01 Mar

Are you planning on becoming a leader? Are you uncertain about whether or not you have the skillset and the abilities? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, this report will be for you.

We’ll be taking a look at the five ways to develop your leadership skills. No one was ever born to be a leader (as the old saying goes). In fact, they are built. No one is ever born with the ability to be an effective communicator or be quick and decisive in the face of challenges. For this reason, those with an intent to lead must learn the skills they need in order to be effective no matter if they are the CEO or a mid-level executive.

This guide will show you the best ways to develop leadership skills so you can keep them sharp and apply them when necessary. Once you understand and learn these skills, you’ll be able to use them like it’s second nature.

Sure, people will think you were born to lead. But the reality is, you’ve learned the skills that have been embedded in your subconscious to a point where they look like normal, everyday tasks. If you are planning to build your career and be willing to take on the challenges of being a leader, keep reading this report. Let’s take a look now at the five ways you can go from having little to no leadership skills to having just enough to be considered for a leadership position. 

1. To lead, you have to follow first

Most leaders were followers at one point. It’s true. They were under the mentorship and tutelage of someone who was a leader themselves. Very rarely was anyone learning leadership skills by their own volition. With no one teaching them how to make the vital decisions. That’s why most leaders will have a mentor that they can reach out to in the event if they have to solve a problem, but seem to have trouble.

Even if you have assumed a leadership position, you still have a willingness to follow others. This also includes the mentor who has helped paved the way for your success. It’s also important to follow those who may also have ideas that may be beneficial towards your goals.

You’ll want to follow them from start to finish on how the idea is executed and what benefits will arise should it be a successful one. These people who may have these ideas might be the subordinates that are under your command. You are willing to listen to what they have to say and in turn, they feel like they can trust you and go to bat for you when the opportunity presents itself. Who should you follow?

Even as a leader, you can still be a follower. Here are some ideas on who you may be following:

  • Other leaders in your industry or otherwise. While it’s not in a ‘subordinate/leader’ role, you may follow along with what others are doing to improve their business, how they are leading the way, and how they are adjusting to a changing environment among others.
  • Idea and thought leaders with revolutionary ideas that can change their industry and the businesses that are a part of it.
  • Someone in your company (who may be a subordinate) that may provide you with ideas that may benefit the business as a whole. They will lead you through the process they have put together from the start to the finish (which includes the intended goal).

2. Accept the fact that you will be a lifelong learner

Even if you reach a level where your leadership skills are top notch, there is always room for improvement. This means you will need to accept the fact that being a lifelong learner is who you are. You are always learning new things every day and applying it to your leadership abilities.

You may be doing something that may seem like the norm. Then something better comes along because it provides you with better results. You learn what it is and you apply it to your own situation.

Who do you learn from?

  • Leaders themselves, but within your industry (or even outside of it).
  • Your own subordinates, who eventually have the potential to become leaders themselves.
  • From observing what’s around you.

Make sure that you keep your mind sharp and have a willingness to learn new skills. Over time, things may evolve and it may lead you to update your knowledge so that you’re up to speed. Learning and applying new things is one of the best challenges you as a leader must be willing to face on a regular basis. The important part is that you can observe what people are doing and the ideas they are coming up with. It’s key to put your own spin on it. Don’t steal what you see and call it your own. You’ll want to modify it to where it’s your own idea. What you see should be an inspiration to you. Of course, don’t forget to give credit if and where it’s due. 3. Measure your limits

When it comes to workloads, some people may handle things more than others. That’s why it’s important that as a leader, you want to measure your limits. In other words, you want to observe how much work you may be willing to take on.

Before we go any further, a word of caution: you don’t want to overload yourself to the point where you are constantly stressed out. Burnout can lead to physical illness and your mental health will deteriorate as a result.

So how do you go about measuring your limits? You can start out small. Spend some time on the tasks you want to perform. If you feel like you have a bit more time to use, then find other ways to invest it like taking on more responsibilities. But still, keep enough time to yourself where you can be able to step away and take a break (even on stressful, hectic days). Self-care is still important even on the days when you can be very busy.

Make automation a regular thing

If you take on tasks that are too simple to do manually, see if they can be done automatically. Automating tasks have gained more popularity thanks to the number of apps aimed at automating your scheduling, assigning tasks, or any other task that is considered tedious for manual use. Delegation is also necessary

Another way to make sure that you stay within your working limits is delegation. While there are so many tasks that need to be done, you won’t be able to do them all. For this reason, you will need to delegate them to someone who can get the job done for you. One of the key traits to look for in a person who will do those tasks is competence. When you delegate a task to someone, are they knowledgeable about the task itself? Do they know enough to where you can trust them to get the job done?

The last thing you want to do is delegate a task to someone that doesn’t know how to do it. 4. Sharpen your critical thinking skills

As a leader, you will be faced with problems that will require decisive action. You will need to make decisions based on your critical thinking abilities. Your emotions may not be enough or it may lead you to making the wrong decisions.

At the same time, your critical thinking can serve another purpose: preventing issues before they happen. You’ll want to look at the potential issue and take a look at the possible causes and triggers. Think about the preventative measures you want to take so things don’t go from bad to worse in the quickest amount of time. Keep track of the progress and think ahead

As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to keep track of the progress of your projects. You will be looking at plenty of data that will help you make adjustments along the way. If you observe a potential issue, you want to dig deep to find out why it’s happening (and what is causing it). Once you are able to identify the issue, you’ll want to think about a solution that will mitigate the problem. It may not be a permanent solution. But it may be one that will ensure that a disaster won’t occur at any point in the future (be it short or long-term).

Keeping track of the progress will also help you make critical decisions. For example, let’s say you looked at the latest quarterly sales reports. You sell five different products.

Of these products, one of them has been consistently low in sales over the last two quarters. Despite making adjustments in the past to improve sales, nothing has changed. So you have decided to discontinue the product.

It was easy to make that decision because you thought ahead two quarters ago. Instead of just ignoring the problem, you thought of different solutions. Specifically, you think ‘if this, then that’. So ‘if the sales improve, then we keep the product’. Or ‘if it’s failing to meet its goals, then we’ll get rid of it’. Does it make sense? If there’s a problem, craft a solution Your critical thinking skills will create solutions to a problem you are trying to solve. You’ll want to know what’s causing the problem. How did it start in the first place? You may need to work backwards and reverse engineer it to identify the ‘red flags’. From there, you’ll be able to come up with ideas for preventative measures. But for problems that already exist, you want to talk about how it’s happening and why solving it will be critical?

Let’s say there’s a conflict between two workers of yours. It’s important that you talk to each one of them in private. Allow them their side of the story and make notes and observations as you go.

Once complete, review your notes. Come up with ideas that will solve the conflict while making both sides happy at the same time. It may be something that one or the other may not approve of.

Explain why the solution is appropriate rather than letting the problem go unsolved.

5. Focus on yourself as you go

Your leadership skills are built by you and you alone. Your mentors, the world around you, and everything in between will provide you with the appropriate building materials. All that’s left for you to do is apply them.

You’ll want to build your own philosophy about what makes you the best leader possible. If you feel that being a democratic kind of leader is better than being an autocrat, make that part of your philosophy. Also, get rid of any limiting beliefs or excuses that may also affect your abilities.

Without them, you will not hesitate to take action and make decisions that may feel like the most challenging and difficult. When you build yourself as an effective leader, continue to be aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Finally, it’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Being a leader can keep you busy. But that doesn’t mean you should shirk responsibilities or tasks that are related to your health and relationships. 

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