Good leadership is a skill that comes naturally for some, and less easily for others – but it can be taught. It comes down to good communication, an ability to really listen, being able to plan strategically and take decisive action, and the ability to get others on board with your plans. As we look towards a flexible and remote working future with many teams now split across multiple locations, good leadership is more important than ever to keep teams motivated, happy and productive.
Good leadership skills are essential for managers, directors, and business owners, but being a good leader will stand you in good stead in many other areas of your life. The communication skills that enable you to manage a team or direct a company will help you in your personal relationships: you’ll listen better and empathise more. Decisiveness and strategic planning will help you pin down and execute personal goals. Being able to guide a team through periods of change will in turn make you more able to weather change and disruption in your own life.
Leadership training forms a large part of the coaching we deliver here at Evolution (including our Navigator programme for businesses). Whether you’re looking to improve your leadership skills at work, or for your own personal development, here are our top six tips for becoming a better leader.
1. Communication is key. Being able to build rapport is a valuable skill: it’ll make people much more likely to see your point of view and get on board with your way of thinking. If you consistently find that people fail to deliver what you’re asking of them, it’s likely that you’re not communicating in the right way.
2. Listen. Listening is just as important as speaking when it comes to communication. What does your team need? What would make them more productive? Do they feel supported? Everyone is different, and being able to understand individual needs and ways of communicating will help you get the best out of your team in the long run.
3. Model the behaviour of others. If there’s a colleague, a friend or a public figure whose leadership skills you really admire, work out what it is they do that makes them successful – and replicate that behaviour. If you find that tricky, try business coaching: a trained coach will have spent years studying and modelling behaviour that works, and will help you apply those skills to your own life.
4. Learn to manage change. Change is an inescapable part of business, and you can’t avoid it. Learning to guide your team or your business through periods of change is essential; if you can use change to develop, grow and evolve, you’ll thrive.
5. Have a clear vision. Good strategic planning will give you a clear plan for your business, so that you can provide clear direction to your team.
6. Spend time on your own personal development. Know your own strengths and weaknesses: where do you need support? Where could you improve? Working on your own goals will set a good example for your team, and it’ll make you a better leader in the long run. Being able to manage your time, be more resilient, and manage your stress levels will take the strain out of leadership and allow you to focus on the work that really matters.
If you’d like to develop your leadership skills even further, have a look at the courses available on our online academy. If you’re looking for business leadership training, get in touch to discuss how we can help.