Advice from peers: Skills for successful leaders

A village council head attends a meeting to develop her leadership skills. Photo by: Ashutosh Negi /  UN Women / CC BY-NC-ND

While there is some natural overlap between leadership and management roles, they contribute in different ways to the success of an organization. Managers focus more on the day-to-day tasks and processes that allow programs to function. This can include budgeting, planning and staff performance. Leaders, on the other hand, look for ways to inspire and motivate staff and align their work with the organization’s mission. With a long-term view, it is the leaders who set the goals and direction for an organization and are always searching for new and innovative ways to do things.

As with management, there are courses and strategies to help you develop your capabilities in leadership. But ultimately, soft skills are essential to success in this role. Here we look at which skills make successful leaders, according to global development leaders.

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About the author

  • Emma smith

    Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a reporting and communications associate at Devex, based in Barcelona. She focuses on bringing the latest career and hiring trends, tips, and insights to our global development community. Emma has a background in journalism and, in addition to writing for news publications, has worked with organizations focusing on child rights and women’s rights in sustainable development.