The road to leadership is riddled with hardships, turmoil, and tests. You are always under the radar and everyone is focusing on you. Moreover, there is also a lot of competition, which means that there will always be people looking out to see you fail. To avoid this and become the best in the game, there are a couple of leadership improvement areas that you need to prioritize.
The process of learning and educating oneself should never end. Even after you have achieved a leadership position, you should try to actively communicate with others and learn as much from them as possible. However, knowing what you lack can be difficult. This is why we listed down 25 ways in which you can improve your leadership skills. Here is all you need to know.
Why Do Leaders Need to Constantly Improve Themselves?
Leaders are often made to sit on a pedestal, and they are judged on metrics that are not always fair. People expect not just great things from these leaders, but extraordinary things that they would not expect from others. This is one of the main reasons why leaders need to find ways to constantly improve themselves. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are all the reasons why leaders need to constantly improve themselves.
1. Leadership roles are quite popular and in demand, which induces a lot of competition.
2. Leaders who improve themselves tend to induce trust in leadership.
3. It makes leaders more reliable and their words start to have more meaning.
4. It inspires others who look up to the leaders for motivation.
5. It helps the leader achieve their full potential and make the most of their position.
What Are the Most 25 Leadership Improvement Areas
Every leader has their journey: a journey that is full of hardships and challenges. Although everyone faces challenges, there are some leadership improvement areas that everyone needs to prioritize. Here are the 25 most important ones.
- Defining Success
- Seeing the Bigger Picture
- Developing Discipline
- Sleep Patterns
- Workout Regiment
- Intrinsic Motivation
- Focus Mode
- Communication Skills
- Celebrating Small Wins
- Strategic Delegation
- Adopting Empathy
- Taking ownership For Mistakes
- Reception to Feedback
- Proactive Problem-Solving
- Growth Mindset
- Focus on Productivity
- Communication Patterns
- Soft Skills
- Adopting Creative Thinking
- Critical Thinking
- Time Management
- Dealing With Stress
- Eating Patterns
- Behavior Patterns
1. Defining Success
When you look around the world, you will see all kinds of people. Some are happy with a lot of money, whereas others are happy when they can follow their passions in life. Some are happy when they get to travel all around the world, whereas others find happiness and success in the lifelong bonds and relationships that they have created. Needless to say, success means different things to different people.
If you want to be an exemplary leader, you have to first define and describe what success means to you. Do you care more about the revenue, and the profits, or employee retention is the metric for your success? Do you feel most happy when you can induce inspiration in others, or do you find success in a lot of money? Having a clear answer will make the road to success easy for you.
2. Seeing the Bigger Picture
When you get a stronger position and role as a leader, it can be quite tempting to revel in your success and forget all about the bigger picture. However, this is a crucial mistake that emerging leaders make. Even after you have acquired your dream job, you need to know why you aspired to it in the first place.
The minute you see your vision and your behavior are not aligned with each other, you should stop immediately and start thinking about a different strategy. Make sure you do not fixate on smaller failures and successes, and keep fixed on the bigger picture.
3. Developing Discipline
Whether it is your personal life or your professional life, you need to have discipline in your life. This can start from the smallest things like when to wake up and when to sleep to bigger things like consistency, commitment, and value integration. Discipline not only helps you get ahead in life, but it also allows you to inspire and motivate others to do better.
If you are still not convinced, you can read the life stories of any great leader in history. From Alexander the Great to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, every leader was highly disciplined and did not waver in their behavior easily. This is what set them apart from others.
4. Sleep Patterns
This may appear as unpopular advice, especially when you are thinking about leadership improvement areas. However, one of the reasons why leaders fail in their tasks and are unable to fulfill their potential is that they do not look out for their physical selves. From ignoring their sleep to overdoing themselves, they do a lot that hampers their mental and physical well-being.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that leaders are busy and rarely have time to sleep properly. However, sticking to a tight sleep schedule where leaders give themselves at least 5 to 6 hours of sleep can do wonders in their personal and professional lives.
5. Work Out Regiment
This also comes under the ambit of physical well-being. Imagine a person who has great leadership skills and has all the potential of doing something great. Imagine this person is also lucky and has gotten their dream job and desired position in the company. Now imagine this person getting tired easily, especially when involved in physical activity. Would that person be able to inspire anyone? Certainly not.
Working out is not only about looking gorgeous or fit. In most instances, it is about remaining healthy and giving your body the much-needed boost to keep going. People who work out frequently are more active, tireless, and can remain mentally active while doing complex things.
