8 Ways To Strengthen Your Professional Leadership Skills

Chi Whitley is a Content Marketer who writes both short and long-form blog posts for clients. Chi also freelances and writes well-researched articles for a plethora of different businesses. Chi depends on his English degree with a specialization in creative writing from Rhodes College (2016 graduate) and from his time as a middle school English and Writing teacher.

There are countless philosophies regarding how someone can become a leader. Some people believe that it’s all about your “leadership style”, and that understanding your style can lead to better results. Others insist that anyone can become a good leader if they follow specific principles or guidelines. 

Leaders should also constantly be learning and improving. The strategies and methods that worked last year may be less relevant due to new competition or technology, and leaders should always be finding ways to strengthen their leadership skills and honing their leadership style.

What makes a good leader, and what steps can be taken to improve as a leader? How can you ensure that your team or organization is as successful as possible? Here, we examine ten ways for you to improve and strengthen your leadership skills.

Motivate Those Around Them

There are many different kinds of leaders out there, but they are all known for motivating and inspiring others. What are some ways that you can further motivate your employees and also strengthen your leadership skills? The best leaders are constantly motivating their employees to be better, and help them strive to become more productive.

One obvious way is to schedule more one-on-one conversations with employees to hear more about their goals, issues, and suggestions. Leaders should also give out compliments and praise when necessary to help motivate employees to remain productive. Even if you aren’t known for inspirational speeches, your passion should be tangible.

The best leaders believe in their employees on a deep level, to the point where they may actively help them develop new skills or even give employees resources to make more informed work-related decisions. Finally, you can motivate employees by getting them more involved in your decision-making, or defining their role clearer.

Remain Humble

Most think of leaders as confident and charismatic individuals, even sometimes bordering on pure arrogance. A leader isn’t just about being likable—it’s about being honest, respectful, and supportive. A true leader recognizes that their humility can help their team members open up more, and it encourages more overall honesty and transparency.

What else can a humble leader do? They can share their past mistakes and explain to those around them what lessons can be learned, rather than being too insecure to share errors they made. A leader that isn’t humble is a leader that cannot learn, which does not bode well in a world where technologies and regulations are evolving daily. A humble leader can also be more easily approached by his or her employees, which means issues can often be solved faster.

There are many reasons why the strongest leaders have to remain humble. It takes teamwork for an entire organization to be successful, and humble leaders can share credit and celebrate accomplishments with the rest of his or her team. A humble leader can also learn from those on his team, and recognizes that just because he or she is the leader; it doesn’t mean that they are always right.

There are many different kinds of leaders out there, but they are all known for motivating and inspiring others.


Ask For Feedback

We all know that being a leader can be difficult. If you’re a leader, you have to achieve specific milestones, handle different personalities, and avoid burnout. The entire time, you are expected to motivate and inspire those that look to you for leadership. How are you supposed to strengthen your leadership skills if you aren’t entirely sure about what you are doing wrong?

Those who are in a leadership position can fall victim to the idea that they never require any feedback. This is a grave mistake that can affect future growth. True leaders aren’t afraid of admitting that they can lead better, and are consistently looking for feedback. It’s also critical that leaders show gratitude that others took the time to come up with relevant criticisms.

You might be offering feedback constantly as a leader, but the best leaders are also ASKING for feedback. This is a straightforward and effective way to improve the way you are leading, and it can also provide insight into what is working and what could use some tweaking. Others will also feel like you value their perspective, so it can often be a win-win for both parties.

It can also enhance the mutual respect you have with others in your organization, and it also proves that you can be vulnerable with others. One additional tip would be to give others time to organize their thoughts and offer you the best feedback possible.

Encourage Innovation

No organization or agency can scale if they are offering the same products and services over and over. Leaders should encourage creativity by providing their team space and time to develop new and exciting ideas, some of which may potentially fail. The point is that innovation requires trying and testing ideas until they become more concrete. 

3M provides employees with “15 percent time,” which encourages them to come up with their own ideas. While some leaders or executives might find this concept silly, it’s important to note that this policy has led to some of 3M’s most successful products—including the Post-It Note. Leaders should encourage experimentation while understanding that not every idea will be a home run.

If your organization does not have a culture where employees are encouraged to innovate, it could lead to stagnation. Your team should have the autonomy and space to remain creative, and leaders should remove any potential “red tape” that could hinder this process. They should also feel like they can come up with ideas without getting shot down immediately.

More Attention To Detail

We all know that perfection is impossible, but leaders should be doing everything they can to ensure that more minor issues don’t blow up into more significant issues. It doesn’t mean that leaders should be control freaks, but it means that leaders can often “connect the dots” when others cannot.

Does this mean that you should be obsessed with the spelling and grammar of every document that your team produces? Of course not. However, a leader might pay attention to which employees are showing up late, the mood of an employee, or noticing who seems to have trouble multitasking.

A leader can detect nonverbal language amongst the team that seems to underlie tension and make an effort to find out what is happening that he or she might be missing. It also means that they can

Delegating Properly

Leaders can be incredibly stubborn, which is why we often see CEOs micromanaging employees and their tasks. However, leaders have to actually lead others to understand their role and execute what is expected of them. If an organization wants to grow, it means that leaders have to delegate well. Delegation can help in various ways: improve resource allocation, increase overall productivity, and improve the general company culture. 

This is more difficult than you may realize. First, leaders have to understand how to hire and train employees. Second, leaders have to define these roles so that others know how much autonomy they have, the expected results, and help them understand how their role fits into the bigger picture. Lastly, leaders should know the engagement level required after they delegate,  and find a balance between being too “hands-off” and being “too involved.”

Manage Conflicts Better

It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you are in— leadership roles require that you can both manage and resolve conflicts. If you can’t get your team to work together, then it doesn’t really matter how much you have planned or strategized. Leaders find a way to communicate with individuals and come to some kind of resolution or compromise.

As a leader, you should know the difference between a simple difference in opinion and true tension that might be bubbling under the surface. Leaders should also know when and where it’s appropriate to intervene. Managing conflicts can also help leaders become more aware of different perspectives in the organization, as well. 

It also means that leaders must confront conflicts rather than ignore them, which can be uncomfortable and difficult. Leaders have to find a way to have tough conversations, but also make sure that they are productive and that everyone learns something from the conversation. Embracing conflict can make you a more effective and mature leader.

Play To Your Strengths

Just like there is no perfect person, there is no perfect leader. You should honestly analyze your own strengths and weaknesses and figure out how you can lead your employees most effectively. Remaining self-aware can also help you truly define your leadership style or philosophy.

If you understand your shortcomings, it means that you can consciously work on them. If you know that you have a temper problem, you can make sure that you take the time out to calmly and rationally assess a situation. It should be noted that it may be hard for you to self-diagnose your weaknesses, and you might want to consult a leader coach or therapist of some kind for some clarification. For more quick strategies and quotes from business moguls on leadership styles, see Chattermill’s visual below:

leadership tactics

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