A leader knows his job is never done in the arena of self-improvement. He or she is constantly looking for areas to improve. Once they’ve improved in one or more areas, they move on to the next.
Sometimes, they get stuck trying to figure out which skill or talent to work on next. Fear not; in this article, I will give you 5 areas a leader needs to improve.
You can look at the list, see which areas you need to improve, and then begin to work on them yourself.
5 Areas A Leader Needs To Improve
Communication skills may be one of the most critical skills a leader can develop. Learning to communicate clearly, with impact, and with gentleness.
Why are communication skills important, you ask? Because how you communicate is how people hear you and react to you. Your words say a lot.
You can do the following to improve your communication skills:
- Attend Toastmasters meetings
- Take an improv speaking class
- Volunteer in positions that force you to communicate
When you work on your communication skills, what you say and mean will begin to align. People will begin to truly hear you.
This sounds like a lot. And it is.
Very few people are actually self-aware enough of their emotional intelligence. You’ll hear people talk about how good they are at this and then watch them fall flat as they miss social cues, facial expressions, and more.
To work on your emotional intelligence, do the following:
- Explore your own emotions. What do you feel, why do you feel it, and what can you do about your emotions?
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Do what you did above for yourself but envision yourself as another person.
- Read fiction books. A Harvard Business article shares how reading fiction books can help you improve your emotional intelligence.
The more you work on your emotional intelligence, the more you’ll get to know your people, why they respond the way they do, and process how to react. Don’t neglect your emotional intelligence.
Adaptability is one of those woo-woo-sounding subjects in leadership. It is so subjective but so crucial to the ever-changing world of leadership.
Adaptability is the ability to shift your mindset and experiment with changes quickly. You do this so that you’re not stuck in a rut.
Think about all of the technological changes that have happened—the printing press, the internet, and now Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). The business leaders that learned to adapt to these changes helped their businesses succeed. Those that didn’t watched their businesses go under.
Want to improve your adaptability? Do these three things:
- Stay abreast of industry trends (and trends outside of your industry).
- Embrace change. If you see something changing, try it. You might find out the new technology is helpful.
- Have a diverse team. When your team is diverse, you will be exposed to new ideas. Those new ideas will stretch you and challenge you. You’ll have to adapt to the differences you see.
Adaptability will help you stay fresh and energized. You’ll learn to quickly change when the landscape of business changes. Don’t forget to adapt!
When you think of strategic thinking, what do you think of? Strategic thinking is all about defining your organization’s direction, setting goals, and aligning your decisions with those goals. You’re going to go past the immediate needs and desires and consider the long-term impact of your choices.
Here are three things you can do to improve your strategic thinking:
- Expose yourself to new ideas. When you reach out past what you know, you begin to learn from those who have gone before you. Their ideas will help you to see what is possible in five, 10, or 15 years.
- Look at the data. Data can be a key factor in your strategic thinking. Examining key data and information will show you where your organization is going. From this information, you can strategically think about whether or not the organization is heading in the right direction.
- Think about the future. You can do this by practicing scenario planning. This is where you think about the future and different scenarios that have happened. You then process what you would do and why.
Strategic planning will help your organization have a path to the future. You’ll have a good idea of what’s coming, how to respond, and how to prepare.
Delegation is the act of handing off tasks or objectives to those on your team. Many leaders do this to eliminate the tasks they don’t want to do or feel they’re better off not doing themselves.
I want you to think about delegation in a different way. Think about delegating for your employees. Who can benefit from taking on a new project or task? Where can you guide them to future success?
Delegation will help you and help others.
To improve your delegation skills, do these things:
- Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team. You don’t want to give a task to someone who isn’t qualified to do the task. Look for people who are able to take on an extra workload or want to work extra hard.
- Provide resources. If you’re delegating tasks to people, you have to equip them. Be ready to provide resources for your team when they are working on the projects you have delegated to them. You and your team will experience failure if you fail to do this. They’ll realize success if you do this.
- Provide feedback. Don’t be the leader who hands off a project without any input and then a lack of feedback. Feedback helps your team to know they’re doing things right. Don’t be pushy or bossy about this. Instead, be helpful and kind when offering feedback.
Always Be Improving
These are but five areas you can look at improving. Each one will provide a massive boost for you and your team. Your people will better understand what you’re communicating by growing your communication skills. Working on adaptability will help you face the changes coming your way. Increasing your emotional intelligence will help you to understand your team and your team to understand you. Strategic thinking will give you a better idea of your organization’s future. And last but not least, delegating will free you up to do important tasks and also help your team to improve their skills.
Always look for ways to improve your leadership skills constantly. The more you improve, the better you become.