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10 Boss Skills To Master Before Leading A Team

If you are a newbie manager or simply want to be a great leader, these are super-important

Workin' Girl

I was 21 when I got my first job leading a team. I managed people who were not only much older than I was but were also mostly male. On my first day, I confidently put on my high heels and power suit and unapologetically told myself that I would do a bomb job in my new role.

I wasn't bothered that I was the newbie, that I was the youngest in my department, or even that I was leading a team that didn't look like me. None of that mattered because I felt like I was called to lead for a reason.

I was in for a rude awakening.

During my first few months as a manager, my job title was good, my pay was even better, but I sucked as a boss. There was so much that I should've prepared for prior to taking on such an important role. Over time, I discovered what my leadership weaknesses were and focused on how to become a better leader.

If you're looking to get promoted or you're starting a new job as a manager, here are some things that you should prepare for and skills you should gain before deciding to lead a team.

10 Leadership Skills To Master When Leading A Team

1.Vision

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As a manager, you're often responsible for not only your team, but also for a multitude of projects and tasks. Because of this, it can be pretty easy to get caught up on the work and not on the development and performance of your team.

Good leaders are able to clearly see and act on the vision, manage projects, and can develop their team at the same time.

2.Adaptability

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As a leader, sometimes you'll manage several departments at once that are vastly different from one another. Despite this, you're the boss so their success is still your responsibility. It's important that you know enough about what they do and how their department should operate so that you can know how to manage your expectations and be able to answer questions and help when needed.

3.Project Management

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Being a manager, you'll be expected to clearly communicate and execute projects from start to finish. During this period, in order to successfully execute a project, you have to be able to successfully prioritize, organize the tasks, and inspire your team members simultaneously.

4.Delegation

When you're the boss, it's easy to look at every project as your "baby" and become obsessed with it. Instead of letting your obsession turn you into a control freak, you have to tap into the power of delegation. Keep in mind, delegation does not mean pawning off all of your work to your team. Instead, it means understanding the role that each team member has, the deadline of the work, the nature of the project, and strategically assigning portions of the task to each member based on those elements.

Once you start delegating though, the work doesn't stop. You have to remember to also trust and verify the work.

5.Organizational

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Being organized comes naturally for some people but seems impossible for others. Nonetheless, when you're responsible for people and projects, it's critical that you keep your space at least neat enough so that you can clearly find what you and your team need. Also, being organized in your space helps you become organized in other aspects of your work life including managing your team and project timelines.

6.Versatility

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Shit happens and things change in business. Sometimes, these changes are very unexpected and it disrupts you and your team's normal way of work. As the leader, you have to be able to be adaptable and be comfortable with change. On the same note, you have to be able to know how to properly prepare and communicate these changes to your team.

7.Prioritization

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As a boss, you'll often be given several assignments that might have conflicting due dates, or you may discover that you actually don't have enough team members to efficiently execute. Being able to prioritize with limited team members, stretched resources, and conflicting deadlines will help you become a better leader. It will also help you learn to reasonably set expectations and prevent employee burnout.

8.Emotional Intelligence

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A large part in successfully leading a team is having emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." Having emotional intelligence will help you understand and motivate your employees, especially at times when they need it the most.

9.Confidence

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In your line of work, you will be tested every second, and sometimes you'll feel like you're failing. Having a high level of confidence will help you get past the hard times when employees are underperforming, revenue is down, and projects are giving you a difficult time. Maintain your confidence, and understand how to instill a high level of confidence in the people you lead.

10. Boldness

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As a manager, you may find yourself between the thin line of wanting people to like you versus just wanting to become a good leader. Sometimes you have to have hard conversations and make the tough decisions that people won't like. However, you have to be courageous enough to lead and follow through with directives, even when doing things they don't like makes you uncomfortable. You have to be bold enough to remain focused and to also not be intimidated to tell your team members what you need from them.

Now that you've checked out the skills you need to prepare for a role in leadership, what are your thoughts? Are there any skills that you struggle with the most right now? Tweet us and let us know!

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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