, you can easily and quickly make decisions, even if you don't have enough information. Decisiveness is a valuable skill because it can help you complete projects faster and improve efficiency.

Effective decisiveness requires goal-setting, problem-solving, evaluation and research, often with a quick turnaround. Good decision-makers can pull from their own experience with similar tasks, determine what works best, decide and be confident in taking full responsibility for the outcome.

Integrity

People often see integrity as just honesty or truthfulness, but in many cases, it also means having and maintaining a set of strong values. In the workplace, integrity usually means being able to make ethical decisions and helping your employer maintain a positive image. Companies often seek to hire employees who have a strong sense of integrity.

Having integrity as a leader not only encourages fair practice and outcomes but also sends a positive and strong example to your team.

Relationship building

Leadership often requires the ability to create and maintain a collaborative and strong team of people who work towards a common goal. Team building requires other leadership skills, such as effective conflict resolution and communication skills.

Establishing a strong relationship with your team can be one of the most valuable skills to a leadership role, as it can make the communication of goals, responsibilities and tasks more effective. If you and your teammates understand each other, you can benefit by being able to evaluate strengths, assign tasks and complete your goals more easily.

Problem-solving

Strong leaders are good at solving problems that occur on the job. Solving problems effectively usually requires staying calm and coming up with a step-by-step solution. Problem-solving skills can help you make decisions easily, resolve issues with your team and external teams alike. It ensures your team completes projects on time while adhering to the budget and other specifications.

Dependability

If you're a dependable leader, people can trust and rely on you. Dependable people follow through on plans and keep their promises. The strong rapport established by a dependable leader can create a resilient team that can work through problems. Being a dependable leader means being straightforward, meeting deadlines, coming through on responsibilities and when you can't meet a goal or promise, communicating this to team members ahead of time and having a backup plan.

Ability to mentor or teach

One skill that sets leadership apart from many other competencies is the ability to mentor and teach. Teaching direct reports or colleagues effectively to grow in their careers can help a company scale up. This skill often requires a leader to think less about themselves and more about how they can make their team or company as a whole more successful.

Active listening

A strong leader can always hear what their team members have to say, both negative and positive. They should allow their employees to express their ideas without judging or interrupting them. A good listener understands and empathises with other people's feelings and thoughts. They can also make it clear to their employees that they're ready to hear their suggestions, ideas, concerns and questions. This can help your co-workers feel more appreciated and motivated.

Motivation

A strong leader can inspire their team members to go the extra mile for their company. They can build an employee's confidence through rewards and recognition, or by giving an employee new responsibilities to boost their investment in the company. A good leader can determine what motivators work best for their team members to encourage passion and productivity.

Delegating

It's important to identify the skills of each of your team members and assign tasks to each of them based on their skill set. By delegating tasks to team members, you can concentrate on other important tasks.

Flexibility

Mishaps and last-minute changes often occur at work. Thus, a leader needs to be flexible, accepting whatever changes that may arise. Team members may appreciate your ability to accept changes in stride and solve problems creatively. Likewise, a leader should also be open to feedback and suggestions. If one of your team members isn't happy with an aspect of the work environment, listen to their concern and make necessary changes. Employees appreciate a leader's ability to accept feedback.

How to show leadership skills in a resume

Here are a few steps to optimise your resume with enhanced leadership skills:

1. Provide examples

Provide specific examples of your leadership skills when discussing them on your resume. You can mention some leadership-related achievements from your previous job. For example, in your achievements section, you can say something like, "Successfully organised meetings, workshops, and collaborations with other companies."

Related: 7 Powerful Ways to Start a Cover Letter (With Examples)

2. Quantify measurable results

Qualities of a good leader extend to work efficiency and specific, measurable results. When writing about accomplishments from previous roles, consider quantifying them with hard numbers and statistics. For example, you can say, "Created a company culture program that raised employee satisfaction rates by 50%."

3. Use leadership skills mentioned in the job advertisement

Companies usually provide detailed job advertisements whenever they recruit new employees. Review that job ad carefully and modify your resume in order to meet the criteria. Keep in mind that leadership isn't just about the things you write or the way you act, it's also about the way you organise your writing. A generic resume or a resume that doesn't match the criteria can be a sign of poor organisational skills, which are crucial for good leadership.

Basically, just by organising and tailoring your resume, you can help a recruiter or employer see you as someone who gets the job done correctly and on time. You can also highlight leadership skills from the job ad and provide a few examples to prove how you demonstrate them.

4. Include words related to leadership

Vocabulary can be your best friend when crafting a resume. The choice of words in your resume can help demonstrate your leadership skills. Take some time when crafting your resume, explore alternate ways of saying the same thing and use action verbs. Some examples of words that are associated with leadership include enable, lead, empower, delegate, coach and guide. You can use words like these to highlight your ability to lead.

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