Even if you’re not in a management role, improving your leadership skills is important for your career development. Becoming an effective leader is vital if you want to be noticed for a promotion or when presenting your competencies in a job interview.
Image source: UNC KenanFlaglerIf you do currently have authority and manage a team in your role it is always good to constantly try and better yourself to benefit you and your teams’ development. Take a look at the 6 ways to improve your leadership skills at work:
1. Develop your Communication Skills
Being a leader means being a clear and articulate communicator. It is important that your team is aware of your vision, goals and expectations otherwise ambiguity can cause internal conflict. There needs to be a mutual sense of trust and understanding between both sides to work cohesively. Communication isn’t just about the way you speak but also the way you listen to your team. It is important you allow them to feel their ideas, opinions and concerns have been heard and considered without jumping to conclusions or assumptions. Using clarifying questions can help you and your team to all be on the same page.
2. Divide & Delegate
You may be a control freak, a lot of leaders are, but learning to delegate is one of the best ways to improve your leadership skills. Train your team, utilise their strengths and trust them to complete the tasks to a high standard. Your team will want to feel empowered and impress you so you need to give them opportunities to prove themselves.
3. Ask for Feedback
Receiving feedback from your team can be difficult. Some points may be hard to hear but taking your employees’ points of view into consideration will definitely help you hone in on your opportunities for improvement.
4. Always be Learning
If you continuously want to improve your leadership style then ask your manager to go on quarterly or annual training courses to add to your skillset. Focus on the traits and approaches of some of the great leaders in history and shape them into your own style. Also, reading leadership books, attending seminars or asking to shadow a mentor are all good ways to keep improving.
5. Address Problems
There’s nothing worse than a festering problem in the workplace. It’s the pink elephant in the room that everyone is tip toeing around. Don’t. Nip issues in the bud sooner rather than later. A problem dealt with whilst it’s still fresh is easier to resolve before it turns into a big issue or becomes a bad habit. Being a leader requires you to have those awkward conversations and address any problems or unnecessary behaviour. Keep it constructive, it’s not personal. Allow your employees to give an explanation so they feel their side has been heard and they’ve been respected.
6. Inspire & Motivate
It’s a natural process of working that sometimes teams can become disheartened and disgruntled if they are dealing with difficult tasks or feel their work isn’t being recognised. It is the leader’s role to ensure they stay inspired and motivated. Threats and negative language won’t result in constructive behaviour. True leaders should be a positive influence on their team by encouraging them and making them feel valued. Your team will work harder for you if they feel in the loop, have targets to reach and feel rewarded when they hit them.
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