What It Takes to Be a Leader: 7 Skills You Learn on the Job | Edukasyon.ph
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What It Takes to Be a Leader: 7 Skills You Learn on the Job

So you’re hoping to bag your dream job and you’re wondering what it takes to become an outstanding leader. Determination and grit will definitely get you far—you already know that. But there are other equally important qualities you’ll need on your professional journey.

Here are some must-have skills to bring out the leader in you! Plus: Some insider tips from young professionals who have made the corporate climb, from fresh grad to fierce leader!

Communication Skills

The most impactful leaders are the ones who have a way with words. So don’t waste those bright ideas by keeping silent in the corner of your office. Articulate yourself! Language is key to being heard—and seen—so don’t be afraid to use your voice to make a difference.

Initial communication is always daunting, especially if you’re new. But over time, it’ll become natural (even for the introverts out there)! Need to brush up on those speaking skills? We’ve got a guide for you here!


Have you always rocked solo assignments but dreaded group work? We don’t blame you. But real talk: this attitude has no place at work, especially if you’re eyeing an executive position.

An effective leader ensures a dynamic relationship among team members. They make sure each individual contributes to the team. It’s not easy, but you learn it on the job!

“Strong peer relationships and social skills were key enablers to success,” says Katrina Valle, who finished from the 2nd batch of Mondelez Philippines’ long-standing Graduate Trainee Program.


If you’re feeling a little shy, take baby steps to show initiative. Volunteer to lead a project or try organizing the office party. These simple actions highlight your drive and ambition!

“Initiative precedes intellect,” says Valle. During her stint for the Graduate Trainee program at Mondelez Philippines, she remembers, “It was then very important to act with speed, having complete ownership of the project, and taking initiative in asking questions and then placing action plans.”

Work Ethic

What sets apart brilliant workers isn’t just knowledge, but also grit and an excellent work ethic. Your work ethic combines your attitude toward your work and your behavior inside the workspace. So, naturally, having an organized mind and space inspires your work—and team—tremendously. You’re also able to make better decisions.

Professionalism, discipline, and a sense of urgency are all part of the package, too! These admirable qualities won’t go unnoticed. Trust us, your peers will soon follow in your footsteps.

Project Management

Aiming to take charge of a future project? Great! It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth the reward. And having project management skills will catapult you toward success.

“I learned that my job is not to tick off activities in my task list, but rather do, develop and improve things that would be a win-win situation for the business,” says Valle. She now works as a Supply Hub Lead at Mondelez Philippines, where managing both projects and teams is crucial.

Project management is getting things done in the most efficient way. Know your timelines, deadlines, and deliverables. Monitor progress and planning. Maintain communication across teams—and motivate when necessary. It’s overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it! Again, you learn on the job. The first step to being a great project head? Get organized and manage your time well.

Growth Mindset

You’re awesome—there’s no doubt about it! But when you get to the workforce, you’ll realize there’s always someone who’s better and brighter than you. If you were a high-performer in school, failure can be frustrating. But failing is part of work and, well, life. It’s not enough to rely on your current abilities and potential. A growth mindset means believing that even moments of failure are opportunities to learn!

“The varied and challenging assignments [at work] build you to develop a wider outlook and a level of adaptability, that definitely served me well as I progressed,” says Ace Palabrica, another Mondelez Philippines Graduate Trainee Program alumnus.

Forgive yourself for mistakes, and push forward for greater results. Have the humility and mindset to take on chances to learn, and grow from your mistakes.


Finally, always remember to lead with empathy. No company or work team is perfect. Someone might miss a deadline, underdeliver on a task, or just act intolerable. Try putting yourself in their shoes, though. They might be facing personal issues or work-related dilemmas. Extending a little kindness is always a good idea. It’s the mark of a true leader. Add a little heart whenever you communicate. Trust us, your workmates will appreciate a leader who gives feedback with both clarity and understanding.

Pro-Tip: Add learning opportunities to your job search criteria

If you want to become a standout leader, find a dynamic and reputable company that can hone your potential. Nothing is more empowering than a supportive team that sets you up for success.

Look for companies that offer quality training programs that can give you an edge. For example, Mondelez Philippines offers an excellent Graduate Trainee Program, for high-potential fresh grads like you! The program aims to bring out the best qualities in potential leaders in the company by giving them first-hand experience in the various Functions within the company over a period of 18 months, access to great coaches and lots of on-the-job experience. The program is set apart by its goal to develop not only employees but future leaders of the Company.

“The Mondelez Philippines program is structured around cross-functional experiences,” adds Ace Palabrica, who now works as a Sales Capability Lead. “You are given ample time to both learn and make an impact. This process truly molds your skill to be change agile and learn on the fly.”

Plus, you get mentorship. Katrina Valle got this invaluable advice from her mentors: “Learn, contribute, and have fun.”

Psyched to put all these work-friendly skills to good use? We’re excited for you too! Best of luck on your journey to becoming a transformative leader! Need more tips on excelling in the workplace? Check out our Moving Ahead section on the Edukasyon.ph blog!