5 Ways to Enhance Your Skills as a Leader

When you pause to think about a position of a manager, leader or a business owner, which roles do you assume come as paramount? Is the CEO of a steel mill expected to fully understand the process of steel manufacturing or properties of steel more than the chemists and engineers employed there? Of course not. Are you supposed to know more about bookkeeping than your accountants? Is your job to keep track of your sales better than your CFO? Once again, no.

If that’s the case, then what is a leader’s job? Leadership is a complex structure and knowing which factors matter is the key to giving your own skills a boost. Here’s a look at some of the ways you can enhance your skill set and grow as a leader.

1. Show genuine interest in people

Author Dale Carnegie said in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that a lot can be learned by observing one of the world’s most efficient friend-makers – dogs.

While this may be dismissed as silly, think about it for a second. How does an animal that can’t utter a single word instantly win over a person they saw for the first time in a matter of seconds? The answer to is brilliant in its simplicity — dogs show a genuine interest in people. According to a veteran writer and author Robert Brault, true charisma isn’t just saying hello. It’s dropping whatever you’re doing at the moment to say hello to a person and give them your full attention.

2. Learn how to actively listen

Mastering the art of active listening might be harder to do than you expect. Invest an extra bit of effort into learning and memorizing the names of everyone you work with. This allows you to learn more about them and shows that you have been listening. Don’t be afraid to write it down or make a mental map to better memorize and make sure you get it right. When speaking to your employees, try actively listening to them. Ask an occasional question or two and avoid interrupting any other conversations in progress.

3. Discipline and authoritarianism are not the same thing

Enforcing discipline in the office is not the same thing as ruling with an iron fist. The difference ultimately lies in your ability to communicate. If you stress the importance of discipline in the office, you may be considered strict but fair. On the other hand, if you start enforcing discipline in seemingly menial things without any explanation, you will be seen as autocratic which is bound to cause problems in the long run.

4. Acquire new skills and knowledge

While you don’t have to be an expert in your company’s field to be an effective leader, it’s still good to understand basic information about the industry. The more you know, the more you are worth. As long as this self-growth isn’t distracting you from completing any core tasks, you can rest assured knowing that you’re on the right path.

5. Developing situational awareness

Every situation is a specialized case of its own. No matter how similar it may be to another one, there might be some factors that alter how you make your decisions. Don’t be too hasty to jump to conclusions. Instead, focus on developing situational awareness. Gather as much information as you can about the situation and consider all possible outcomes to ensure that your actions are not putting your business at any risk.

Being a leader is a great responsibility but it’s also a great privilege. You may take the fall for any failures, but you also get to enjoy the effects of any positive actions made. This allows you to act independently and become the maker of your own fate. Whether or not this experience is a positive or a negative one will depend on your ability and willingness to grow as a leader. By utilizing these four skills, however, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Ian Pearson is a business consultant with Futureproofology, He’s also passionate about sports, nature, a and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up-to-date with HR innovations and development.