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How to develop as a Leader?

by Elizabeth Harmon

Whether you’re already leading others, or you would like to become a successful leader in the future, leadership is an important skill you need to master in order to progress your career. Some people are natural leaders but don’t worry if you feel your leadership skills are limited. You can learn these skills and develop them over time by gaining experience.

It’s difficult to outline the exact skills you need to be a powerful leader as there isn’t one single view of what makes the “perfect” leader. There are many different leadership styles, with each one working for different people and in different situations. However, below are some key things you should consider, to develop your skills, regardless of the kind of leader you want to become:

1. Carry out Self-reflection

Take some time to understand what your key strengths are and how you can use these to your advantage as a leader. Make sure you consider what your weaknesses are too and address your shortcomings so you can develop. Whilst you should initially answer these questions yourself, you should also get feedback from colleagues as they see your leadership from a different perspective.

2. Learn from others

One way of developing is by looking for leaders who you admire. Consider what characteristics they possess that make them effective. These may be leaders in the public eye such as Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos or Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Alternatively, it could be people who are in your business that you may be able to approach and ask for them to become your mentor.

3. Improve your communication

Good communication skills are something everyone in business needs to have. But for leaders, communication skills are even more important to master. You must be able to explain things clearly and effectively, so nothing is misunderstood or misinterpreted. You should use your communication to build a good rapport with your team and show assertiveness. But, being a leader is not all about making sure your voice is heard. You have a team of skilled people around you and you can gain more knowledge and insight from them if you actively listen. You can learn a lot from people’s body language too so it’s important to consider this.

4. Develop your emotional intelligence (EQ)

As a leader, it’s important to possess good emotional intelligence. This means that you should not only be aware of your own emotions (such as happiness and stress levels) but also be perceptive of the emotions of other people around you. You should be able to review situations and act accordingly. Issues that are avoided by having good EQ or that are resolved quickly will help employees stay happy, engaged and productive.

5. Develop your skills with Open Colleges

If you want to develop your leadership skills Open Colleges Leadership and Collaboration Library could be the perfect fit. You will have access to over 4,000 digital assets, which include eBooks, audiobooks, book summaries, audio summaries and video courses. You can learn about influence and persuasion, leading teams, managing risk, developing as a leader and much more.

We understand that it’s not always easy to find time to learn when you have a busy work and personal schedule, but that’s where our mobile app will come in handy. This allows you to learn anytime from anywhere, so you can learn when it’s convenient for you.

Whatever stage you are at in your career, it’s important to develop your leadership skills. If you already have a leadership role, it will mean you will be able to lead your team much more effectively. If you are waiting for the perfect leadership opportunity, developing your skills now will mean you will be ready to spring into action when the time comes.

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