8 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Time to Improve

This is a post by Alison Brattle. She is a marketing manager at AchieveGlobal, a global sales training and leadership development training firm based in the UK. It specialises in providing exceptional sales management courses and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Alison enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


Being in a position of leadership is something that many people aspire to, but they may not be considering the full picture. In fact, over the years consumers have begun to expect more and more from service providers, leading leaders to feel overstretched and under pressure. If you fall into this category, you’ll be thankful to know that there are ways you can improve your leadership skills and reduce your stress at the same time. Here are our eight best ways to do just that.

1. Always lead by example

Leadership development isn’t something that simply happens by itself, just as business growth does not. For that reason, you need to be seen to always be playing by your own rules. Leading by example means not being afraid to get your hands dirty when necessary. It’ll inspire your team members, and you’ll feel valued too.

2. Work to build the confidence of your team

Everyone wants to feel like they’re good at what they do. For that reason, a good leader should always encourage the team in a way that makes them feel qualified, valued and truly useful. This will increase retention and job satisfaction.

3. Defuse negative situations immediately

As a leader, you need to know when to step in. If you see tension between two employees, you need to act quickly to defuse the situation. This will not only resolve the issue between them, but it will build the trust between you and your team.

4. Build a climate of trust and understanding

Stress can strike a leader when they feel disconnected from their workforce. Likewise, if a staff member doesn’t trust their leader, the company suffers. For this reason, you can improve your leadership by focusing on creating an environment that allows for honesty without retribution. Some of the best ideas can happen this way.

5. Show initiative to improve the business

If you’re seen to be going out of your way to improve the business, it’s very likely that the people you’re leading will too. By inviting them to submit their unique ideas and initiatives along with your own, you can create a more collaborative company whereby all members feel like they have a purpose.

6. Don’t neglect relationships with staff

Your team are the building blocks of your business, and in a sense they’re tools too. But if you consider them as just ‘numbers’ on your payroll, their performance will suffer and so will the business. That’s why it’s so important to nurture real working relationships with staff so that they always feel valued.

7. Stay focused on situations, avoid assigning blame

Things go wrong in business, that’s a fact of life. But when this does happen, it’s easy to look at the person who may be responsible and assign blame. As an effective leader, you should attempt instead to focus on the ways the situation became derailed – and how the employee may avoid this in future.

8. Plan for every eventuality

Leadership training begins with some sort of roadmap to guide you as you lead the company and others. As part of this roadmap, you need to predict where potential forks in the road may appear. If you’re able to predict even a handful of them, you’ll be much better protected than before.

Question: Can you add to the list? What are some other ways to improve your leadership skills?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great post Dan! You got an 8 part series here!

  • I’m a believer in the very first point. “Lead by example.” For too long, I’ve been led by people with dual motives and yet they expect me to lead a different way. It does indeed start at the top. And, it starts with me.

    • Me too David, I tend to write about that a lot but it’s one of the most important elements when it comes to leadership. Thank you for reading and adding to the list.

  • Cool post. Some great principles. Especially loved points 2 and 6. It takes special leaders to be committed to investing in those they’re leading and not just the tasks they’re leading them to complete.

    • I totally agree, Micah. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • I’ve always found that better inter-staff relationships to improve productivity at work, Dan. The better we know each other and like each other, the better we can perform as a team. Nurturing working relationships and paying importance (respect and rewards) for the people who work for you is key to having a successful work team. Also, a principle that’s important to keep in mind in the work place is that every job and every member is key to the success of the organization – there are no more or no less important roles. Businesses and organizations that get that, move ahead.

    • I totally agree, it’s about taking time to get to know and stay connected with those on our team. To build friendships. YES, even the janitor has a part in the overall organizations purpose, without clean toilets no one would want to come to work:) Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • I’m a big believer in leading by example too. I’ve known too many people in leadership positions who really just don’t want to set a good example. In fact, they’ll make so many exceptions on themselves that it distances them from the people they’re overseeing. All that does is create a divide that makes it harder to bridge; that’s not a good way to lead at all.

    • I believe that’s one of the biggest ones when it comes to leadership, leading by example. I’ve seen both good and bad examples of this. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion:)