Why, When and How to Develop Your Leadership Skills
Leadership isn’t about making people work.
It’s about making people want to work.
However, only a small percentage of people are natural-born leaders, so how can you develop your leadership skills?
Why Leadership Skills are Essential
Strong leadership is at the heart of every successful team.
When done correctly, leadership can:
- Set a good example for employees
The mindset and actions of leaders often reflect on their team, meaning that if a leader is positive, hardworking and productive, employees will likely follow in their footsteps. This is why it is essential that employees can look up to their leader as a role model.
- Inspire others to want to work hard
Leadership is more about mindset than it is about output. It focuses on motivating, encouraging and challenging employees to grow and achieve their goals. Supporting employees and recognizing their successes will likely make them want to work hard.
- Help employees build working relationships
As you develop your leadership skills, you become more attuned to your strengths and weaknesses, creating greater self-awareness and improving your ability to relate to others and build meaningful relationships
When You Should Develop Your Leadership Skills
Any time is a good time to develop your leadership skills; no matter how much experience you have, there’s always room for improvement.
However, here are 3 scenarios where improving your leadership skills is even more important:
- You notice a lack of enthusiasm in your teams
- Your team is going through an organizational or departmental change
- You want to exceed your goals, not just meet them
Traits of Effective Leadership
There is no set definition of a successful leader.
However, here are 5 traits that contribute to successful leadership:
To be able to inspire and motivate others, leaders must be passionate about what they do.
- Model great leadership
One of the best ways to get others to work hard is to lead by example; more often than not, employees will mimic their leaders’ actions.
- Understand strengths and utilise them
Leaders must not only work on their areas of weakness but also maximise their strengths.
- Set goals and execute them
To be able to hold others accountable for achieving goals, leaders must ensure they are meeting their own goals and targets.
- Admit failure
As important as it is to recognize success, leaders must also be able to admit failure and learn from it by viewing it as an opportunity to improve.
How to Develop Your Leadership Skills
Leadership is a journey; it takes time and practice to develop the skills of a true leader and no two leaders’ development journeys are identical.
However, here are 3 key steps you can take to begin developing your leadership skills:
- Identify Weak Spots
The first step is to identify exactly what skills you need to improve, this can be done in many different ways, from 360 feedback to skills gap analysis.
- Leadership Style
Having a sense of your leadership style means better understanding your natural leadership approach, allowing you to develop your leadership skills in harmony with this.
- Action Plan
Then, it’s time to create an action plan that defines how you are going to develop your skills. There are many ways leaders can expand their skill set, including through an online course, an apprenticeship or a series of live, virtual workshops.
When looking to develop your leadership skills, it’s important to remember that you may not necessarily see the difference overnight, it will likely take time for you to comprehend, take on board and utilise these skills.
“There are no quick wins in business. It takes years to become an overnight success” Richard Branson