The trick to improving your leadership skills is practice. Being a team leader isn’t about acting in a certain way at certain times, it’s a permanent way of thinking, communicating, and behaving. When you’re at work, you can’t switch the ‘leader-ness’ on and off. You need to embody leadership consistently, in all professional situations.
To improve your understanding of what skills, make a great leader, you can take leadership courses, read relevant books, listen to podcasts, and refer back to our articles. Beyond this, practising and therefore improving your leadership skills can be done in a variety of ways.
The skills such as communication, motivation and accountability are all things that you can improve. There are probably a couple of specific areas that you can identify for further work. For example, if you are a naturally a creative person, you probably won’t have to improve on your creativity (in a work context). However, if you don’t feel like creativity comes easily to you, you’ll know this is something you need to practice.
Being a team leader isn’t a one size fits all job. You need to understand what works for you and the business because everybody has different leadership styles.
In order to become a team leader, you need to act like one. Even if you haven’t been given the role yet, or even applied for the role, it’s never too early to start demonstrating your capabilities.
The first thing is to show initiative. Demonstrate to management that you are engaged with the company and the team. Offer your ideas, speak up for what you believe in and take on additional responsibilities where you can. Find ways to make your team’s working lives easier, and it will get you noticed.
Being a team leader is largely about being a role model for everyone else. Gain your team’s respect by setting a great example. Demonstrate your positive attitude and behave in a respectful, responsible, and forward-thinking manner. A good leader will empower their team to work independently to achieve their goals, by giving them confidence in their own abilities, but they are also someone that people feel comfortable coming to for guidance.
And lastly, but importantly, develop your listening skills. People need to feel valued and listened to at work. This goes beyond nodding your head and glazing your eyes over. You need to make sure you are taking on board what your colleagues tell you and make efforts to learn from it.
Now you know what makes a great team leader, get yourself out there and start proving to your employer that you are prepared for this next stage in your career.