The demand for exceptional leadership skills is vital to unlocking transformational growth in business.
Recent research and reports confirm leadership development should be considered a top priority in 2015.
According to a Deloitte survey, a shortage of skilled workers was perceived as one of the obstacles to growth for more than 35 percent of the 300 C-suite executives polled.
Fifty-two percent of the C-suite executives surveyed felt that their direct reports did not possess the skills to take on greater leadership roles, and 4 percent reported that a lack of personal ambition and motivation were issues that affected their employees' future potential for success.
Yet 50 percent of 300 managers polled by Deloitte who expressed the ambition to take on top leadership roles said they believed they did not have access to proper leadership training.
The problem with most leadership-development programs today is that they are focused on outdated models. The future of leadership is, at its core, about people connecting with people. Leaders need to identify the factors that motivate employees to aspire to perform at their highest level.
Fostering an environment of more heart-centered communication between owners, managers and employees is another key to realizing better performance and improved engagement.
Stepping into any leadership position takes courage, motivation and a healthy measure of emotional intelligence. If you choose to do so, this might require expanding your capacity to lead with empathy and authenticity. Occasionally, great leadership may require pushing yourself outside a familiar comfort zone.
Are you cut out to effectively take on a leadership role? The following traits are true signposts of a wise and more collaborative form of leadership:
1. Being a good listener.
It's no coincidence that "listen" and "silent" represent an anagram. Effective leaders listen to understand, pause before speaking, are fully present in a conversation and have a knack for picking up nonverbal cues.
2. Possessing moral courage.
Simply put: Do the right thing even when it might be easier or faster not to. Trust that taking the ethical path always pays off in the long run.
3. Asking better questions.
Significant and meaningful insight can be gleaned by asking thoughtful questions. A leader acquires a tremendous amount of information from asking questions and talking less.
This approach will also win the hearts of employees, as you'll be viewed as a leader who understands the perspectives of others and cares enough to ask for staffers' opinions.
4. Offering support.
Serve those you're leading not the other way around. Part of your job as a leader is to remove barriers to success by observing what might be standing in the way of employees' achieving their goals.
Be able to determine how you can facilitate their progress without eliminating their accountability.
5. Relinquishing control.
There are times when seizing the reins is appropriate, but on other occasions letting go can be invaluable. By relinquishing control, you empower employees and create opportunities for them to build confidence and self-esteem and become engaged.
The original version of this article first appeared on Entrepreneur.com Copyright 2015 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.