Many people define the term “leader” differently, but there are several core leadership skills that define a great leader. For example, as a successful leader, there is often a need for transparency. You should also be able to listen without distractions and create an appropriate workplace culture for your team. Even if you are already a good leader, there’s always room for more growth. Whichever areas you’re lacking in, you can focus on improving. Below, we discuss five key areas you should look to focus on to improve your leadership skills.
Your team looks up to you for direction and inspiration. Whenever they feel lost, the group naturally expects you to show the way. You can only do this if you’re the kind of person that takes initiative. Learn not to be complacent. You should aim to step out of your comfort zone regularly, as this will help your team trust you.
Remember that taking on more responsibilities also gives you more opportunities to learn. Every project you take on is a chance to boost your knowledge. A leader should be skilled in a variety of areas to be able to share knowledge with their team.
The best leaders can foresee potential issues before they occur by analyzing current conditions. They can also find ways to prevent some of the problems before they emerge. As a leader, you should be the person who identifies opportunities and maximizes these opportunities to benefit the organization.
Luckily there are several approaches you can use to improve your critical thinking skills. These include challenging common assumptions, finding different perspectives, and keeping an open mind. You should encourage your team to discuss and debate any issues that arise to help them grow.
As a leader, you’ll be communicating regularly with multiple employees from every corner of the organization. Often you’ll also be presenting business strategies and various reports to your team and the higher-ups, including CEOs and investors. To get the right feedback in any of these circumstances, you must be a good listener.
Using open-ended questions, listening without interrupting the speaker, and adapting your listening to the other person’s point of view (with factors such as culture and background in mind) is a good start.
Every team in an organization experiences conflict at some point. Indeed, due to the wide range of differences among people, the lack of conflict may signal the absence of effective interaction. The best leaders view conflict as an opportunity to address underlying issues and build stronger relationships between people and groups.
You should aim to be honest and straightforward. It takes a lot of courage, but it’s the first step to dispute resolution. Additionally, learn to listen actively and be impartial in your judgment.
An often overlooked area of leadership is delegation. This is a crucial leadership skill that many new leaders lack. However, the best leaders don’t attempt to do everything on their own. You must understand that letting someone with better knowledge do the job guarantees better results for the organization. You should also appreciate that a new set of hands and pair of eyes can help your team do the job faster and better.
So how do you delegate? Theodore Roosevelt made it simple. “The best leaders are those who have enough sense to pick the right people to do what they want to be done, and the self-restraint to avoid meddling with them while they do it.”
There are many other skills imperative to being a successful leader, including discipline, motivation, and team empowerment. The bottom line is that the best leaders are constantly looking to improve their leadership skills. Like we said in the beginning, there’s always room to grow.
Looking for help? Tired and believing there has got to be a better way?
Let's talk about your business. With over a decade of experience leading companies and transforming lives, and a Master's degree in Org. Development and Leadership, Mike can help you find the best way forward!