Having strong leadership skills means being able to lead, influence, and guide others, be they colleagues, friends, or even strangers.
What’s more, great leaders are natural problem-solvers. Think of someone between your favorite superhero and your best friend.
But putting ‘leadership skills’ in the skills section of your resume is surely not something we advise you to do. It does not mean anything and might make you sound shallow.
Instead, prove that you’re an active listener, a strong decision-maker, and an empathetic problem-solver.
How is showing you’re a good team leader useful for your job hunt?
Being a team leader has little to do with your job title. “Leader” is not just a formal title but also essential roles in each team.
Let’s consider scenario #1 - you may either be applying for an operational, a specialist, an expert job or your future job title might not explicitly say “leader”, “manager”, or “chief operations officer”. Besides that, having leadership skills would still be extremely attractive displayed on your resume. Exerting a certain set of leadership skills could be beneficial for your career and for your growth. It could be very useful in building good relationships and group dynamics within the team you’re working with. In addition, it could also be beneficial in putting you out there in the eyes of your managers when it’s time for promotion.
On the other hand, if you’re after a people managing position, then you already know the importance of leadership skills for your work success, growth, and satisfaction. Forming an effective team is an art on its own and its components are motivation, support, understanding, and focus - on the tasks, on the people both as a team, and as individuals.
The question then is, if team leadership consists of so many integral parts, how to best describe and showcase your experience on your resume? Let’s dive in.
Read this: 300+ Must-Have Skills for Your Resume
What skills and qualities help you highlight your team leadership skills?
Similar to most soft skills, the best way to prove you have a certain skillset is to disintegrate it into its constituent parts and then provide examples for each of them. In this way, you are not only specific and detailed, but also show your definition and understanding of the skill.
You can usually tell someone is a good leader by exerting the following:
- Communication and listening -- good communication skills are the platforms upon which we all build our lives, both professional and personal. Being able to listen actively, ask nonjudgmental questions, seek to understand, and speak with empathy are key if you want to be viewed as a true leader.
- Mediation and problem-solving -- being in the position of the team leader, you often need to juggle different people’s interests. Being able to balance between various points of view and not take sides but rather try to listen and proactively offer solutions, are qualities that help build confidence and in your skills and persona, and a sense of openness in your team members.
- Consistency, discipline, and vision -- consistency leads to trust which then leads to open sharing and being able to move forward and progress. Discipline is the fuel on the path of that progress and success. Vision is the goal at the end of the path, but also the reason for stepping on the road in the first place. Good leaders combine all of that
- Empathy, active listening & support: problems arise all the time. Recruiters know this, and that’s why they don’t want you to ignore them or magically make them disappear. Knowing how to deal with them through being an empathetic and supportive listener is a whole other story though. In fact, these skills can actually decrease the number of problems over time.
- Creativity & strategic thinking: it might sound as if creativity is the opposite of strategic thinking, but the truth is – they are intrinsically linked. Adapting ideas from different contexts to build improved and innovative strategies is essentially what every leader should know how to do.
- Flexibility & organization: being organized and setting good examples for others is crucial, but welcoming setbacks and delays with a high level of flexibility is even more important. The combination of these two skills will show employers that you’re a strong leader who is able to handle all types of situations.
How to demonstrate team leadership skills on your resume
- Think of instances when you took the initiative and united the team around an idea of yours that lead to success
- Describe a time when you helped resolve a team conflict or deescalate a situation
- Give examples of innovative ideas or approaches that took your team efforts to the next level
- Mention situations when you were able to listen actively, motivate, and provide support to your team members
- Explain the relation between consistency, discipline, and trust by providing an example of your experience
- Talk about a difficult situation that you were able to overcome by exerting original thinking and mediation
- Mention times when plans have changed drastically, but you’ve handled the situation well
- Talk about some team issues you have helped resolve or avoid
- Demonstrate how responsible you are when it comes to organizing your time and meeting tight deadlines
- Share how your ability to be an empathetic listener has helped your team in the past
- Point out the link between your creativity and your ability to keep your eye on the prize
Saying things such as “I’m a good leader who has managed a team of 4 people” sounds impressive, but managing people does not directly imply how and why that makes you a good leader.
To make this statement believable and persuasive, you need to go into detail and support it with examples.
Try to dig deeper by pondering the following questions:
- What exactly did you achieve when you managed this team?
- Did you take any specific classes or receive any certifications or coaching on being a leader?
- What did your team members say about working with you?
- What did you learn from that experience?
