What makes a good leader can be difficult to pinpoint. Leadership skills are vital for a range of roles including CEOs, directors, managers, supervisors and trainers, however, many people can go through their entire careers without learning key leadership lessons.
If you want to be a great leader, it’s important to learn the lessons below as early as possible in your career. They’ll certainly help you on your way to success!
1. Hire smart people
‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.’ – Steve Jobs
Hiring people that fit in with your company culture and make your business better is crucial to success. Good leaders prioritise hiring passionate employees who are well-qualified and knowledgeable. More importantly, great leaders give their employees the freedom to express their ideas and put their expertise into practice.
2. Spend more time listening
‘Listening is one of the most important skills that anyone can have… [It] enables us to learn from each other, from the marketplace and from the mistake that must be made in order to get anywhere that is original and disruptive.’ – Richard Branson
Leaders who always think they know best and don’t stop to listen to others will not reach their potential. Good leaders create an atmosphere of openness and trust at work, so they can make the most of everyone’s expertise.
3. Know that being a great leader takes time
While leadership skills come more naturally to some people, no one becomes a great leader without working at it. It will take time to develop the skills and qualities you’ll need to be successful and there are plenty of lessons to learn along the way.
4. Don’t be afraid to take risks
It’s impossible to navigate your career without takes some risks and facing uncertainties. Applying for a new position may be a risk if you like your current role, however, it may also help you to progress and achieve more. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to take risks and while they may not always pay off, some of their greatest achievements will have started with a risky decision.
5. Never stop learning
No matter how much experience or knowledge you have, there’s always more to learn and it’s important to stay relevant in our ever-changing world. By continuing to invest time in learning you will sustain your professional creativity and passion while honing new skills and achieving more.
6. Delegate effectively
Trusting someone else to manage something that is important to you can be difficult. However, if you try to do it all you will become overwhelmed and put yourself at risk of burning out. If you know your team and know what they are good at you will be able to delegate effectively and free up more of your own time to strategize and grow even further.
7. Keep your promises
Breaking promises that you have made to your team will damage your respect and authority. While you may be trying to motivate them and make them feel positive, if you are unsure whether you can deliver on your promises don’t make them. It will be more damaging if you promise a fantastic end of year bonus which actually turns out to be a minimal amount.
8. Don’t get hung up on your competition
We live in a competitive world and it’s good to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. However, when doing this don’t lose sight of what your company is good at and don’t lose your originality. Your creativity is what will set you apart and above the rest.
9. Listen to your customers
Customer feedback and what customers want should drive your product/service development. If you don’t listen to your customers, then you are setting yourself up to fail so keep in touch with them and keep listening and learning.
10. Keep your emotions in check
Being able to effectively manage your emotions is crucial for thinking rationally and making objective decisions. Certain situations could make you very angry, however, good leaders can keep their cool and think before acting on their emotions. Sending a passive-aggressive email may feel right at the time but you may regret it when you’ve calmed down the next day.
11. Ask for advice
No matter how far up the career ladder you climb, it’s impossible to know everything. If you’re unsure, asking for advice from others is important. Building a team of people that are knowledgeable and trustworthy should mean that you can rely on them for solid advice.