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When you hear the word “leader”, what are the first thoughts that pop in your mind? You’re likely to picture a responsible individual that is skilled and knowledgeable in various important business areas. You’re likely to see a person who stands out from the crowd, doing it better than the rest. Most importantly, you’re likely to see an individual who is capable of inspiring, leading, and nurturing the employees who require such things.
Can leadership be developed by anyone? Obviously, yes. “Born leadership” is a myth and a cliché. Every single leader who made it big has worked hard behind the scenes, sweating and failing consistently until they’ve become masters.
Can you develop leadership skills? Of course. Regardless of your professional occupation and interests, you can start improving yourself as a professional, develop the right skills, and focus on objectives that’ll turn you into a better leader.
In today’s post, I’m sharing several tips and tricks on how to improve your leadership skills and take your business or career to the next level. Pay attention and make sure you take real action!
1. Develop Above-Average Listening Skills
When I ask you to listen, are you actually listening? To truly listen means to eliminate every possible internal chatter, maintaining a state of internal silence while fully focusing on the person who is talking. You can listen to somebody’s words, body language, and tone of voice. When you give your full attention to your interlocutor, then it means you are listening.
From now on, every time you talk to someone, mother, father, employee, husband, try to really listen. This way, you can truly understand the messages that people try to communicate, and you’ll be able to think of the best solutions to their needs and problems.
2. Become Aware of Your Strengths and Weaknesses
A self-aware individual will always understand how to work with himself and his team. Self-awareness is the quality of acknowledging the delicate aspects of your personality, behavior, and mindset.
For example, some people aren’t aware that they’re talking too loudly, so they lack self-awareness. Other individuals, when asked the question “What are you good at?” often find difficulties in answering. To be a great leader, you need to build awareness – awareness of yourself and of others.
When you’re self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to manipulate them according to your own will, using a strategy that will help at putting your traits into implementation while avoiding the weaknesses.
3. Learn How to Motivate and Inspire Others
One of the key traits that separate average employers from true leaders is the ability to motivate and inspire people and coworkers. There are many situations that need your urgent attention, such as when your team becomes demotivated and loses faith in a project or objective. It’s your job to step in, make some light, offer good solutions, and lead the way to implementation.
Having one-on-one discussions is also a great strategy for building a better employee engagement or a better rapport with your team members. When you give your full attention to a co-worker or employee, you make him feel special, appreciated, and valued.
Mark Fax, CEO at a new UK accounting help online company, shows a great insight:
“When the leader comes to you and speaks to you kindly, offering useful feedback and precious advice, you tend to start liking him. When you like the one in charge, you never want to disappoint him, so you’ll do your best to keep your performance as high as possible. If you want to be an effective leader, that’s exactly how your coworkers or employees should perceive you.”
4. Develop Delegation Skills
A resourceful leader needs to know how to effectively manage his resources. That means he should master the art of delegation, which basically represents the fine art of using whatever you have at your disposal to breakthrough a challenge, solve a problem, or make progress on your goals.
To delegate means to assign tasks that aren’t suited for you because they’re either time-consuming, tedious, too simple, or they can be done quicker and better by other team members.
As a leader, you should always identify which tasks suit which employees or team members best. Having a good understanding of your team members’ mindset, desires, and behavior will allow you to make them happy while providing enough growth opportunities to the entire team.
5. Study and Analyze Successful Leaders
When we study something, we pick up the knowledge that other people left for us and we put it in our unique filter. We process this information differently than everyone else, and we can add new spins to whatever ideas and notions we trust to help us improve.
Most students are used to follow instead of studying what other people say. You should do the opposite. Studying means taking that information, processing it, and “storing it” somewhere safe where you can grab it later. It doesn’t mean believing it, because that’s what following means.
Study successful leaders and pay attention to their words, actions, and ideologies. You can find plenty of biographies and autobiographies that’ll give you just enough clues to become a better leader. Keep analyzing, learning, and applying everything you can and never stop the growth process. You can always become a better leader, you can always make better decisions, and you can always lead as nobody else did!
6. Make Feedback Your Best Friend
Leadership skills, just like any other skills will require consistent practice. That, of course, if you want to be a great leader instead of an average one. Every successful person regardless of his niche and occupation has understood the value of feedback. For them, failure is feedback, and feedback is gold.
When you fail, it means that you have taken the wrong actions, chosen the wrong strategy, or made the wrong decisions. Some people get knocked down by their failures while others thrive off them. Every time you receive a feedback from someone (directly or indirectly) don’t take it personally. Asses it objectively and find ways to do better next time.
7. Take Initiative
Most individuals become employees because they lack the initiative to do something on their own, to start a movement, a business, or something on their own without having anyone to tell them what to do next.
As a leader, you’ll often need to take initiative and bring the first solutions, make the first moves, or show how it’s done.
Therefore, you should practice the act of taking initiative on a daily basis, even when you’re not at work. Be the first to help, be the first who wakes up and prepares the breakfast, be the one who works the most, and give your 100% in every initiative you decide to take.
8. Read a Lot of Books
Reading relevant books and taking careful notes is an important habit that you should immediately adopt. Books help you see the world differently, they bring knowledge, skills, tips, tricks, ideas…basically, everything that a great leader would need.
I’d suggest you pick up books on leadership, business, sales, marketing, psychology, emotional intelligence, project management, and basically any other broader topic that will make you a better leader.
Take notes and capture all the important ideas from each of your reads. Sometimes, a book can contain only a few sentences that are truly useful to you, and still, these sentences will count a lot in various future experiences.
Most importantly, don’t just read and note down. Revise your notes constantly and put everything into implementation step-by-step. Don’t overwhelm yourself by picking 10 habits at once. Take one or two, master them, and then move on to next. It works the same with the development of skills.
9. Lead by Example
You can’t pretend to be a good leader if you’re not. Nobody likes a preacher, so be prepared to prove your expertise whenever required. If you ask your team to stay committed and disciplined, you better do the same.
As a leader, you are responsible for every possible aspect of your team or business. Therefore, the people who work for you or the people who are in your command will never care about the organization’s purpose more than you do. Obviously, if you take initiative and show your teammates how to think, behave, and act, both your collective performance and personal growth will totally skyrocket.
Not everyone can be a great leader, that’s for sure. Nowadays, only a select few individuals are able to genuinely control their thoughts, emotions, and actions. Attaining most of the presented skills takes a lot of dedication, perseverance, and hard work.
Objectively assess your current skills and traits, look for flaws, and continue studying yourself. At the same time, strategize your way to personal improvement and put our tips into implementation. Be consistent and keep your standards high. Give your best every day and you will become a powerful leader!