Article Summary

Although some people are natural leaders, this doesn’t mean that such skills can’t be developed with practice. If your goal is to take your career into a leadership role, you have to be willing to put in some work and effort.

8 Ways To Improve Your Leadership Skills

Although some people are natural leaders, this doesn’t mean that such skills can’t be developed with practice. If your goal is to take your career into a leadership role, you have to be willing to put in some work and effort.

In this article we share 8 tips for improving leadership skills and advancing a career.


1 - Recognize your strengths

When evaluating your leadership skills it is important to be aware of your weaknesses. However, it is even more important to recognize your strengths, so that you can use them to your advantage. Making time to reflect on these will provide you with an opportunity to work on things that need improvement, but will also provide you with insights on what you can activate more fully right away.


2 - Make a plan


Once you have a clearer idea of your leadership strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to take action by designing a game plan that aligns with your behavioral style. For  example, if you've identified “time management” as a weakness, take action by organizing your week in a way that allows for sufficient time to complete your tasks and have some free time built in to deal with unexpected demands or emergencies.


3 - Practice discipline

Leadership requires discipline. Working to develop discipline in your professional (and personal) life is foundational for becoming an effective leader. Because you model “discipline” throughout your day and reap its benefits at work, people will come to believe in your leadership abilities. You may even have a positive effect on others, by inspiring them to become more disciplined as well.


4 - Seek input from others.


Be willing to listen and respect other people’s perspectives and contributions. A good leader takes time to listen “actively” in order to hear the value that others bring to the team. They use this collective wisdom to then make appropriate decisions, choices, or changes, as well as to inspire trust within the group.


5 - Study and emulate leaders that you admire

Impactful leaders can be a great source of inspiration. The leader you decide to learn more about doesn’t necessarily have to be a leader related to the field you are in. It can be anyone who has left a good impression on you regarding their leadership skills. It also doesn't necessarily have to be someone who is well-known. It can be a parent, friend, professor, coworker, or just about anyone. The important thing is to identify which leadership behaviors you admire, and then try to integrate them into your work routine.


6 - Take on more responsibilities


A great way to further develop your leadership skills is to ask for and take on new responsibilities. Don’t take on more than you can handle, but ask to do more than what is outlined in your job description. Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to new experiences and developing new skills. It also happens to be a great way of showing initiative to your superiors.


7 - Learn to follow

A good leader has no problem handing control over to another person, when appropriate. When someone: disagrees with you; questions your opinions; or provides some great ideas - try not to feel threatened. It won't always be easy, but keeping an open mind and giving merit when merit is due is important. Great leaders know when to take a step back and offer praise and gratitude to/for colleagues on the team.


8 - Communication is key


Having good communication skills is essential for success. Bad communications skills are a barrier that interferes with effective leadership, particularly when trying to inspire others to share your vision and follow you.

Becoming a great leader takes time, effort, and persistence, but with determination, discipline and a willingness to push yourself beyond your usual level of ability, you can improve over time and rise through the ranks of your organization.

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