6. Intrinsic Motivation
A lot of times people become leaders, and then they do not know what else to aspire to. Since they have always dreamt of becoming a leader, once they become that, they are unable to find out any other motivation for themselves. This is where a lot of leaders make mistakes. It is one of the most important reasons why leaders make bad decisions.
It is important to know your intrinsic motivations in life before you do anything else. This motivation can be money, fame, or respect. However, regardless of what this motivation is, it should come from an internal rather than an external source.
7. Focus Mode
It may be difficult to retain one’s focus at all times. However, you can go into focus mode every time you start working. This is a conscious effort that you need to make because it does not come naturally to many people. A couple of ways in which you can do it is to reduce the number of distractions surrounding you.
You can start by sitting in a secluded and isolated room or office where you are unable to see through the glass office walls. Next, you can have a food and restroom break before opening your focus mode. Moreover, make sure you put your phone on silent when you are working. All this adds to your focus.
8. Communication Skills
We can not stress enough how many leaders lack good communication skills and how essential it is to improve upon them. You can have the most spectacular of thoughts and ideas, however, if you are unable to articulate these ideas well, all else will seem redundant at best. It can be difficult for you to communicate your ideas, especially when you have complex ideas to present.
A couple of ways in which you can improve your communication skills is by first writing down your vision and your ideas on paper. Next, you can stand in front of a mirror and practice your presentation or your speech. Additionally, you can pre-emptively write down all the potential questions and answer them beforehand. If you want to hone your leadership skills, you can register with Best Diplomats.
9. Celebrating Small Wins
In the quest of doing something big, great leaders often forget the importance of celebrating smaller wins and achievements. They wait and wait and wait until they finally get their moment and then celebrate. More often than not, this celebration seems to be not enough, especially for the plethora of employees working under you.
If you want to keep yourself and others motivated and come off as an appreciating boss, you need to give credit wherever it is due. This can be in the form of holding official dinners and lunches. You can also hold parties so that your employees can know that their hard work is being valued.
10. Strategic Delegation
One of the ways to transition from a doer to a leader is to practice strategic delegation. When you have spent all your life doing all the work yourself, you can sometimes become too reliant on yourself. Self-reliance is a positive attribute, however, sometimes it can prove counterintuitive to your role as a leader.
You should know which tasks can be performed easily by others. By delegating responsibilities and handling tasks to your employees, they will also feel validated and know that you trust them. Additionally, it will reduce some load off your back and will give you time and energy to do other things.
11. Adopting Empathy
As time has passed, there is more and more awareness of the rights of employees and how they deserved to be treated with the utmost respect. Many laws require leaders to be hospitable towards their employees. However, most leaders do the bare minimum.
Leaders need to be empathetic, especially when it comes to the junior staff. Rather than rejecting their contributions and treating them as sub-par humans, leaders need to understand the problems of their employees and give them concessions where needed. This is one of how leaders can reduce toxicity in the workplace.
12. Self- Accountability
Accountability is often associated with employees. Leaders expect everyone to be accountable for their actions. However, accountability should not be limited to others only. Leaders need to hold themselves accountable as well. This ensures that leaders fulfill their job description and do not slack off on their official responsibilities.
Additionally, holding oneself to a standard helps keep you consistent and allows you to make a conscious effort to better yourself. Moreover, you can increase the role of Human Resources in your offices, so it is easy to create accountability within the office.
13. Taking Ownership of Mistakes
Leaders fail and there is no shame in it. From the most popular and famous world leaders in history to current heads of state, there is hardly any leader who has always seen success in their life. This is why leaders must take responsibility for their actions and admit their mistakes where needed.
Most leaders have a habit of putting the entire blame for a failure on their teammates. They do this because they want to retain trust in leadership. However, in doing so, they do the complete opposite. They lower the respect their team has for their leadership capability. By taking ownership of mistakes, leaders appear to be more trustworthy.
14. Reception To Feedback
As leaders, the prospect of accepting feedback can be difficult. You may consider yourself to be perfect. However, if we are to learn from history, we know how important feedback is. But contrary to what you think, you will not have to embarrass yourself in front of a huge crow. There is another way.
Create an online survey, or have someone from your HR office create one. Next, send it to all your employees and have them fill it out anonymously. Ensure that their answers will remain confidential. Next, hire an individual tester to create a data sheet out of the answers and combine them into a tabular form. You can now read the suggestions and feedback left by your employees and use that to improve your leadership style.
