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What Great Leaders Do Different: 8 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills

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What Great Leaders Do Different: 8 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills
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What Great Leaders Do Different: 8 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to assume that you want to be a better leader.

Which is already a sign that you’re on the right track – most people never even bother to think about their leadership skills, let alone try to improve them.

But just because you’re aware of the need to improve your leadership skills doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. Far from it, in fact. Leadership is one of those rare skills that is both immensely important and notoriously difficult to master.

There are entire libraries full of books on leadership, and still, the vast majority of people who try to become leaders fail.

So what separates the successful leaders from the unsuccessful ones? What do great leaders do differently? By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know the answer to that question.

You’ll also know 8 specific things that you can do to improve your own leadership skills. Let’s dive in.

Qualities of a Good Leader

The Top 3 Non-negotiable qualities of a Good Leader…

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to improve your leadership skills, let’s first take a step back and ask ourselves what makes a good leader? While there are many different qualities that make a good leader, some of the most important ones include:

  • The ability to inspire: A good leader needs to be able to inspire their team to do great things. They need to be able to paint a picture of what success looks like and motivate their team to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
  • The ability to make tough decisions: Leaders are often faced with difficult decisions that they have to make. They need to be able to weigh all the options and make the best decision for their team, even if it’s not the popular decision.
  • The ability to handle challenges: Leaders will always face challenges, both from within their team and from outside forces. They need to be able to stay calm under pressure and find solutions that work for everyone involved.

Now that we know what makes a good leader, let’s talk about how you can become one.

Tips on how to improve your leadership skills

8 tips on how to improve your leadership skills.

Now that we know what it takes to be a good leader, let’s talk about how you can improve your skills.

1. Get rid of the ‘I’ in team

Nothing like a solid cliche to start things off. But in all seriousness, this makes the top of our list for a reason. So many leaders make the mistake of thinking that it’s all about them.

They take all the credit when things go right and point the finger when things go wrong. But that’s not what being a leader is all about.

A good leader knows that it’s not about them, it’s about the team. They know that the success of the team is more important than their own ego.

If you want to be a successful leader, you need to get rid of the ‘I’ in team. What does that mean? It means that you need to start thinking about what’s best for your team, not just what’s best for you.

What are the signs that you’re thinking about yourself instead of your team?

  • You’re always taking credit for the team’s success.
  • You’re quick to point the finger when things go wrong.
  • You’re not open to feedback or criticism.
  • You always need to be right.
  • You’re more concerned with your own agenda than the team’s goals.

Now it’s extremely important to be honest with yourself. If you can’t think of any examples where you exhibited these qualities, then congratulations! You’re probably already doing a great job of putting your team first.

The key is to put a human face to the people who will be affected by your decisions. And how do you do that? That takes us to our next point.

Listen to understand, not just to reply

2. Listen to understand, not just to reply

This is a big one, especially for leaders who are quick to give orders without really listening to what their team has to say. A good leader knows that the best way to make decisions is to listen to their team and get all the information before making a decision.

You might be thinking, “Of course I listen to my team! What kind of leader would I be if I didn’t?” But the key here is to listen to understand, not just to reply.

What’s the difference? When you’re listening to understand, you’re trying to see things from their perspective. You’re taking the time to really understand where they’re coming from and why they feel that way.

On the other hand, when you’re just listening to a reply, you’re not really trying to understand their point of view. You’re just waiting for your turn to speak.

The key is to truly listen to what your team is saying and try to see things from their perspective. Only then will you be able to make the best decisions for everyone involved.

Communicate

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

This one might seem obvious, but it’s so important that we had to put it on the list. A good leader knows that communication is key to keeping everyone on the same page.

When you’re communicating with your team, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be clear and concise
  • Make sure everyone understands
  • Don’t leave anything up to interpretation
  • Be consistent

It’s also important to remember that communication is a two-way street. That means that you need to be open to hearing what your team has to say. You can’t just dictate orders and expect them to be followed without question.

Your team should feel like they can come to you with concerns or suggestions. If they don’t feel like their voices are being heard, they’re going to start to disengage from the team.

The best way to foster an environment of open communication is to lead by example. If you’re not afraid to share your own thoughts and ideas, your team will be more likely to do the same.

There are limits to how much you should share, of course. You don’t want to overshare and become a liability to the team. But as long as you’re sharing relevant information in a way that everyone can understand, you’re on the right track.

Learn to quickly make decisions

4. Learn to quickly make decisions

This is another important quality of a good leader. When you’re in charge, you can’t afford to second-guess yourself. You need to be able to make quick decisions and trust that they’re the right ones.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never second-guess yourself. It’s important to reflect on your decisions and see if there’s anything you could have done better.

But dwelling on your decisions is a different story. If you find yourself constantly second-guessing your choices, it might be time to take a step back and reassess.

