3 tips to improve your leadership skills

What makes a great leader? Here are three things you can do to help improve your leadership skills.

1. Become a better communicator.

Great leaders are effective communicators. If you struggle in this department, it may be time to hone your communication skills. When it comes to effective communication, practice makes perfect. I used to hate public speaking and avoided it at all cost. Everything changed when I joined Toastmasters International. Whether you’re giving impromptu comments or a prepared speech, every meeting provides an opportunity to speak in a supportive environment. Find a club near you to get started.

2. Gain confidence.

Great leaders are confident. Did you know that changing your body language can make you feel more confident?  Regardless of how you really feel, “high-power poses” can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain—tricking your brain into feeling more confident. Amy Cuddy’s TED talk will explain how. Try a power pose before your next big meeting or interview.

3. Develop self-awareness.

Great leaders have self-awareness. They understand and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. They embrace their failures, learn from them, and know that they must do better. You can start to develop self-awareness by taking a free online assessment to better understand your personality, style, and strengths and weaknesses.


Failure is an option

Traf-O-Data 8008

Have you ever heard of Traf-O-Data 8008?  If you answered “no,” you’re not alone. Bill Gates’s first attempt at entrepreneurship was a bit of a flop. Traf-O-Data 8008 was supposed to turn traffic tapes into useful data. Things were so bad that the product didn’t work during a demo for a local County government.  Some time later, the State of Washington began offering free traffic processing services, ending the need for Traf-O-Data 8008. Instead of giving up, Bill Gates used his first failure to help lay the foundation for what would become Microsoft.

A Key to Success is Failure.

Failure is an option that can bring growth and resilience. Many of the world’s greatest business executives, sports athletes, and leaders attribute failure as a key to their success.

‘Shark Tank’ investor Kevin O’Leary likes to invest in entrepreneurs who have felt the sting of failure because he believes “they have a better chance in the future.”

Make the failure work for you

  1. Separate yourself from the failure. You are not a failure. Something you tried didn’t work.
  2. Accept the failure and move on. You can’t change the past so stop dwelling on it.  The time and energy you spend talking and thinking about the failure could be used on moving forward.
  3. Think about what the experience has taught you. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow. What aspects of your approach would you adjust or change?
  4. Shift your focus to something new. It’s time to adjust your focus to something new and exciting. Consider the past failure as an asset.