Technical expertise can definitely help you climb the corporate ladder, but it’s the soft skills that will mold you into a good leader.
Developing leadership skills is a constant process, even for those already at the top. So with that in mind, here are some effective tips for improving your leadership qualities.
1. STAY PASSIONATE
Passion is an important quality for leaders. When you show enthusiasm, it can motivate those around you. Instilling meaning is very important when in a leadership role, as detailed in our post ‘3 Tips Top Leaders Use to Crush the Competition’. It’s all about empowering, rather than commanding. Talk to them about the importance of their roles and how they can help the company achieve its goals. Employees who believe their work is valuable are more likely to feel inspired and perform better than those who don’t.
2. MOTIVATE OTHERS
One challenge leaders have to face is how to keep their co-workers engaged, so find time to sit down with your team members and discover what motivates them. An Inc. article emphasizes the importance of giving praise, as it shows that you recognize each person’s hard work. Moreover, giving compliments on a regular basis is proven to increase individual productivity.
3. TAKE ON MORE INITIATIVES
Adopting more responsibilities can help with your growth as a leader, because these tasks gift you with new knowledge. In line with this, try to accept duties beyond your position. Fast Company suggests taking advantage of leadership opportunities even outside of work. Try your hand at helping out with community projects or planning a family reunion. These types of tasks can help you develop important leadership skills, like strategic planning and team collaboration, in new and exciting ways.
4. ADMIT YOUR FAILURES
Even the best leaders commit mistakes, but what makes them great is their ability to admit those errors and own up to them. Being open about your failures and doing your best to remedy them is key to managing the expectations of others and gaining their trust. If this happens, you can both discuss solutions on how to avoid the same situation.
5. LISTEN TO FEEDBACK
In order to become a better leader, you need to know what areas to improve on. Be sure to schedule one-on-one sessions with employees so that you can listen to their feedback. If your company still practices yearly evaluations, consider changing it to a quarterly basis. 15Five CEO David Hassell feels that annual performance reviews are out-dated, and that modern companies need a more frequent process to support employee development and growth. Aside from quarterly interviews, you can also take advantage of online channels like Slack to communicate properly with your employees.
6. DEVELOP YOUR CRITICAL THINKING
Critical thinking is essential in high profile jobs. Maryville University underlines the importance of critical thinking in organizational leadership, alongside other crucial skills like conflict management, ethical decision-making, and good communication. Leaders need to be able to anticipate potential problems and come up with solutions to either prevent or control them. This particular skill can be developed through both training and immersion. Fortunately, the digital era has provided convenient options for professionals to hone their skills in different ways. Online courses, for instance, pave the way for leaders to get formal training and gain certifications in critical thinking and its role in leadership. You can also look towards case studies to learn from other people’s experiences, or read up on the latest news in management science and psychology. In truth, the Internet is full of opportunities for you to improve your leadership qualities, so find time to browse through them.
Acting on these six tips will result in improving your performance as a leader, so make sure to keep them in mind and keep growing.
Written by: Michaela Diaz