As a leader, you have an invaluable role of providing strategic direction and motivating your team to achieve certain goals and objectives. And what motivates your team today might be different tomorrow—like, say, during a global pandemic. And so, the only way to navigate and adapt to the changing tides is to commit to continually improving your leadership skills. With that in mind, here are five ways you can begin to improve your leadership skills today.
1. Get a mentor
A mentor is ideally an individual who has gone before you in leadership roles and gained tremendous experience and knowledge in the area. For this reason, they can be in a position to provide guidance, support, advice, and clarity on different areas of leadership. Additionally, a mentor can be candid about your strengths and weaknesses, while helping you increase your self-awareness, mental clarity, and communication skills, among other important leadership skills and qualities. Mentors also help their mentees develop a wider network as well as broaden their perspective.
2. Take outside courses
While most people believe that leaders are born, the truth is anyone can develop leadership skills through formal learning. You can even find very short courses that focus on different leadership skills. Such courses can help you increase your awareness on different aspects and equip you with the required knowledge to perform better. Such courses include leadership and management courses, HR management courses, PMP certification training, and soft skill trainings that focus on communication and interpersonal skills. The good thing is you can take these courses online and learn at your own pace.
3. Focus on personal development
One of the best ways to develop as a leader is to aim to be a better version of yourself at any given time. This is because self-improvement allows you to refocus your life to drive positive changes in all areas. Ultimately, personal development makes you happier, stronger, healthier, and more confident about the decisions you make. You can focus on different areas for your self-development plan such as developing an open mind and a positive attitude, as well as learning to accept responsibility and failures. Additionally, learn to acknowledge your weaknesses so that you can find ways to improve on them.
4. Expand your industry knowledge
Often, you’ll be faced with situations that call for your knowledge in the industry to decide on the best way forward. Moreover, as a leader, all eyes are on you to provide much-needed guidance. That is why developing your industry knowledge is crucial in making you a better leader. There are several ways that you can learn about your industry and stay on top of what’s happening. Networking through meet-ups, social media communities, and professional groups is very effective in this regard. Additionally, you can subscribe to industry news such as magazines, newsletters, and blogs, as well as listen to podcasts and watch webinars relevant to your industry.
5. Find learning opportunities every day
Interestingly, you use most skills needed for effective leadership in your daily interactions. Whether you’re brainstorming on a project or ordering a meal at your favorite restaurant, you’re practicing your public speaking, listening, and other communication skills. The only difference is that you’re doing it unconsciously and without much thinking. However, when you’re aware of when and how you’re using such skills, you'll proactively develop them every single day. It will go a long way if you can ask for feedback from people you interact with often, such as your team members and managers. This way, you learn about your weaknesses and devise ways to work on them.
Leah Collins is an experienced security engineer and part-time writer. She is young and ambitious, and hopes to share her knowledge and experience with anyone willing to learn something new.
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