- Have you ever led a successful project?
- When was the last time you had to resolve a work-related issue and how did you do it?
- How do you deal with unsupportive or unengaged team members?
To help you describe your own experience, here are some real life examples from other Enhancv users’ resumes.
Get inspired to craft and enhance your own resume.
Example 1: Show team leadership skills in your experience
Job Situation: Product manager applying for the role of Director of Product Management
Managed multiple product lines, all the way from the idea stage through their delivery for teams developing software for hospitals and clinics
Promoted products to both internal and external customers increasing penetration of customer base to 85%
Worked in collaboration with clients and stakeholders with a budget of $2M
Developed and managed goals, objectives, procedures and work standards minding all applicable local and foreign regulations
Served as a mediator between stakeholders and different teams involved, making sure all interests are taken into consideration
Do you notice what will tip the scales in this candidate's favor? That's right - achievements, instead of a responsibilities list.
They quoted their measurable results, such as "increasing penetration of customer base to 85%".
This example implies their agility, focus, and consistency.
By developing and managing goals, objectives and procedures, this Product Managers shows good vision and discipline - other important leadership skills.
They also were able to collaborate with different stakeholders and take into consideration their collective interests - a good example of mediation and problem-solving. The use of active verbs in the description such as “promoted” and “developed” shows proactiveness and focus.
We can see here that even though leadership skills are not explicitly stated in the experience section, they are well represented and implied.
Let's see another example.
Senior Project Manager
New York, NY
Monitored progress and set deadlines for as many as 50% of our projects
Was appointed first POC for new colleagues who had difficulties settling in
Explained our suggestions to clients and worked to find a middle ground with them
Developed a mentorship program that linked junior PMs with senior PMs and resulted in 58% more motivation for all colleagues
The snippet of this senior project manager resume proves their leadership skills in two ways.
Firstly, the fact that they begin each bullet with an action verb shows they’re willing to take the initiative.
Secondly, they have highlighted their ability to work with people quite well. Even in challenging contexts, such as finding a middle ground with unhappy clients and increasing the levels of motivation for both junior and senior colleagues by 58%.
Highlighting the fact that they have been responsible for monitoring progress and setting deadlines, on the other hand, proves their strong organizational skills.
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Example 2: Resume summary
Job Situation: Software developer with 4 years of experience applying for the role of Technical Team Lead
Technically sound Software Engineer designing, developing, and improving web applications for the past 4+ years. Value teamwork over individual brilliance. Believes in the people-first approach not only in tech but in collaboration too.
In those 3 short sentences, we get the idea that this Software Engineer has an affinity for tech and teamwork. They speak of collaboration, valuing teamwork, and approaching both tech and communication challenges with a people-first motto.
This summary definitely states the intention of the IT professional to move from a more tech to a more people position like a Team Lead.
Let's dive into another example.
A Digital Marketing Manager with 7 years of experience and a proven track record of achievements in the field. Co-led a team of 10 junior colleagues from various departments to score a 98% client satisfaction rate in 2021. Able to be both a leader and a follower.
The resume summary is a great place to showcase your leadership skills in a couple of sentences.
This Digital Marketing Manager’s resume summary proves that they have strong collaboration and organizational skills, as well as high levels of flexibility and creativity. Thus, it proves their leadership skills without making them sound boastful.
What’s more, they also add the keyword ‘leader’ which gives them bonus points, especially when it comes to passing ATS checks.
Still not sure what to include in your resume summary? Check out this guide!
Example 3: Key achievements
Job Situation: Finance Manager outlines his achievements
Mentored 4 new joiners
I had the pleasure of mentoring 4 new joiners in our team as part of their onboarding process. We had different challenges to tackle with each of them but this experience made me more patient and intentional.
Drove change proactively
Identified improvement changes regarding key processes for internal controls and accounting procedures. The proposed approach resulted in 35% less time spent in meetings 47% less incorrectly handled tasks.
Ignited team building and collaboration
Introduced some team members to my hobby of early morning hikes before work. The time we spent together before going to the office brought us closer and immensely improved our collaboration.
A great way to combine both your experience and your strengths is to use the Achievements section. In this example we can see that this Financial Manager is proactive, team-oriented, social, collaborative, and proactive - all good team leadership qualities that cannot be missed by an experienced recruiter’s eye.
Let's look into another example.
2021 CheerLeader Award
The 2021 CheerLeader Award is given to the person, considered the most cheerful leader in the company.
Best Team in 2020
My team earned the Best Team award in 2020 for getting top results and high client satisfaction scores.
