A lot of leadership tips take time to develop. So I wanted to come up with a quick list of immediate actions anyone can take to improve their leadership skills. Will these, alone, make you a great leader? Of course not. But they will help you on your path to becoming a better leader.
1. Block Time for Work & Reflection
We’re all busy. But if you’re in a management role, chances are your calendar fills quicker than others. That’s why it’s important to schedule time to get your work done and to reflect. Leadership requires reflection time to step back from the noise. If you don’t schedule time to get your work done as well, you will have great ideas but never the time to implement them.
2. Visit the Team
Management by walking around is not a fad. It is as important today as ever. If your team doesn’t see you taking an interest in them and their work, they won’t believe you’re committed their success. These impromptu conversations are also key to uncovering issues. To be a great gardener, you have to pull even the small weeds.
3. Listen More / Talk Less
God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them accordingly. Plant the seeds in your team with open questions then stop talking. Listen to their response. If it’s short, ask a prying question.
4. Lather, Rinse & Repeat
Hair care directions say, ” lather, rinse and repeat as needed”. As a leader, your messages must be lathered, rinsed and repeated.
Lather: Ensure the vision is thoroughly communicated.
Rinse: Get that same message back from the team. Do they comprehend and support the message?
Repeat: People prefer different forms of communication. You must repeat your message for frequency and medium.
5. Read Thought Leaders
Readers lead and leaders read. If you’re not reading the thought leaders in your field, how can you be expected to lead your team? This counts for your industry and leadership in general. If you think you don’t have time, check out audio books.
6. Share Your Passion
People are motivated by passion. Don’t conceal your passion – use it. If you’re angry about the unethical practices of competitors, show some of that anger to your team. If you know a deadly disease will kill hundreds of children unless your team acts, show that concern in your expression.
7. Meet Someone Unexpected
Staying tight to the same group of people is comfortable. However, this also limits your diversity. Go outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone unexpected. This could be someone in a completely different industry or it could be from a new function in your own organization.
8. Establish Accountability
If you don’t already have it, get some serious accountability. Here are some options to consider:
Accountability Partner: Christians are big on this and I love it. Find yourself someone facing similar challenges and agree to be an accountability partner. Check in regularly with each other to see how is is progressing on commitments.
Blog: One of the biggest reasons I write this blog is for my own accountability. When I’m not acting like a servant leader, it keeps me in check. When I really screw up, my team points it out, “Uhm, Ben, that doesn’t sound at all like what you said in the blog last week…”
9. Be Humble
Vanity precedes failure. Keep your humility in check. We all think we’re the hero in our own story. The question is, who’s story are you really playing a part in? If you’re not humble, chances are you’re a lead character in the wrong novel.
There you have it. 9 actions you can take immediately to improve your leadership skills. I hope you find them helpful in your own development.
Question: What other immediate actions do you recommend for leadership development? You can leave a comment here.
I appreciate your article and it always helps to be reminded of what is necessary to be a great servant leader. I am an unaffiliated Christian. I was taken aback when I read the part on accountability. You said “Christians love that…” Why would you single out Christians? I am quite sure that other faiths, agnostic, and atheists as well, want and require accountability. Thanks.
Thanks for the feedback and raising the question! I did not mean to imply any particular group would not appreciate accountability. Instead, it was my intent to highlight, as a Christian, I’d seen a great deal of accountability partners among our Faith. That’s all. Again, thanks for pointing out the confusion and for the positive feedback!