Leadership is probably one of the top qualities that hiring managers look for in prospective candidates for management positions. If one of your ambitions is to earn such a position and you aren’t entirely confident in your leadership abilities, now is the time to focus on improving them.
Even if you aren’t currently looking to make a change in your employment situation, becoming a better leader can help you in the way you communicate in your job, improve your productivity, and assist you to better work under pressure. Here are five steps to consider taking to become a better leader.
1. Focus On Teamwork
No matter how big the department is in which you work, there is always the opportunity to improve your ability to be part of a team. This also applies to those who are striving to be leaders in their place of work. Just because someone is a leader doesn’t mean that their sole task is to delegate all work to others.
Instead, good leaders aren’t afraid to take on their fair share (if not more) of the workload. Not only can this help increase the motivation of those around you, but it will also allow you to understand and build on the strengths of your team. You can also benefit from the opportunity to bond with those you work with, something that can go a long way to improving the productivity of the team overall.
2. Look For Opportunities For Growth
One of the qualities of a good leader is that they never stop trying to grow and improve. If your goal is to become a better leader, you should start to look for every opportunity to grow in your professional life.
The first thing you should do regarding your professional growth is to have an honest discussion with yourself about what your weaknesses are when it comes to your job performance. Understanding those areas of your work that need improvement will help you take a more targeted approach to your professional growth.
Depending on what line of work you are in, opportunities for growth could be as simple as taking the time to acquire a relevant skill. Other industries might demand that those in leadership positions possess specific qualifications in the form of advanced degrees. Earning a leadership degree might be a good idea for you regardless of the field you work in.
The knowledge you can gain from the right degree program can apply to any industry, while the flexibility of earning your degree online can alleviate any worries that you would have to make sacrifices in your current position to earn your degree.
3. Learn How to Take Criticism
Criticism can be a difficult thing to take for many people. Not only can it wound your pride, but it might also cause you to lose self-confidence if you don’t take it correctly. Leaders, however, must have the ability to take criticisms for what they are: invitations for development.
No one is immune to making mistakes. Mistakes will remain just that, however, unless they are used as catalysts towards improvement. It might be a tough thing to bring yourself to do, but it is a good idea to ask your superiors for feedback from time to time. This will allow you to stay on top of those areas where you need to develop your skills more while at the same time showing those above you that you aren’t afraid to learn from those things that you haven’t yet gotten quite right.
The key to properly accepting and learning from criticism is to teach yourself to put your emotions on the backburner and analyze the facts appropriately. You care about your job since you wouldn’t be taking steps to advance your career. That being said, the ability to compartmentalize and take the emotion out of receiving criticism will better allow you to grow from your mistakes.
Keep in mind that in ordinary situations, criticism of this nature isn’t personal and is not meant to be a reflection of who you are as an individual.
4. Seek Out a Professional Mentor
Sometimes the most challenging part of becoming a leader is not having a clear picture of what the word truly means. You might have someone that you think of when you picture a leader, but what are the qualities that make that individual a good leader in your eyes. If you are having a hard time answering that question, one of the best things you can do is approach that person and ask for their guidance as a mentor.
Mentorships are valuable tools for those looking to advance their careers. Not only do mentors provide practical, experience-based advice, but they can also assist you in analyzing your own job performance for those areas that need improvement. A mentor can also help you to expand your own professional network, something that will come in handy as your career progresses.
Seeking out the right mentor can be an intimidating task. Start by making inquiries with your company’s human resources department, and many businesses offer mentorship programs for their employees.
If your place of work doesn’t have programs like this in place, take the time to see if there is someone who works above you in the hierarchy who might be a good fit for you as a mentor. There is a good chance that your line-manager will be happy that you are thinking about your career, and will offer you the mentorship that you are looking for.
5. Trust Yourself
Confidence is a vital quality of a good leader. Learning to trust your instincts is going to be an essential part of your journey to acquiring better leadership skills. You always want to approach things in your career with humility, but when you know that you have put in the necessary work and gained the right skills for the task at hand, trust yourself and proceed with confidence.