No Conflicts Award
Guaranteed a steady decline in interpersonal conflicts in the workplace by integrating the Mindful Mornings program.
In case there’s something you’re extremely proud of and want to highlight, use the Achievements (also called Most Proud Of) section.
This resume snippet proves the applicant’s leadership skills by emphasizing their ability to lead teams to success and manage conflicts easily. They also share their leadership award, which proves that they’re a likable and valuable individual.
Looking for more reasons to add an ‘Achievements’ section? Read this article!
Example 4: Demonstrate your Leadership Skills through other sections of your resume
Job Situation: Graphic Designer describes his volunteering experience
MS Office Trainer
Youth Council GB
Volunteered as a trainer for young students in the field of computer literacy
Taught 60+ kids from 3 different classes, ages 12-16 how to work with MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Job Situation: HR Specialist describes her extracurricular activities and additional courses
Leading with Empathy
LinkedIn Learning course by Maria Ross
How to Make Strategic Thinking a Habit
LinkedIn Learning course by Dorie Clark
Leading: Human Resource Management and Leadership Specialization
Coursera course by Macquarie University
Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work
edX course by Berkeley
Look at the examples above. They prove that you don’t need to be an executive or even a manager to have leadership skills.
In fact, enrolling in different courses on the topic shows you’re passionate about becoming a great leader and improving day by day. The same goes for volunteering roles.
So think about mentioning something besides your work experience. Maybe you were in charge of some school event? Or maybe you enrolled in a course about empathy and communication?
In short, you can add any kind of extracurricular activity that requires high levels of emotional intelligence, teamwork, organization, and flexibility.
Leadership Skills: Key Takeaways for Your Resume
- Demonstrate devotion: talk about projects where you had to leave personal preferences aside and focus on common goals and benefits
- Prove you’re a team player: share more about the times you had to lead teams and mention how you’ve earned success
- Keep it to the point: use action verbs and choose the words you go for carefully; you’ll have plenty of time to elaborate on your strengths during the interview
- Use all parts of your resume: try to showcase your leadership skills in as many sections as possible (but be careful and don’t go over the top)
Looking for more tips on crafting a job-winning resume? Check out this guide!
About this report:
Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com.
While those skills are most commonly met on resumes, you should only use them as inspiration and customize your resume for the given job.
Demonstrate your delegation skills on your resume by describing how you managed a team or project. Provide specific examples of how you delegated responsibilities, established expectations, tracked progress, and provided feedback.How do you demonstrate strong leadership skills? ›
- Offering to help a colleague who is having problems.
- Being supportive and encouraging.
- Praising fellow workers for good work.
- Giving credit to others.
- Showing empathy for people with difficult tasks.
- Communicating effectively.
- Working to improve team morale in difficult times.
When this question shows up, you need to show the interviewer why you would be a good fit for the role they are looking for and the leadership skills you possess. Show traits that make you a good team leader such as multitasking, being a team player, being understanding and considerate, leading by example, etc.What makes you fit for a leadership role * Your answer? ›
Showcase skills and qualities such as patience, active listening, empathy, positivity, reliability and team building. Example: “While communication skills help me to be a good leader, holding myself accountable is essential to lead by example.What 3 words would you use to describe a great leader? ›
Personally, I use these three words to define leadership and keep focused on terms that allow for personal leadership traits to be effective: Vision. Direction. Support.How do you say leadership in resume? ›
“If you can identify words alluding to leadership like: lead, pioneer, direct, that will be a good starting point. Then, be sure to use those words as well as a variety of action verbs throughout your resume so as not to be redundant with the same verbs throughout.”What is an example of strong leadership? ›
Good leaders share a level of brilliance that enables them to inspire the masses toward new ideas and innovations. Examples include Mahatma Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, and Martin Luther King Jr.How do you answer Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills? ›
Describe the task—or what your responsibility was in the situation. Talk about the action (or actions) you took and make sure you frame it all in terms of your leadership. Talk about the results of your actions—the more quantifiable and concrete the better.What is good leadership answer? ›
Sample answer 2
The ability to influence, build healthy relationships, and people management are a few qualities that make a good leader. Additionally, they should be able to delegate effectively, align their team to achieve a common goal towards profiting the company, and solve any conflicts that may arise.
Points to Emphasize
Mention the skills you believe make a good leader. Talk about experiences where you demonstrated those skills. Talk about why those skills are important to an effective leader. Discuss times where you have had to lead a team.
