Exercising leadership is a skill, not necessarily something an individual is born knowing how to do. As such, you can learn to be a leader and develop your leadership skills as with any other skill. While some individuals may find it easier to demonstrate leadership, everyone should be able to improve at it with practice. The following tips are designed to help you develop the leadership skill everybody needs and thus, your ability to lead over time.
Leading is as much about teaching as it is about commanding or inspiring. To teach you have to learn, which is why the best leaders embrace learning as a means of acquiring information which, in addition to helping them improve their knowledge base, can also be imparted to others. Learning also helps you gain knowledge that can help you overcome challenges, which is another trait that helps you exercise good leadership.
When it comes to choosing things to learn to help improve your leadership skills, focus on both narrowly focused information that applies to your specific job or profession, as well as general knowledge that can help you become more well-rounded as a person and a leader. Some general subjects to consider learning about include:
- Techniques for inspiring others
- How to successfully delegate authority
- Management techniques such as lean manufacturing and agile development
- Team building techniques
- Decision-making techniques
Aim to Inspire
As a leader, you are only as good as your team. To help team members perform at the highest level, a leader should be able to inspire, as well as to instruct. Developing this ability takes time, but it can offer a substantial payoff in terms of increased employee productivity. There are a variety of approaches you can take to boost your ability to inspire your team members and employees, including:
- Offering encouragement when employees encounter difficulties
- Pitching in and lending a hand yourself to help team members perform their tasks
- Providing guidance when needed
- Providing a sympathetic ear when a team member needs to vent
If you keep these tips in mind and act on them when appropriate, over time you should find yourself better able to inspire your team members. The ability to motivate team members as well as to simply instruct them enables a leader to get the most out of their team, even during challenging conditions.
Take on New Challenges
To improve your leadership ability consider taking on greater responsibility. Overcoming challenges is a big part of the leadership skills everybody needs, and it’s not something you can learn just by reading about. To get better at this facet of leadership, request to take on projects that will challenge you to increase your skillset. If these aren’t being assigned to you, request that they be. By taking on more responsibility, you both improve your chances of advancing at your company and improve your leadership abilities. Taking on new challenges is a great way to get noticed by upper management.
When considering the type of tasks you’d like to request responsibility for, look for challenges that offer you the opportunity to expand your area of expertise. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone if you see the chance to expand your core competencies. This type of initiative is also likely to attract the attention of upper management, which can lead to further responsibility and potential advancement at your place of employment as well as opening the door to taking on still further challenges.
Business success requires a team effort. To empower team members to perform at their best, providing them with the freedom necessary to do their job is essential. You can give them this by delegating the necessary authority to them. This is also important because no individual can master every skill. Delegation helps to ensure that the individuals with the requisite skills are in charge of performing the tasks they are most suited to carry out.
Empowering employees involves more than simply apportioning responsibility for different tasks. It also encompasses motivating team members to feel a sense of ownership in regards to the tasks they have been assigned. To accomplish this, in addition to a degree of operating authority, make sure team members have a stake in the success of the projects they work on.
To improve your ability to empower team members, take time to study each member’s skillset and how it can best be used in the context of your company’s business as a whole or a particular project. Assigning the right employees to the right tasks is an important component of leadership; understanding how each team member can best contribute is a crucial part of making good decisions in this regard.
To empower team members sometimes it is necessary to let yourself be led by them. If you value their expertise, then it only makes sense to let them take the lead in cases where that expertise is relevant. Learning this skill is a key part of leadership: getting the most out of your team sometimes requires you to take a step back as a leader and allow others to take over. This is a great project management skill to possess.
A good leader must be a manager as well as a source of inspiration. To effectively manage people, it is necessary to listen to them attentively. If you find yourself constantly talking to your team members but rarely listening, this is likely a sign that you need to improve your listening skills.
Listening actively is a skill just like speaking publicly. To improve at it, you can try a variety of techniques. One is to take notes when your team members are presenting you with information, both to make sure you capture the relevant information from the conversation and to show that you value their input.
Another technique to improve your listening skills is to make a point of actively questioning your team members. This can help elicit important information while also showing your team members that you are taking a close interest in their activities. Demonstrating your attention to detail is helpful from a leadership standpoint, as it helps ensure that your team members are focused on performing their tasks as diligently as possible.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps you lead your team more efficiently. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…