Management and leadership

Five ways to improve your leadership skills

Stephen Roberts | 26 Sep 2019

Five ways to improve your leadership skills

Stephen Roberts | 26 Sep 2019

In this article:

Leading a team can be challenging, follow these steps to help make you someone staff want to work for


Whether you run a company of thousands or only oversee a handful of staff, getting the most from them will be down to your leadership skills. Can you inspire them to achieve, support them when they need it and communicate your thoughts clearly when things get complicate?

Most of the core characteristics of good leadership are obvious when you take a look at the standout leaders of our time, whether from industry, politics or the wider world. But here are the top five areas to improve if you want to take your career, and your staff, further.

1. Learn about yourself

Who you are, what you’re good at, what you love, because once you understand yourself and your motivations you’ll find yourself better able to lead others.

2. Ask for feedback

In keeping with the first point, how can you gain an overview of who you are if you don’t get the thoughts of others. As a manager you no doubt ask your staff to think about their own abilities and provide feedback for them, so why not reverse the process.

3. Ask questions

Following someone is always a choice - to truly lead others, you need them to believe that you understand and empathise with them. You need to be genuinely interested in them, and to do that you need to ask questions.

Furthermore, organisational leaders aren’t yes men, they’re the ones who ask the difficult questions and challenge the status quo.

4. Learn to listen

Actively listen, and then ask questions to clarify. Effective listening can build rapport and develop trust, which arguably is one of the most vital ingredients for leadership.

5. Set yourself a challenge

Don’t be happy with the easy route, set yourself a challenge, something tough, something worthwhile that will either help your business grow, continue your own development or that of your team. Talk about the challenge, seek others’ opinions, use that to form a plan and see it through. Leaders are courageous and resilient, they set the tone, so lead by example. Another point in this area is to tell stories of success and failure, it’ll help you and others around you to learn and grow from these experiences.

Stephen Roberts is an SDI certified leadership and management trainer and was speaking with James Scoltock.

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