by Michelle Brooks
Whether you are a marketing executive, working with a team of professional editors and essay writers for companies like this one, or even still in college, the day will come that you will need to complete a group project. However, your role as team member can quickly turn to team leader. Very few people, though, are born with natural leadership skills. In this article, though, we are going to take a look at 7 ways that you can improve your leadership skills.
Use Your Strengths
When you are striving to be a good leader, the first thing you have to do is to know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? By answering these questions, you can take note of what you can bring to the table as a leader and what you need to work on.
When considering your strengths, you are using what you have to be a good leader. When you are looking at your weaknesses, though, it’s a little different. Not only are you looking at what you need to improve on, you are also considering what portions of a project you might want to call on your teammates for help on. Of course, your goal is to constantly improve but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help either.
Work On Your Communication Skills
One of the biggest parts of being a leader is communicating your wants and needs with your team. Without your direction, the team you are leading will quickly fall apart. You should also be sure that when you speak, you sound confident in what you are saying. This means being careful to get rid of any filler words like “um” and “uh”.
You also need to be sure to listen to the people you are leading as well. Making sure that their ideas are heard is a great way to make them want to work for you rather than making them feel like it is their labor that is important rather than them as individuals. The best way to do this is to practice active listening when you speak to your team.
If you are having trouble communicating with your team your wants and needs, you can always take classes in public speaking or communication.
Be Passionate About What You Do
This isn’t always possible – as you will doubtlessly be assigned projects you don’t always like – but if you can find passion in a project, latch onto it. Having an unbridled passion for what you do, though, is a great way to motivate the people around you and help you get the results you want out of a project.
One of the best ways to ensure this is to find a career that you are passionate about. By doing this, you will increase the odds of getting projects that spark your interest and spur on your passion. Even if you get a job that you aren’t as passionate about, look for the silver lining if you can; it will make the project not only more bearable but it will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Don’t Be Afraid To Follow
Sometimes to be a good leader, you first have to be a good team member. This allows you to see the methods of other leaders and learn what makes you feel like a valued team member and take these traits and use them the next time you act as leader. In addition, being a team member also gives you the perspective that you need to command your teams effectively.
Following once and a while also shows the people that you are working with that you don’t have to be in control all the time. They will respect that you can listen to others’ ideas and handle taking commands as well as giving them.
It may sound corny but staying positive will go a long way. Say you are working on a a group project for a college class, for example. If you enter every meeting complaining about how you’re all going to fail the project, you are hardly inspiring your groupmates to work hard and produce the best product that they can.
Learn to Build Teams
When you are leading a project, you won’t always be given a team. Sometimes, you will have to build one from the ground up. This can be done by paying careful attention to the people you work or go to school with. Who pays attention in class and knows the material? Who gets along? Who likes to take the initiative? It may take a little while to learn what traits work well together but it will be worth your time to pay attention to the teams around you.
You Will Make Mistakes
It is crucial that you understand that while you are learning to be a good leader, you will make mistakes. What’s important, though, is how you handle these mistakes. You can’t simply recover from them and never think of them again. Instead, you have to learn from these mistakes and move forward.
This also means that you have to be open to criticism. You can’t get defensive and ignore what your team or your seniors are telling you. Rather, you have to use what they say to improve yourself.