Leadership skills

15 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Every startup team needs a fearless leader to help them grow and to push them to be the best that they can be. But starting a business and heading a group of people are two tasks that require very different leadership skills. Being a leader in your company means everything from keeping your employees happy to making sure that everyone is doing their part to sometimes having to deal with difficult situations. Become an effective business leader by inspiring your team with these tips:

  1. Have a clear vision

Your job as a leader is to define your company’s goals and vision, and to communicate that vision with your team. Providing them with a clear path to follow makes working together for a common goal that much easier. If you all have the same vision, you will all work hard to see that vision come to fruition. Explain to your team how this vision will not only benefit the company, but as a result, how it will benefit them. Transparency is key here.

  1. Show you’re passionate

Show you care and your employees will care, too. Being passionate about the projects that you work on will not only get your employees motivated, but your excitement will rub off on others. Show employees that you appreciate their input, and show your enthusiasm. There’s nothing worse than a boss who doesn’t care.

  1. Walk the walk

Be a role model for your employees by showing rather than telling. The best leaders lead by example. Want your employees to follow a process? Start by following it yourself. Your team will admire someone who works by example and will likely emulate your behavior. Show the qualities that you would like to see in your employees.

  1. Make concrete plans

Companies need direction, and without a clear goal it’s difficult for anyone to get anywhere. Make concrete plans for the future and map out how your team can help you get there with realistic timelines.

  1. Remember that it’s not about you

Being a leader is not about being in charge, looking the best or being right. It’s about building up your team and motivating them to work to the best of their ability for the sake of your company. Remember that you are all on the same team and that you are playing a role in that team.

Also on StartupNation.com: 10 Leadership Tips Entrepreneurs Should Know

  1. Stay positive

This may be difficult when everything seems to be going wrong, but a negative leader only spells disaster for the rest of the office. Showing apathy or negativity will only make your employees feel the same way. By remaining positive, you reassure your team to push through while keeping them motivated. People are also naturally attracted to positive attitudes.

  1. Improve your communication skills

One thing to remember is that communication is a two-way street. While being able to communicate your vision and goal is important, be sure to also pick up on any queues that others may be giving off. Listen to your employees when they have complaints, opinions or ideas and you will go far. Strive to continuously improve your communication skills.

  1. Admit your weaknesses

The best leader isn’t someone who has all the answers, nor is it someone who never makes mistakes. A good leader is someone who identifies his or her weaknesses and utilizes the team around them to learn and grow. Be humble and don’t presume that your opinion is always the right opinion. Trust others and watch your company blossom.

  1. Keep on learning

The professional world changes constantly. Never remain complacent. Keep pushing yourself to improve and learn more about your industry to become a better leader. Stay open to everyone’s ways of thinking. Someone may have a better way of doing things than you do.

  1. Think critically

Being a critical thinker is key to being a good leader. While staying open to everyone’s ideas helps your company to innovate and grow, being able to spot a good idea from a bad one is even more important. Look at projects critically, identify any potential problems that may lie ahead and find a way around them. Ask as many questions as possible to ensure that your idea is airtight.

  1. Handle conflicts with grace

As a leader, you are going to run into difficult people and will be forced to deal with conflicts. Learn how to do this in a way that is authentically compassionate and your employees will respect you for it. Get straight to the point. If someone is bringing a negative attitude into work, or isn’t performing the way they should, as a leader you need to step in and address them in private. Letting conflicts simmer will only lead to unhappy employees who will probably end up jumping ship. Always remember to listen to both sides of the story before jumping to conclusions.

  1. Learn how to delegate

If you want something done right, do it yourself. Right? Nope. The best boss is someone who knows how to select a team that he can rely on to get the job done. You can’t do everything yourself. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Learn how to delegate work to the best people for the job and try avoid micro-managing. You hired your employees because you believed in them. Now give them the space to prove you right. It will empower your team and free up your time, allowing you to concentrate on other things.

  1. Encourage creativity and contributions

Your team needs to be encouraged to flex their creative skills. Make sure that you have an office culture that fosters ideas and promotes contributions from everyone. If people are too intimidated or scared to share their ideas, your company’s innovation will become stifled. Set time aside to brainstorm and share your creativity and offer new challenges to your team. While you retain final say over ideas, encouraging team members to have an active role makes them more confident and fosters loyalty.

  1. Give rewards and recognition

Great leaders understand the importance of offering recognition and rewards to their employees. It is one of the best ways to help your team feel appreciated. Don’t just assume that because your team memers are doing their jobs well that they’re happy. A little recognition goes a long way. Offering help, removing barriers to success and rewarding your employees’ efforts are all ways to improve their working lives. Put your appreciation in writing or thank people in public. It goes far.

  1. Discover your leadership style

At the end of the day, there’s no one leadership style that suits everyone. Find a way that works for both you and your employees. Evaluate what your leadership style is like at the moment and identify areas that are working really well, along with areas that may need improvement.

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