Anytime the phrase ‘Leadership skills‘ is uttered, what immediately comes to the mind of most people is the qualities needed to succeed at the head of an organization. This is so wrong.
Whether we like it or not, no matter our position in life, we would be called upon to lead a group. Sometimes, it could be your family, your friends or even peers in an informal affair.
The fact is, leadership can be thrust upon you at any time or anywhere.
What makes one person an effective leader at whatever level, is the possession of these leadership skills. Some people are born with them. Most of us though, are not born without these leadership skills.
So for people without natural leadership skills, the next best option is to acquire or develop them. And that is even better because you are working hard at getting something for a purpose. The skills would be put to good use once you get them.
So if you are a leader or an aspiring leader, below are tips on how to make you a better leader.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses and how to use them
Nobody in this world is born without a strong point. And nobody is born without a weakness.
The ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses is the first step of developing your leadership skills. By identifying your weaknesses, you can now work to improve on them.
On the other hand, if you know your strengths, you can accentuate them effectively for the benefit of your team. In many cases, knowing how to emphasize your strengths would even overshadow your weaknesses.
2. Communicate your vision and goals
As a leader, you must be able to sell your vision to your team. With good communication of your vision and goals, teams members would be assured of the direction you are leading them.
It is wrong to keep your plans close to your chest. Revealing what you intend to do indicates you value the opinion of your team.
Because they contributed to the adopted plan, their interest in the success of the team is even as entrenched as yours, the team leader. Failure or success becomes a very personal thing to them.
3. Let your passion not be in doubt
How much passion you can show as a leader is one of the most important leadership skills.
There is a direct relationship between passion, motivation, and inspiration. When your team members see how passionate you are about the work at hand, they get motivated and inspired to do more.
So always endeavor to mask any feelings of despair (whether personal or work-related) as a leader. The person that stands in front of the group or team must show a desire to move mountains before others can join in.
4. Set milestones and plans on how to achieve them
People hate going at a task not knowing whether the end is in sight or how far they have gone in completing the task.
To be an effective leader, you must learn to break down a task into small milestones. These are the necessary steps that must be scaled to get to the end.
With the milestones in place, you can then outline a plan of action how to resolve each stage of the work.
The good thing about this is, the team would find it easy to determine how far they have gone, what is left and how long it would take to complete the task.
Now they are in the right frame, both mentally and physiologically, to tackle each step.
5. Set good examples always
Bad leaders always tend to set themselves apart from their team. They thrive on giving orders or having the best of everything.
To be a good leader, you must cultivate the habit of leading by example,
- Don’t be afraid to do the dirty work.
- Don’t be the first to stop working.
- Don’t allocate the best seat in the room to yourself.
Simply be a model team member. See your position as a privilege and work your fingers to the bone to prove you deserved it.
All the perks of a leader would come naturally to you from your team if you do all these.
6. Accept criticisms, failures and learn from them
Most people in leadership positions are quick to shout it out loud that the buck stops at their desk. Most of them would be the first to pass the buck when things go terribly wrong.
A very important leadership skill is the ability to accept blame if anything goes wrong. You must learn to shield your team from blame especially from outside.
At the same time, you must leave yourself open to criticisms. You would learn a lot from that. The lessons learned would make you a better leader.
7. Never stop educating yourself
As a leader, you should be seen as the best in the pack. Therefore, one of your jobs is never to spurn an opportunity to educate yourself.
Educating yourself is one way of ensuring you get the respect you deserve from people as a leader.
Educating doesn’t mean going back to school. Though that could be one way to do it. But the best ways to do it is the read books and attend seminars or workshops related to your job.
Leadership seminars or conferences are also good opportunities to make yourself a better leader.
If you have other tips on improving leadership skills, we would love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.