5 Proven Methods to Improve Your Leadership Skills

The old school stereotype of leadership has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Being a good leader is no longer management by fear, but rather leadership by inclusive behaviour and emotional intelligence. It’s also no longer just middle aged, middle income white men as managers, but a plethora of diversity and difference as leadership skills advance. 

These subtle but growing changes are amazing to see, and the end result is a new style of  leadership that is making every organisation that is adopting it, stronger.

One thing they all share in common though, is they all constantly wish to be more effective leaders. Here are five very effective ways to do just that.

Be authentic with everyone

If you’re not a suit, don’t try to be one. You will come across stiff and unnatural. People can tell this a mile away, so drop the pretense.

You should look at your own personal strengths and personality to refine your personal management  style. Do it because it is you, not because it’s something you read in a book. Have a passion for funky cufflinks? You should wear them. Have an interest in social media marketing? Do a lunchtime talk about it.

Earn their respect

The worst thing you can do is ask people to respect you, without giving them an actual reason to. The absolute best way to get your team to respect you is to roll your sleeves up and get into the work, and show them you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty.

I once had a boss, a millionaire with shops across the city. Each morning he would come to various shops and empty bins, tidy counters, etc. I asked one day why do you do that? His reply? You need to lead by example.

“Leaders who are looked upon as not walking their talk are not respected by their subordinates. It’s important to spend time in the trenches.” says Jamie Bekkers, CEO of a company who offers managed IT services in Perth, Australia.

Show gratitude

One thing that an effective leader does is show their gratitude regularly. A simple thank you goes a long way to making someone feel good about the work that they do. 

You can display gratitude in written notes, in a short speech at team meetings, or buying someone lunch once in a while. It doesn’t take much to show gratitude, but it means the world to the recipient.

On the web you will find plenty of positive lifestyle articles that demonstrate different ways you can show gratitude that won’t cost you a lot to achieve and is a great leadership skills to have.

Be firm but fair

I found this out when parenting. That sounds silly, but parenting and leadership skills are actually very similar things. By being firm in your expectations and what will happen when people don’t meet your requirements, then everyone soon understands what they need to do.

Be careful though to not be unreasonable. Say you let half the team come to work late every few days. If you suddenly start shouting at the other half for doing the same, that is not fair at all.

Constantly learn new things

One thing that all effective leaders throughout history have had, is the insatiable desire to improve themselves through education. You should never ever feel like you have learnt it all. 

Miles Burke, founder of a service that has a comprehensive guest blogging sites list, regularly talks about lifelong education in his talks to university students. He believes that without constant revision and knowledge gathering, you will fall behind your peers and your brain won’t get the exercise it requires.

Leadership Skills Summary

To be an effective leader, you need to constantly be evaluating your leadership skills and look at ways to demonstrate your leadership and improve your interpersonal relationships. 

Using the five proven methods I have listed above, you are on your way to greater success. Those new leadership methods again, are;

  • Be authentic
  • Constantly upskill
  • Earn trust
  • Show gratitude
  • Earn respect

I recommend that you work on different leadership skills each few weeks or months, throughout the new year (and new decade!) to get some focus on the new leadership skills. I wish you all the best with improving your leadership know how, and creating a more productive and cohesive team.

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