6 Ways to Get Good Leadership Skills

Have you ever had a mentor or boss that inspired you? Did they use their position of authority to effectively lead people, accomplish tasks, and motivate employees/volunteers? Everyone can think of one person, even a figure they only know from online, that has inspired them. It takes more than status, money, or media coverage to be a good leader. An essential step in building good leadership skills is self-exploration. By getting to truly know yourself, you can better lead others.

6 Ways to Get Good Leadership Skills - Mary Sabo Yoga Instructor

6 Ways to Get Good Leadership Skills

Pursue Your Passion

In order to truly be a great leader as an influencer or boss, you need to be passionate about what you do. Simply clocking in will not inspire people to follow you. Finding something that truly motivates you will drive you to work harder. Seeing you all in on a project will encourage others to do the same! Find what you’re passionate about, and pursue it relentlessly.

Identify and Utilize Your Unique Talents

We all have talents that we were born with and have honed over our lifetimes. For example, maybe you have a natural ease with speaking to crowds. You have taken that natural gift and developed it into a powerful tool when giving presentations for work. This is a valuable skill in leadership! Leaders aren’t born with all that they need to succeed, but good leaders are able to take their natural strengths and develop them into skills.

This step requires a thorough self-examination of your strengths and your weaknesses. Maybe you are an excellent public speaker but struggle with listening. Everyone has areas that need improvement. Identifying these areas will help you realize the good leadership skills you already possess and can further develop, and areas where you can grow. Having weaknesses is not poor leadership; failing to address your shortcomings and blaming others is.

Admit Mistakes

If you make a mistake or have a weakness, this does not automatically make you a bad leader! What does make you a bad leader is blaming these failings on your employees or team. There is absolutely no one on the planet who is completely perfect 100% of the time. A skill of a strong leader is being able to face this reality, communicate the weakness, and grow from it.

If there is someone on your team that can accomplish a task better than you, that is OK. That doesn’t mean you’re not leadership material. Recognize and applaud that person’s talent. Appoint that person to take over that activity and teach others, even you, how to do it. Being a good leader doesn’t mean never learning from those on your team. On the contrary, it means constantly learning and getting better.

We all make errors. What makes good leaders stand out is the ability to be open with themselves and their team about them, and then learn from the mistake.  

Write in a Journal

What’s one thing you can start today that doesn’t cost any money and is good for your career? Start keeping a journal that is entirely focused on your career or the goals you want to accomplish. This will help with recognizing the areas of your work you are passionate about and areas you can improve upon. Detail situations you handled well and areas where you can improve. Keep track of accomplishments by you and your team, short and long-term goals, lessons learned, growth opportunities, and anything else relevant to your career.

You can choose to write online or by hand - hello, adorable journal! Either way, get started as soon as possible. If you’re unsure where to begin, start by writing the 5 traits essential in a leader.

Set Goals

Accomplishments don’t just happen without a plan. If you want to develop good leadership skills, you need to set SMART goals.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Good leaders are effective because they set SMART goals for themselves and establish an actionable plan to achieve them. Commit to the skills you want to learn and set a plan for how to achieve these skills - with a deadline and a metric to measure your success. These are important to keep you on track and measure how far you’ve come.

Once you’ve set your mind to something you’re passionate about, anything is achievable as long as you’re SMART.

Communication, Communication, Communication

Building good leadership skills has a lot to do with you. Internal evaluation and growth need to happen to become an effective leader. Finding your passion, utilizing your gifts, and working on your weaknesses are all important steps in leadership. Once you’ve done the work inside yourself, it’s time to take that message public!

A part of good leadership skills is the ability to precisely and clearly communicate your goals, expectations, and vision to others. This doesn’t just mean talking either. It also means listening to what people are telling you with their words, body language, and action.  

How many plans and projects are thrown off track by miscommunication? Make it a point to listen to everyone on your team so there aren’t misunderstandings. Build-in opportunities for communication, such as weekly meetings, even if they are short.

This is a skill you can work on no matter what your job is. Whether you are the director of your organization or in an entry-level position, you can work on communicating clearly with your co-workers to ensure efficiency and productivity.  This will make you a better employee in your current position and prepare you for leadership roles in the future.

Establishing good leadership skills doesn’t need to wait until you are in a supervisory role or have a million followers on Instagram. It can happen now, no matter what position you hold. The steps above are concrete ways in which you can start building those skills, proving that it doesn’t take fame - or even fortune! - to be a great leader.

Mary Sabo