Developing Leadership Skills: The Path to Expertise as a Leader

Are you looking for better ways to improve the production of your team? Do you feel that they have untapped potential that they, for whatever reason, can't summon on their own? It takes a good leader to summon the best out of people.

A key piece to that is developing leadership skills, something that every successful leader does at multiple points throughout their professional careers.

You might be wondering how to improve leadership skills in the workplace. You may be thinking about the different types of leadership skills that you need to lead a team effectively.

Be sure to see below for an in-depth guide on how to develop key leadership skills that you can use in your current position and beyond.

Focus on Keystone Habits

One of the most overwhelming parts of becoming a successful leader is understanding which parts to focus on first. How can you focus on developing your leadership skills, but see measurable results from yourself and your team in the short-term?

In other words: what should you focus on first? It's always helpful to target a keystone habit and work towards improving that aspect first.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about the power of keystone habits and the role they play in helping a leader see manageable results. How can they get the most out of their team?

The idea is simple. Find a habit—any habit will do—and zero-in on helping your entire staff fix it in their everyday lives. 

In the book, Charles Duhigg used the great Tony Dungy (one of the most effective leaders of our time) as an example. When he became the head coach of the porous Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he focused solely on making players practice things so often that their instincts took over right away.

By simplifying the playbook and summoning his players' natural abilities (through repetition on the practice field), Dungy was able to turn around an entire franchise. Maybe your keystone habit is workplace safety. Maybe it's filing paperwork.

Whatever the keystone habit is that you pick, you'll be amazed at how efficient your staff becomes at all other aspects of their job. By correcting one keystone habit, you can fix many other habits while developing leadership skills.

Overcoming the “Popular" Opinion

Intuition is something everyone has, but few react to. This is because the “gut feeling" often advocates that leaders make the unpopular decision.

Believe it or not, many leaders struggling with handling the peer pressure from their own team. Only a successful leader will learn to develop their intuition and use it to make an informed decision, then act on it.

Your inability to act on intuition will cost you dearly in the end. For example, if you see a worker breaking safety rules, your gut says to correct them, teach them, and even penalize them if they continuously break the rule.

While that might not be the “popular" thing to do, it's the right thing to do. If you choose not to, there might be a serious injury that results from the very thing you chose not to correct. Developing leadership skills isn't about becoming best friends with your staff. It's about being an outstanding example for them to follow day-in and day-out.

Consistency is Key

Anyone can crack down on workplace safety rules for a day. Even the most negligent of employees can show up to work with a positive attitude every once and a while. However, the best leaders do the right thing every. single. day.

Developing leadership skills is a commitment. You need to dedicate yourself to learning and applying constructive time management skills, building emotional intelligence, producing positive work environments, and so on.

To stay consistent, you need accountability. First, start by writing down goals that you can focus on each day. Be sure to invest in executive coaching to continue developing leadership skills and how to apply them to your job.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is what separates a good leader from a great leader. It's the defining trait of developing leadership skills that will help you forge your career and get the most of any staff that you lead.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, emotional intelligence is when you have the capacity to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, then manage them effectively.

It goes a long way in resolving conflict. This could be anything between settling a dispute between two workers, handling a disgruntled employee, or figuring out how to get the most production out of your team.

It's also critical to lowering the stress in your workplace. The more you can decrease stress, the better production and cognitive thinking you'll get out of your team.

What Is Your Leadership Style

Effective leadership comes in many different styles. For example, think of historical figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Two phenomenal leaders, two completely different leadership styles.

You need to understand the type of leader that you are to get the most out of yourself. If you're a laid-back person by nature, then you won't do well trying to be an autocratic leader (someone that makes all the decisions and expects their staff to follow).

Take some time for reflection. Who are you as a person? What is your nature? How can you go about developing leadership skills to reflect that?

Going through executive coaching can help you uncover the leadership style that you have and how you can get the most out of it. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership style is just as important.

Developing Leadership Skills Starts Today

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on developing leadership skills and how they can get the most out of your staff, be sure to use them to your benefit.

Be sure to read this article for more information on employee relationship management and how you can effectively build relationships with your staff.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.