April 25, 2023

How To Improve Your Leadership Skills

Running a business is no easy feat. From marketing your product to managing your staff, you constantly have to juggle multiple responsibilities. There are also competitors that you need to keep an eye on. To thrive, you should have the right mindset and skills — especially in leadership. 

Less than 50% of employees think that their company has good leadership. It’s up to you to step up and be the leader that will help them reach their full potential and take your company to greater heights. Read on to learn 11 ways to improve leadership skills.

1. Don’t Stop Learning

Some people think that they already know everything once they reach the top. However, the truth is that the smarter you feel, the less knowledgeable you are. Great leaders value continuous learning. They don’t let ego stop them from discovering better ways to manage their business and workers. 

To become great yourself, you must never stop learning. Study the habits and qualities of other great leaders and apply them to your daily business operations. Moreover, constantly challenge yourself by learning new trends and practices. Leadership is something you earn every day, so you should strive to learn every day too.

2. Inspire and Motivate Others

Over 80% of employees in the U.S. suffer from work-induced stress. While there are several factors that contribute to this problem, one way to mitigate its impact is through proper motivation. As a business owner and leader, your staff looks up to you for guidance and inspiration.

Build a positive work environment by getting to know your employees more and considering their needs. Offer incentives and rewards for well-executed outputs, and host events where they can unwind and have a temporary reprieve from the hassles of work. Moreover, motivate your workers by showing that you believe in them. You can even give an inspirational speech to boost employee morale.

3. Find Opportunities in Failure

Even the best fall down sometimes, and that’s okay. In fact, failures can help you grow more as a person than success. When you fail, you’ll develop a resistance against the pains of life and discover the areas that need further improvement. If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to embrace failures and find opportunities in them. 

The first thing you must do is admit that you failed. Do not deny it or blame it on others. Be accountable. Then, reflect on what caused you to fail, and learn from it. Use it as an opportunity to improve your business and be a better leader to your workers. Lastly, move on, and welcome the next day with a positive outlook. 

4. Learn To Listen

Being the boss doesn’t mean that you’re always right. There are times when your subordinates offer a better idea or solution. Great leaders welcome different opinions and feedback, even if they personally do not agree with them. 

Furthermore, listening is not only limited to verbal communication. You also have to look at people’s facial expressions and body language. Around 90% of human interactions are done through nonverbal means. Sometimes, these nonverbal cues even carry more meaning than spoken words. To become an open-minded and empathetic leader, you must learn to listen to both words and actions.

5. Know When To Follow

There’s truth to the saying that “a good leader is a good follower.” In a corporate setting, you place people in different departments according to their skills and expertise. There’s a good chance that these people are better equipped to take charge of a matter involving their particular department.

If you want to improve your leadership skills, you have to give your subordinates the torch when the situation demands. It’s alright to supervise them, but have confidence in their abilities. Follow their lead once in a while. Let your followers take charge, so they can grow as leaders like yourself. 

6. Delegate Tasks

You’re aspiring to be a great leader — not Superman. There’s only so much that a single person could do, no matter how hardworking or driven you are. That’s why delegation is an important aspect of effective leadership. 

Delegation is a skill. You should know when and to whom you should delegate certain duties. This requires you to know the individual strengths and weaknesses of your employees. Proper delegation will not only allow you to focus on more important aspects of the business; it will also make your employees feel more involved, increasing their desire to work and be productive.

7. Show Discipline

To be a better leader, you must be a role model to your subordinates. This means you have to show discipline and practise what you preach. Come to work on time, present yourself professionally, respect the people around you, and follow company policies, even if you’re the owner. 

It’s alright to fool and joke around sometimes as this can help lighten the mood at the office. However, a good leader knows how to strike a balance. If employees see that their boss is constantly carefree, rude, and disorganised, they’re less likely to feel motivated and may even adopt the bad habits themselves. Show discipline to set a positive example for your people.

8. Be Decisive

As a company owner, you make the most important decisions. Will you commit to a client’s exorbitant request? Will you take a bigger loan to expand your business? Do you need to downsize and close some of your branches? Major business decisions are hard to make, especially if it will impact other people. However, to be an exemplary leader, you need to be decisive.

This entails more than acting quickly. You have to thoroughly weigh your options, conduct due diligence, and if needed, seek expert advice before making a decision. Doing these will decrease the chance of you dilly-dallying and going back on your word. The more firm you are in making decisions, the more confidence you would exude in the eyes of your subordinates.

9. Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Improved communication in the workplace can increase productivity by up to 25%. Effective communication is vital in fostering healthy company relationships and resolving work-related disputes. To lead your employees properly, you must communicate with them effectively.

This means you have to keep communication channels open. Be approachable and encourage feedback when conversing with your employees. Moreover, be firm yet fair. Reprimand them if the situation calls for it, but provide a clear explanation too. 

You should likewise communicate well with your clients and partners. Be courteous and respectful. Ask for clarifications if some of their requests are confusing or ambiguous. More importantly, take their criticisms as constructive feedback. Avoid using vulgar and profane words, even during difficult discussions. 

10. Pay Attention To Your Environment

Effective leaders are attentive to their surroundings. To be one yourself, you must learn to read the room and respond accordingly. You have to feel the general ambiance in the meetings and gatherings you attend. You likewise have to detect changes in people’s moods and dispositions. You can do this by honing your observation skills and being more empathetic. 

Moreover, you have to be aware of the changes in the business landscape. Pay attention to shifting market preferences, emerging technologies, and popular trends. Having up-to-date knowledge will give you the foresight needed to stay competitive. It will also help you guide your employees to make wise and informed decisions.

11. Practice Conflict Resolution

Around 85% of employees experience workplace conflict, with almost 30% of them being involved in constant disputes. One of the best qualities of great leaders is their ability to resolve these issues. Conflict resolution will require you to use multiple abilities mentioned in this list.

First, you have to be attentive to detect the tension in the atmosphere. Then, you need to listen to the parties involved. Let each side voice out their feelings and concerns. Show effective communication by being impartial and providing fair judgement. Reprimand the party at fault, and if possible, reconcile the conflicting parties. Finally, use motivational or inspirational words to lighten the mood and put the issue to rest.

Once you successfully resolve a conflict, you know you’re on the right path toward becoming an awesome leader.

_________
Luigi Prestinenzi
Co-Founder at Growth Forum

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