The prospect of advancing to the top of one’s field is what makes it possible for many people to keep plugging away at their jobs, honing their skills, and taking on new projects. But after a certain point, career development depends on more than technical skills and a willingness to work hard. You also need a few soft skills, not the least of which is the ability to take on a leadership role.
Some people are natural leaders, but anyone can develop and improve the skill set needed with some practice. If you want to take your career as far as possible, you have to be willing to put in the work. Here are 5 strategies to help you improve leadership skills and advance your career.
A good leader needs discipline. Developing discipline in your professional life is a must to be an effective leader and inspire others to be disciplined. People will judge your capacity to lead by the amount of discipline you display at work.
Demonstrate discipline at work by always meeting deadlines, keeping appointments, and ending meetings on time. If you are naturally disorganized, you may have your work cut out for you, but you can always start small: try implementing good habits at home, like waking up early and getting daily exercise, and work your way up from there.
Take on more projects.
A great way to improve leadership skills is to take on more responsibility. You don’t have to take on more than you can handle, but you do need to do more than simply what’s covered in your job description if you want to grow. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way you will learn anything new, and doing so will get you noticed by executives as someone who takes the initiative.
Learn to follow
A true leader has no problem yielding control to another person when appropriate. You should not feel threatened when someone disagrees with you, questions your thinking, or puts forth their ideas. Keep an open mind and give merit where merit is due. It won’t always be easy, but if you learn to value and respect others on your team, they’ll be more likely to step up to the plate for you.
Develop situational awareness
A mark of a good leader can see the bigger picture and anticipate problems before they occur. This is valuable to improve leadership skills when handling complex projects with tight deadlines. The ability to foresee and provide suggestions for avoiding potential problems is invaluable for a leader. This ability also helps you recognize opportunities that others overlook, which will earn you recognition. This can be especially difficult to develop when leading remote teams, but with practice, you can become more attuned to your teams and projects.
The best path to becoming a good leader and improve leadership skills is learning new things. It keeps your mind sharp and your skills fresh. It primes you for new challenges that may come your way, which is always a good thing in a leader.
Improving your leadership skills are essential to advancing your career, but as you can see, leadership is much more than simply being in charge. As it is said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”