6 Tips to Increase Your Leadership Proficiency

They say you get better with age, but does it just happen? As I thought about this and evaluated my own leadership journey, I realized it does not just happen. You can be growing older but not getting better. It requires deliberate effort to get better at whatever you commit to do.
As a leader, you most likely started out as an entry-level employee, rose to a supervisor, to middle-level management level and then to senior management level. This journey takes time and character adjustments. You need to grow from a personal level to grow your organization. As Jack Welch quoted, “Before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others”
I believe each level requires new skill sets but here are six tips that can help you increase your leadership prowess to take you to the next level:

Engage in Personal Development: You are as good as you believe you are, and thus act in accordance with your beliefs. As a leader, therefore, you can only increase your competencies by being in touch with whom you are and your potential and aspirations. You can enlist the help of an executive coach or a life coach to make this process shorter and more effective.

Be a life student:  Readers are leaders however, as Harry S. Truman put it, “Not all readers become leaders, but leaders must be readers” the difference is in what you read. Read material that is helping you grow to be the leader you want to be.  In today’s competitive market place, the leaders who stand out are the ones who evolve quickly with the trends. The fastest way to keep evolving is through reading your industry reports. However, do not leave it at that put into practice the new methods of doing things that you learn.

Be authentic: The people you are leading can tell when you are being real with them or not. Always be honest when interacting with every employee to the biggest customer. Being honest includes owning your mistakes; every so often, you make a wrong decision. When you push the blame to others, you lose credibility with your staff. However, when you are open, you build trust with your staff; you know that without trust, you will have no followers.

Be a Visionary: This means you do not accept the status quo and are open to new information. A visionary leader has a vivid imagination and can paint the future today. When you have the ability to visualize the future and write it on paper as a vision. Then inspire others to work towards it, you set yourself apart. Do not be afraid of taking risks as long as you believe in your vision. As a visionary, you should not only take big risks but also calculated ones. Therefore, you will put together your action plan with a specific strategy in mind.

Be a good Communicator: You can have all the right strategies to propel your organization forward, but if you lack good communication skills, they will remain as ideas. Cultivate your communications skills, both verbal and written. The result will be a team that knows exactly what the vision is and how to go for it. Good communication is not one sided, you need to be an active listener. Listening to your staff is important because they have ideas that will contribute to your vision and make it larger. With open communication, your team will reach great milestones faster.


Mentor others: Your expertise and achievements puts your name out there. Did you do it all alone? Chances are you didn’t but worked with a support system of your staff and fellow mentors. Your expertise comes together when your team is right behind you, moving when you move and halting when you halt. However, after it all, you will pass the mantle to someone else. The best thing to do is to mentor others. Through mentorship, you can inspire them to become the best version of themselves and learn from your mistakes.
In conclusion, step out and be the leader that you are meant to be. Incorporate the above six tips into your growth plan and enjoy the ride to top management.

                                                                                                (Jim Iyoob, 28/7/2015)
What is your action plan to improve your leadership skill?

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