Professional development is relevant not only for higher-ups but also for mid-level leaders of organizations. Having strong leadership skills provides a better direction in your career and team as much as how bad leadership can. Leadership also influences the professional development of subordinates, as per a study in 2017.
If you want to improve your leadership skills, becoming aware of your strengths and weaknesses is crucial in striving to level up your professional capacity. In this article, you can learn how to develop your leadership qualities and be a better leader of your team.
Applying Leadership Skills
Your professional strengths must also help your team become productive, and having leadership strengths can help you give them better guidance. Aside from interpersonal skills, a leader should also possess the following skills in managing team members:
- Effective communication skills
- Confidence in relaying ideas
- Decisiveness in goals and objectives
- Empathy with the team and other people they worked with
- Good judgment for decision-making
- Integrity in assessing weaknesses, mistakes, and risks
- Self-assertion in presenting the team’s output
Improving Leadership Skills
When it comes to improving leadership skills, do not rush everything up, as manifesting leadership strengths takes time. Choose one or two of those skills and focus on them first before proceeding to others. It will naturally grow on you as you continue to accomplish your career goals. Here are some steps that you can practice to develop them further.
1. Know Your Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses to Unleash Your Leadership Style.
Have you noticed how you have been receiving praises, awards, or promotions in a specific area/s? If yes, what qualities or skills helped you achieve them?
These incidents play a crucial role in identifying your strengths, allowing you to use them while working on challenging areas. You can also try taking aptitude assessments or ask your colleague or mentor to discuss your skills and weaknesses. After determining them, you what leadership style you have, which can be any of the following:
- Democratic leadership (for better participation)
- Coach-style leadership (day-to-day operations)
- Transformational leadership (team development)
- Coercive leadership (for immediate decision-making)
As you unleash your leadership style, you can also discover different opportunities to improve your leadership qualities. It may be through workshops, mentoring, or feedback from colleagues. Meanwhile, you can also possess more than one leadership skill, depending on the situation you may encounter.
2. Set Realistic Goals.
Having well-developed and realistic goals give you focus and direction while monitoring how your progress in your career path. As you determine your leadership strengths, you can boost them through personal and team objectives. However, you should ensure that they are achievable, meaningful, and impactful enough to motivate you.
3. Embrace Leadership Roles Even Outside Work.
Confidence is one of the traits of a good leader, and practicing them even outside work in your daily life is a way to improve it. For instance, you can try volunteering to manage a fundraising activity in your community and gain valuable experience that you can utilize in work. Once you become accustomed to your leadership role, you can now take similar functions in your workplace.
4. Seek Support from Other Leaders.
Potential mentors are people around you who you look up to as leaders that may offer you leadership advice or even mentorship roles. Meanwhile, you can also think of them and determine how they develop their skills to apply them to yourself. You can try reading books, watch interviews, attend lectures, and listen to speeches about leadership and learn from them.
Joining a leadership course is also an excellent choice, as some of them offer professional mentorship from experienced leaders. You will be able to find information about a particular leadership topic you want to focus on more.
Poor Leadership Skills You Should Be Aware Of
While establishing strong leadership skills can level up your professional capacity, oblivion to poor leadership skills might drag your and your team’s progress. Know that even the smallest and most trivial things in your leadership style can affect how others perceive you as a leader. Thus, be aware of the following signs of poor leadership qualities you need to avoid.
Being a Bad Example
One of the most crucial leadership principles you must be aware of is not expecting someone else to do what you cannot do. If your team members see negative traits in you, they might acquire them to themselves, affecting the team’s performance. Thus, be objective and conscious enough of yourself while becoming prepared to do things first before asking others to do it.
Taking Credit for the Team’s Success While Avoiding Conflicts
If you get too caught up in daily activities and personal interests, you might get blinded to see your team’s potential weaknesses. Eventually, those small mistakes could affect your team’s performance, leading you to have an unpleasant leadership record. Focus on aligning your team’s strengths towards your common goal while being responsible in dealing with conflicts.
Becoming a great leader takes time, so be patient as you grow into your role. You must understand and become prepared for unexpected situations you may encounter along the way. Developing more of your leadership qualities can achieve better results for you and your team’s success.
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