A good leader knows when to trust their gut and when to reflect on their choices. If you can find a balance between the two, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great leader.

A good leader also knows when to get feedback from their team. If you’re unsure about a decision, reach out to your team and get their input. They might have valuable insights that you didn’t consider.

And if you’re still not sure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If there’s any doubt in your mind, it’s better to take a little more time to make sure you’re making the right decision.

5. Be open to feedback

This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. A good leader is always open to feedback, both positive and negative.

If you’re not open to hearing what other people have to say, you’re going to miss out on valuable insights. You might also come across as arrogant or insensitive.

Your team needs to know that you’re open to hearing their thoughts and opinions. Otherwise, they’re not going to feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or suggestions.

It’s also important to remember that feedback is a two-way street. Just as you should be open to hearing what your team has to say, you should also be open to sharing your own thoughts and opinions.

Your team needs to know that you’re willing to listen to their feedback and take it to heart. If they feel like their voices are being heard, they’re much more likely to engage with the team and buy into your vision.

6. Be flexible

No matter how well you plan, there will always be times when things don’t go according to plan. That’s why it’s so important to be flexible as a leader.

If you’re too rigid in your thinking, you’ll find it very difficult to adapt to changes. And when things do go off track, your team will start to lose faith in your ability to lead them.

The best way to be flexible is to always be open to new ideas. Encourage your team to share their thoughts and suggestions, even if they’re different from your own. And when things do go wrong, be quick to adapt and come up with a new plan.

Flexibility is key to being a successful leader. If you can learn to roll with the punches, you’ll find it much easier to lead your team through difficult times.

Create an environment where passion grows

7. Create an environment where passion grows

What’s the equation for a passionate team member? A good leader plus an inspiring work environment.

If you want your team to be passionate about their work, you need to create an environment that encourages and supports it. This means fostering a culture of creativity, innovation, and open-mindedness.

It also means providing the resources and support that your team needs to do their best work. If you want your team to be passionate about their work, you need to give them the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Finally, you need to be a role model for passion. If you’re not passionate about your work, it’s going to be very difficult to get your team to buy into your vision.

But if you’re passionate about what you do, your team will see that and it will be much easier for them to get on board.

Passion is contagious. If you’re passionate about your work, your team will be more likely to catch that enthusiasm.

When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it shows. Your team will be able to see that you believe in what you’re doing, and that will make them more likely to believe in it too.

Of course, passion isn’t everything. You also need to be able to back up your passion with results. But if you can find a way to combine the two, you’ll be well on your way to being a successful leader.

This begs a really important question, “how do you build a deep passion for your work when it’s not natural?”

It starts by taking the time to really understand what you’re doing. Why are you doing it? What difference does it make in the world? Once you can answer those questions, you’ll start to develop a deeper passion for your work.

It also helps to surround yourself with people who share your passion. If you’re surrounded by people who are as passionate about their work as you are, it will be much easier to stay motivated and focused.

Passion is an important quality for any leader to have. If you can find a way to cultivate it, you’ll be well on your way to being a successful one.

Lead with humility and confidence

8. Lead with humility and confidence

What do you think of when you hear the word “humility?” For most people, it conjures up images of self-deprecation and self-doubt.

But that’s not what humility is really about. Yes, humility does involve being open to feedback and admitting when you’re wrong. But it also involves confidence and faith in your own abilities.

The best leaders are those who are both humble and confident. They’re able to take feedback without getting defensive, and they’re also able to trust their own instincts.

If you want to be a successful leader, you need to find a way to strike the right balance between humility and confidence.

One of the best ways to do this is to focus on your team’s strengths, not their weaknesses. When you’re constantly trying to fix your team’s flaws, it can be easy to lose sight of their strengths.

But if you focus on their strengths and build on them, you’ll find that they naturally become more confident and self-assured. And that will go a long way towards making them more effective leaders.

Another way to strike the right balance between humility and confidence is to set high standards for yourself and your team. When you’re constantly pushing yourself to be better, it’s easier to stay humble.

But at the same time, setting high standards shows that you have faith in your team’s ability to meet them. This will help to build their confidence and make them more effective leaders.

The best leaders are those who are able to strike the right balance between humility and confidence. If you can find a way to do that, you’ll be well on your way to being a successful one.

Conclusion

Leaders are not born, they are made. They really are. And just like anything else in life, the more effort and focus you put into becoming a better leader, the better your chances of success will be.

There are a lot of different qualities that make a good leader. But if you can focus on developing the ones we’ve discussed in this post, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great one.

So what are you waiting for? Start working on becoming a better leader today. Your team will thank you for it.

We hope you enjoyed this post and that you’ll come back and visit the Teamly blog for more great leadership content. Thanks for reading!

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