23 essential tips for improving your leadership skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leadership skills are essential for modern employees. Even if you're not in a leadership position, demonstrating core leadership skills is extremely attractive to employers. Therefore, it's important to improve your leadership skills, regardless of your job role. In this article, we explore some of the most effective ways in which you can improve your leadership skills as either a leader or an employee.

Related: A guide to management vs leadership skills (With tips)

23 tips for improving leadership skills

Utilising tips for improving leadership skills can help you excel in your personal and professional life. You can do this in a number of ways and may introduce these methods to others. Below are 23 effective tips to help you develop your leadership as an employee:

1. Plan ahead of schedule

Planning ahead of schedule is a crucial method for improving upon existing leadership skills. This is because being a leader means being as prepared as possible throughout the course of a project or the workday. Planning ahead of schedule helps to embed proactive thinking and create a better workflow.

Related: 12 Types of Work Schedule: Explanation, Examples and Tips

2. Be decisive

Leaders are decisive in their actions. Practising being decisive helps you to improve your leadership ability and is useful in a wide range of situations. Being decisive also helps to reinforce your authority, which earns you respect from your colleagues and employees.

3. Seek mentorship

The mentorship of a leader who has been in your current position is invaluable because they can offer practical advice on how to advance in your career. This can also help you improve your current leadership abilities. They can also provide emotional and physical support if and when it's needed. Having a mentor can offer not only ways to grow professionally in your current role but also how to grow your career.

Related: How to ask someone to be your mentor (plus benefits)

4. Be firm in your delegation

A core part of improving your leadership skills is to be firm in your delegation of tasks to employees or colleagues. This demonstrates your ability to actually lead the team and also helps to maintain your authority. Also, delegating to the best teammate for the project can show your intuitiveness with the staff and their strengths and weaknesses.

Related: How to delegate tasks in 9 steps (plus skills and importance)

5. Improve your communication

Communication is a core component of being a successful leader. This means that it's important to consistently work to improve your communication, both written and verbal. In doing so, you also strengthen bonds among employees and help to secure cohesiveness within the team.

6. Train others as you were

A great way to improve your leadership skills is to train others in the same manner as you. This serves a dual purpose. Not only does this help to teach the next generation of leaders, but it also helps to solidify your understanding of your own role.

Related: What are the main responsibilities of a team leader?

7. Collaborate with team members

Improving your leadership skills involves more than simply being a leader. Collaborating with team members allows you to understand more about what they bring to the team and what their responsibilities are. This results in a more cooperative team and mutual understanding between you and your team.

8. Build a reliable team

Having a team that you can trust to fulfil their tasks is imperative. Part of improving your leadership skills is learning what a reliable team looks like and how you can build a team that you know shares your vision. This is something that you can develop over time as you get to know the skill set of each individual in more detail.

9. Maintain high standards

Effective leaders set high standards and are able to maintain them. Leaders not only set high standards for their team but also for themselves. Maintaining high standards as a leader inspires the team to mirror your efforts, resulting in a better term of leadership.

10. Practise positive reinforcement

An important element of being a leader is not only telling people what to do but also letting them know when they have done something well. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to achieve this. By practising positive reinforcement, you're letting employees know you value them.

Related: What is a positive working environment? (With benefits)

11. Approach conflict confidently

A good leader is able to deal with conflict resolutely and confidently. This is why it's important to approach situations of conflict with complete confidence. In using this mindset, you enforce the authority that you may expect to have as a leader and prompt employees to respect you more. This makes it easier for you to lead.

12. Take the initiative where possible

Successful leaders use their initiative. Demonstrating initiative showcases your ability to lead, and taking the initiative wherever possible also develops your ability to think outside of the box. Taking the initiative can also encourage others to do the same.

13. Invest time in upskilling

Upskilling your leadership skills is an invaluable investment in the modern employment economy. There are numerous upskilling courses that you can take, both free and paid. Upskilling allows you to develop many of your essential leadership competencies, which strengthen your appeal as a leader.

Related: Upskilling: importance and benefits

14. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

A good leader is able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in equal measure. This allows you to reflect on the areas to improve on so that you can become a better leader of your team. You can then transfer this sharpened evaluative skill when you're leading a project or undertaking a task.

Related: Inspirational leader characteristics plus how to become one

15. Possess a compelling vision

Having a compelling vision to guide you is critical for a leader. This allows you to lead a team with conviction and passion, and both employers and employees respect this ability. Leaders who possess a vision for their project or team are able to utilise this vision to reach goals efficiently and on time.

16. Be committed to your cause

Being committed to a cause is crucial for a leader. If you are looking to improve your leadership skills, believing in a particular cause with conviction is a great way to remain focused on the job at hand. There are many causes that a leader can believe in, be that working for social justice or looking to better internal affairs.

17. Expand your network of connections

Successful leaders don't lead alone. Instead, a secure network of connections backs them up. They can help to amplify the leader's voice and provide essential resources where and when this is necessary. Useful connections can include previous colleagues, mentors, suppliers or employers.

18. Motivate and get motivated

Effective leaders know the importance of giving and taking in equal measure. Motivation is one of the key skills where this applies. Using your own motivation to prompt others allows you to understand more about what drives a person, which results in a more understanding style of leadership on your behalf.

Related: Interview question: 'How do you motivate your team?'

19. Aim for transparency with employees

Being a leader means being honest with team members about the current state of a project or a deadline. Practising transparency with employees is one definite way to improve your leadership, as it lets employees know that they can trust you. This helps to build rapport within the workplace.

20. Seek negotiation opportunities

One of the most common duties of a leader is having to negotiate. Whether it's for a contract, an extended deadline, cheaper supply deals or something else, negotiation is a core responsibility for any leader. Seeking out any additional negotiation opportunities where possible helps you to refine this skill.

Related: 9 essential team leader skills

21. Remain humble throughout your career

Regardless of your position as a leader, humility is an important quality. The most respected leaders remain humble throughout the course of their careers, so it is useful to practise this as much as possible. Remaining humble also helps you to gain respect from your team, increasing your authority.

22. Be open to feedback from others

Good leaders are able to take feedback as much as they give it. Be open to any feedback you receive and focus on using it to improve your skills. Being open to feedback also helps to develop your critical thinking and reflection abilities.

Related: The importance of feedback (With types and examples)

23. Lead with courage and conviction

Successful leaders are able to do just what their job title suggests. They can lead their team with both courage and conviction, even in challenging situations. Developing your ability to be a courageous leader helps you to lead a team of individuals with the utmost authority and perseverance.

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