5 tips to improve your leadership skills

Being a good leader is crucial in helping you unlock your staff’s potential and increasing productivity. But it just doesn’t happen overnight — it comes from a dedication to your staff and a desire to see them succeed.

So, what can you do to develop your leadership skills and keep your team learning and growing? Check out our five tips for improving your leadership skills.

1. Communicate and listen effectively

Communication is crucial to the success of a business. As well as helping your day to day tasks, businesses with effective communication practices are over 50% more likely to have better employee retention.

To improve your communication process, start by introducing one-on-one sessions with your team, where you listen to their concerns and agree on plans to action these issues. This open line of communication will make your team feel valued, and could help increase their motivation. It’s also important to recognise contributions and achievements, as well as providing support — this positive encouragement can go a long way in raising productivity and boosting employee morale.

2. Lead by example

It’s not just enough to be the boss. If you truly want to inspire the best work out of your employees, model those qualities you want to instil in them.

If punctuality is key in your ethos as a leader, lead by example and be the one who’s always there 15 minutes early. If organisation is the quality you value above all else, make sure you hold yourself to that same standard you want to see from your employees.  Be the change you want to see in the workplace – you might be surprised by the impact this has on the way that your staff conduct themselves.

3. Foster creativity

Innovation and ideas are two central components that keep your business growing and expanding. However, they don’t always have to come from your own mind, or even the minds of your management team.

As the ones working and communicating with your clients and suppliers most frequently, your employees are well-placed to come up with those new techniques and processes that could increase your efficiency. Draw those ideas from them by fostering an environment that encourages, and rewards, creativity and innovation. Look for ways to adopt and adapt those ideas into your business. Not every suggestion will be a winner, but you’re sure to find a few diamonds in the rough that might improve your business in ways you might not have previously considered.

4. Lead with passion and enthusiasm

As a business owner, chances are you’re either passionate about what you do or why you do it. Instilling that same passion within your workforce, however — that can be a little trickier.

In any job there can be mundane tasks, so try to focus on the bigger picture. Will it be customers having a memorable experience or a high-quality new product? Or is it an important stepping stone in their own development? By showing your passion for the long-term you can motivate them in their daily tasks.

5. Provide rewards and recognition

The worst mistake a leader can make is to assume their employees know they’re doing a good job. Focus on supporting their self-belief by catching them during the moments when they’re doing well and praising their efforts. Positive reinforcement is key.

Beyond that, it’s also important to remember that rewards are also part and parcel of positive encouragement. Nearly a third (32%) of workers cite incentives and rewards as the biggest motivating factor for job satisfaction. And this doesn’t have to mean a pay rise either — personal appreciation and encouraging happiness and wellbeing in the workplace are even more crucial than the numbers on a paycheque.

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