2 Mar 2020

A No-Nonsense Guide to Improving Your Leadership Skills

Post by Jordan Toplen

There are certain technical skills that business leaders can acquire to grow their organizations. Then there are soft skills, which come naturally and must be cultivated over time. Leadership falls somewhere in between. There are both technical and intuitive elements – and they both need to be groomed.

The Importance of Leadership

There’s a reason high performing organizations reportedly spend 36 percent more on management and leadership development per manager per year than low performing organizations – it’s vital to success.

Individuals with superior leadership skills make better decisions; get more done in less time with far lower costs; achieve superior results across the board; and have more loyal teams. 

If you dig down to the core of any successful business, project, or outcome, you’ll almost always find solid leadership at the core. Leadership provides precisely what an organization needs at just the right time – whether that’s a kick in the rear or an encouraging word. 

Above all else, it cultivates a quiet and confident sense of hope. 

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader

Almost every business leader has, by definition, some leadership skills. The key is to enhance these skills so that you can drive better results. Try the following tactics:

1. Take an MBA Online Certificate Course

There are practical aspects of leadership that you cultivate every day. But there are also technical components. One of the best ways to learn these technical components is to take an MBA essentials course.

An MBA essentials course will teach the mechanics of leadership and how they combine with technical business and finance skills, sales strategies, and management principles. It gives you a nice foundation to build from.

2. Read Biographies

While an MBA essentials course will give you some of the formulas and foundational principles for leadership, it’s helpful to see what they look like when put into practice. One way to do this is by reading biographies of successful leaders who’ve come before you.

As entrepreneur and avid reader Adam Leitman Bailey says, “All of the leaders I have read had many of the same traits in common. All of these greats had an incredible work ethic. All remained calm and had good judgment during a crisis. Every leader needed to overcome great obstacles several times during their lives — and yet, they found a way not only to overcome them but to turn them into a force to assist them either later in life or later in battle or business.”

These are trends that Bailey might not have discovered had he only looked inwardly or decided to focus solely on his circle of influence. Read more and you can also discover powerful truths like these!

3. Listen More Than You Speak

Successful business leaders have good ideas, but they know that they aren’t the only ones with good ideas. They recognize the value that others bring to the table – including unique perspectives, strategies, and skills.

As a business leader, you’d be wise to listen more than you speak. That’s right – more. In doing so, you’ll learn from others and teach people to take your own words more seriously. 

4. Empower Others

Good leaders are selfless and empowering. They bring out the best in others, even when it doesn’t directly benefit them.

Take the time to think about how often you empower others. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a company or the janitor mopping floors at midnight – you have the ability to bring out the best in the people you interact with. Learning how to unlock this power is a lifelong mission.

5. Think Critically

Never accept something at face value. Everything should be viewed with healthy skepticism. Ask as many why questions as you can.

While critical thinking is important, don’t let it make you jaded. The goal is to use your own intelligence to come to conclusions, as opposed to letting group thinking rule your decisions. If you find yourself becoming cynical, you’re missing the point. 

Putting it All Together

Successful leaders aren’t born overnight. Almost every successful founder, entrepreneur, or executive commits to long-term growth and development. They understand the need for incrementally improving over weeks, months, years, and even decades. Are you willing to make the same commitment?