15. Proactive Problem-Solving
Many leaders can fix a problem when it arises. However, if you want to improve your leadership, you need to solve problems proactively. This means that you need to think of potential problems before they even occur, and prepare yourself and your team with potential solutions to every problem.
For example, if you are about to initiate a new plan, you should pre-emptively know the drawbacks of the plan. You should also counter potential external stimuli that can hamper your plan. Should your plan fail, you should already be ready with alternative pathways to take. This will help avoid the many reasons why leaders fail in their jobs.
16. Growth Mindset
When we talk about a growth mindset, most people automatically think of numbers and revenues. Although it is important to care about the sort of profits you make, there is something more important that needs your attention. By having a growth mindset, you ensure that your company is not stagnant. Rather than fixating on just growth, look for exponential growth.
You can start by spending money on staff training that helps in the long run. Additionally, you can create equitable policies that make your office a favorable environment for potential new employees. Moreover, you have to ensure you create a positive soft image for your company, so it is not seen in a negative light by anyone. Avoid controversies such as the one that destroyed Balenciaga.
17. Focus on Productivity
This may come off as very cliché advice, but it works in the long run. If you are producing a million products every month, you should aim for producing 10 million within the next couple of years. Most companies remain stagnant because their leaders are too scared to take the necessary risks.
Even if you have to dilute some shares, invest in some heavy resources and put your company out there, you need to make the necessary changes to increase productivity. Only by challenging the big players in the market can you grow and appear to be a force to be reckoned with.
18. Communication Patterns
It is a truth universally acknowledged that many people have exemplary leadership skills, but are unable to get ahead in life because they don’t focus on their verbal and non-verbal communication skills. No one is born a natural leader; leaders are created, and this requires continuous effort and hard work.
If you lack proficiency in a language, you will have trouble communicating your ideas effectively to other people. Rather than learning through trial and error, make sure you join classes or some courses that help hone your language skills. Additionally, practice your speeches and your presentations in front of a mirror. This helps you improve your facial expression and hand gestures.
19. Soft Skills
Most people ignore soft skills when it comes to leadership. They underestimate the importance of having the ability to effectively and harmoniously talk to other people. Leaders need to interact with others all the time. From their employees to their clients to their peers, effective communication, and not just communication, is vital.
Soft skills allow people to be likable and come off as welcoming to others. It enhances a person’s image in front of others and makes them more approachable. In short, soft skills allow a leader to retain their position for the foreseeable future.
20. Adopting Creative Thinking
In an ever-changing world where powerful tools like AI are taking over the market, you need to change your strategy if you want to be big. Adopting creative thinking is essential because it allows you to get ahead of the competition and prove to be a game changer in the market.
However, many people mistake creativity for hard work. A creative leadership style allows you to find an easy solution to complex problems. We saw a lot of big businesses come up with smart ideas to deliver their products during Covid. The leaders who were too shy and did not experiment with new techniques had to bear a lot of losses and finally failed during times of crisis.
21. Critical Thinking
Is it better to critique your work, or do you prefer other people to see your work and critique it? Most people would not like criticism, even if it is positive criticism. So what can leaders do to avoid this? Is there a way of thinking critically about your work? There certainly is.
The best way to include critical thinking is to critique your work yourself. After finishing your work or a task, take some time to evaluate it the way it would be seen by the audience. Most people tend to not find fault in their work. They think about their work too optimistically. If you want to be a better leader, make sure you become the harshest critic of your work. This will save you a lot of trouble later.
22. Time Management
The roles of a leader are immense. From creating tasks to allotting them effectively, a manager or a leader has a lot on their plate. Coupled with professional tasks, a leader also has to worry about their personal lives. Not being able to handle everything effectively can take a toll on a person’s life. This is why leaders are taught effective time management in all good training programs like Best Diplomats.
A couple of things that can help you manage your time well include listing out all the tasks you have to do before the day you have to complete them. Additionally, you should try to use organizational tools like Trello to help you set up your operations effectively. This will reduce the time and energy needed to get individual updates on projects.
23. Dealing With Stress
Worrying about things is part and parcel of your job. However, leadership comes at a huge stake and can mess up your mental health. You can not let this happen. You will have to minimize your stress levels or find ways to deal with stress pre-emptively. Different things work for different people. You need to find your jam.
Most people go out for a run when they are stressed, or hit the gym. The rush of endorphins helps clear a person’s mind. Other people leave their work and go out with their friends or family to clear their heads. Some also prefer taking a nap and letting sleep take over their bodies. Regardless of which of these solutions work for you, make sure you include them in your life and do not let stress take the best of you.