- Decisiveness. Leaders must make difficult decisions — often quickly — and justify their choices to colleagues and employees. ...
- Critical thinking. ...
- Motivation. ...
- Integrity. ...
- Team building.
💡 Example answer
“My skill set matches all the requirements laid out in the job description. In particular, my ability to work to tight deadlines and manage my time effectively make me a good fit for the role.
Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.What is your greatest leadership strength? ›
- Situational awareness.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Effective negotiation skills.
- Conflict resolution skills.
- Collaboration skills and intercultural sensitivity.
- Ability to work with different personal styles and approaches.
Leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization.How do you say you are a natural leader on a resume? ›
Explain the roles you've held with nonprofits and on charitable events and boast about your successes. Including charitable work on your resume gives you an opportunity to show off your leadership skills and also to demonstrate that you care for important causes. Focus on skills that reflect your leadership qualities.What can I say instead of leadership skills? ›
- Embraces teamwork.
- Team-player who can also work independently.
- Thrives in a team environment.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Enjoys working closely with others.
- Team-oriented personality.
- Dedicated team-member.
- Team leader.
Leaders are in constant communication with others – their employees, partners, customers, and other managers. As a result, having excellent communication skills is essential for success. Employers are looking for leaders who can clearly and succinctly articulate information, goals, tasks, and results.
Effective leaders are competent, skilled, secure, and considerate. These leaders find time for everyone; they are genuine and authentic in their communications and actions. People matter to them, and they openly demonstrate this fact to their employees.How would you describe your leadership style * Your answer? ›
Example Answer #1:
“I would describe my leadership style as direct, and leading by example. I enjoy delegating tasks and taking the lead on projects, but I also like to stay involved and inspire my team by showing that I'm working hands-on to help them, too.
Example answer: 'By clearly structuring my team, finding the strengths of all team members, and delegating tasks, we were able to bring the projects to success. A lot of projects were in collaboration with different departments, so members of teams would change.How would you define a good leader give reasons for your explanation? ›
“Having the ability to show respect, empathy, and care to those that follow you, are all attributed to being a great leader. Earning respect is crucial to a successful relationship with someone, while also showing that you care about their work or ideas.What are the 3 main aspects of leadership? ›
- Strong Character. Leaders with strong character earn the respect of their peers. ...
- Committed, Swift Decision Making. ...
- Available When You Need Them. ...
- Additional Resources.
- Critical thinking. This skill is defined by an ability to look past the first tidbit of information you receive, verify assumptions and use triangulated research and reasoning to find the best possible solution to a problem. ...
- Communication. ...
- Collaboration. ...
- Creativity. ...
- Commitment. ...
This is a great answer as the interviewee mentions important skills in the job description and highlights the success of the business and their part in achieving this success. “I am motivated to perform well but also help others, regardless of the position I am in, I do help others in the team or other departments.Why do you think you are a good fit for this position examples? ›
For example, you might explain that you are particularly motivated, or that you are known for going above and beyond for your employers. A second way to answer is to emphasize your unique skills. If you have skills that make you a strong candidate (especially if not many people have those skills), mention these.Why should we hire you answer example? ›
For starters, I have all the skills and experience listed in the job description, and I'm confident that I can make an immediate impact on your company. It's not just my background in leading successful projects for Fortune 500 companies, but also my passion for the industry that drives me to succeed.What 5 qualities make you a good leader in the workplace? ›
Democratic leadership is one of the most effective leadership styles. This is because it allows lower-level employees to exercise the authority they'll need to use wisely in future positions.What is the most common leadership style? ›
- Transformational Leadership.
- Delegative Leadership.
- Authoritative Leadership.
- Transactional Leadership.
- Participative Leadership.
“A great leader posses a clear vision, is courageous, has integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. He or she is a strategic planner and believes in teamwork.How do I say I am a good leader? ›
Outline your leadership experience and accomplishments. If you are an "outstanding leader" then you should have good communication and influence skills. In this vein, it may be beneficial, or at least clarifying, for the OP to articulate to the person they're communicating with what "leadership" even means to the OP.What are your strengths as a leader? ›
Other strengths include being empathetic, customer-focused, trustworthy, confidence, and selflessness. Additionally, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, strategic planning, creative thinking, flexibility, agility, selflessness, versatility, and quick learning ability are all essential leadership qualities.What are 5 characteristics of leadership? ›
In particular, empathy, communication, decision-making, resilience, and delegation constitute the 5 characteristics of a good leader in today's business environment.