Five ways to improve your leadership skills
Professional development is a constant, ongoing process, not something that stops when you move into a senior role.
If you have ambitions to develop from simply a good manager into an outstanding leader, you should always be looking at ways to improve your skill set. Here are five things you can do to ensure your leadership capabilities are always evolving.
Use training to strengthen and diversify your skill set
Training is an invaluable resource for professionals at all stages of their careers, even those who already have substantial experience.
Leaders should always be on the lookout for training courses and opportunities that will make them better at their job, whether they are reinforcing skills they have already acquired or learning something entirely new.
Showing a willingness to expand your knowledge and better yourself will set a positive example for your workforce, helping to create a culture in which constant progress and innovation are seen as essential.
Be a good listener
Sometimes, the key to being a good leader is not making decisions on your own and telling people what to do, but simply listening to the feedback of your colleagues and team members.
If an individual feels that their manager has listened to their thoughts and taken them onboard, they are much more likely to feel like a valuable member of the team and consequently engaged in their work.
Making time to listen to what your co-workers and staff have to say will help to foster a communicative, collaborative workplace, which will benefit the business as a whole.
Balance assertiveness with adaptability
Assertiveness is a crucial skill in any leader, as the responsibility of taking charge and making critical decisions at pressured times will often rest on their shoulders.
However, just as important is knowing when to hold off, take stock of a situation and be open to the possibility of doing things differently. Adaptability is a good attribute to incorporate into the culture of an organisation, as it will ensure that the business stays agile and ready to respond to new challenges.
Striking the right balance between these two approaches is one of the keys to being a good leader.
As a leader, you spend so much time thinking about how your company and the people within it are functioning that it can be easy to forget about your own performance.
Objective self-analysis is an important skill in management, but a difficult one to master; it requires you to assess how you are performing in a detached, impartial way.
It could help to speak to fellow business leaders and managers, or to do some online research and questionnaires to gain a better idea of your own leadership style. Once you have done this, you can develop a clearer picture of your strengths and areas where you could improve.
Embrace change and creativity
You can’t hope to evolve and improve as a leader unless you are open to change, both in terms of your own way of working and the operation of your organisation as a whole.
Even if your company is already performing well, it is always beneficial to adopt an analytical attitude and consider changes that could make it even better.
One of the best ways to facilitate change is by encouraging creativity within your workforce. Make it clear that every constructive suggestion – no matter how quirky or unusual – is welcome, and the next proposal could be the one that helps the business progress to the next level.