24. Eating Patterns
Your body is your best friend when it comes to any life challenge. You can not expect your body to stay up and not tire if you do not take care of it. People who gain weight, eat carelessly or ignore their health problems for a long end up failing at their day-to-day tasks. From frequent visits to the doctor to the inability to focus on tasks, there is a lot that you can face if you do not eat healthily.
Different people have different dietary needs, however, almost everyone needs a good amount of minerals and vitamins to keep their energies up. Make sure you reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat and keep oily foods and high-calorie foods for weekends or special occasions. Additionally, make sure to add a good amount of protein to your food. This helps keep you active and energetic throughout the day.
25. Behavior Patterns
You can be a great leader that is honest, shows integrity, and shows immense focus one day and then changes to an entirely different person the next day. People who are unable to show consistency in their behavior patterns rarely succeed as leaders. They are also less likely to inspire trust in their leadership.
Making sure you have solid and consistent behavior is extremely important. Avoid changing your attributes according to the situation. You can not be strict about inclusivity and diversity one day and then show biases and discriminate against minorities the next day.
Which Leadership Improvement Areas do Managers Need to Prioritize
The skills a leader possesses need to be unmatched. Even if there are other people more skillful, make sure you try to match their skills or beat them. This will secure your leadership position and not make you feel threatened by a more qualified person. For example, a leader heading and manufacturing company should be well aware of the ins and outs of the manufacturing process.
Skills end up being redundant if a person’s performance does not reflect on their superior skill set. When you take up a leadership position, create the highest standard for yourself, so you can keep your performance in check. Try to beat your performance of the past with your performance in the future. This is the only way you can exceed expectations.
Mentoring and coaching are integral parts of leadership. Leaders who are focused on their progress and do not spend any time on mentoring and channeling the potential of their employees fail in the longer run. If you want to see your organization grow and show positive results, make sure you train your staff members and give them good advice that helps them work more effectively.
Having a good office culture is important for two reasons. Firstly, it keeps your current employees happy and satisfied. They feel like they belong in a hospitable environment that cares for them. Additionally, it makes them feel validated and respected. Secondly, it creates a good soft image for your company. The latter helps encourage more potential employees to apply to your company.
Trust works both ways. If you want to be able to trust your employees and take them at face value, your employees need to have that with you as well. To build trust in leadership that lasts, make sure you show consistency and compassion in your character. Your employees will be able to respect and revere you if they know you have a solid and persistent character that does not easily waver.
Learn to Hone Your Leadership Skills With Best Diplomats
We have listed down a lot of leadership improvement areas. It can feel like a daunting task to work on them individually and give all of them an equal amount of attention. You can feel overwhelmed if you tackle them individually and make yourself feel tired. However, do not worry, we have got a solution for you.
Best Diplomats provides a comprehensive environment for potential leaders all around the world. From working on individuals’ communication skills to helping them hone their other admirable attributes, the organization is focused on making you the best of the best.
Holding conferences in several cities such as Dubai, Istanbul, New York, and others, give you a diverse set of options to choose from. Apart from improving your leadership skills, you will also leave this training with lifelong bonds and lifelong lessons.
There is no limit to improvement. You can spend your entire life trying to hone your skills and still not be perfect, but that is exactly our point. To be a great leader, you do not have to be perfect; you simply have to be the best at your job. You have to be the best version of yourself.
By focusing on the 25 leadership improvement areas mentioned above, you can follow in the footsteps of world-famous leaders. If you are unsure of where to begin, join the training at Best Diplomats.
What Are Some Leadership Weaknesses?
There are a plethora of leadership weaknesses that leaders have to tackle every single day. Some common weaknesses include
1. Lack of trust in and by employees
2. Ineffective communication
4. Exclusive leadership style
5. Inconsistent patterns
What Are Some of the Most Potent Leadership Challenges?
On the road to effective leadership, leaders have to tackle a lot of challenges. For starters, emerging leaders have to work hard to come into the limelight and become noticeable. Once they reach the leadership position, they have to make others like and respect them. That is not all, as leaders progress in their role, expectations from them grow and push them to work even harder. On top of that, leaders are made to sit on a pedestal, which means that they are not expected to make mistakes like common people.
How to Assess My Leadership Improvement Areas?
Many people struggle with this question. They want to improve, but they are unsure of where to start and what to do. Most people struggle with the following things. Make sure you work on these areas before you proceed to the others.
1. Time management
2. Positive self-expression
3. Prioritize teamwork and connections
4. Practice multitasking
5. Getting feedback