Be honest: What future do you see for your career?
Many workers start out in basic positions such as sales or customer service. Typically, these workers have a long-term goal of moving into management or other leadership positions.
However, you can afford to wait until you become a manager to develop leadership skills. In fact, you’ll probably never get the job in the first place if you don’t have a demonstrated history of business leadership.
How can you develop such a history? Keep reading to discover our guide to becoming a better business leader!
Getting Your Hands Dirty
You might dream of becoming a manager because you’d like to escape the day-to-day stresses of your current job. But make no mistake: The best leaders are the ones who aren’t afraid to step in and get their hands dirty when a job needs to be done.
This means you shouldn’t be afraid to hop in the sales chair and close a major deal. Or step up to the customer service desk and deal with a pesky client. Instead of leaving these challenges to others, treat this as your chance to show others how it’s done.
Ultimately, other employees are far more likely to trust you if you are always willing to walk a mile in their shoes.
Model the Behaviors You Want to See
Our previous tip boils down to “leading by example.” And taking such actions allows you to win the loyalty of your employees even as you show them how things are done.
But leading by example doesn’t stop when the challenge is over. Instead, you must constantly lead by example by doing things like showing up on time, never being late for a meeting, and always letting the meetings you lead out on time.
Those may sound like small things, and they really are. But these small things add up to a big impact when a leader models the behaviors he wants to see from others.
Conduct Regular Self-Assessments
Want to hear one of the most surprising qualities of a good leader? Generally speaking, a good leader understands their own weaknesses better than anyone.
That is because the best business leaders are regularly conducting assessments of their personalities and work performance. This is a bit like conducting a SWOT analysis of yourself in which you clearly judge your assorted strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing your strengths helps you understand which tasks you can personally handle and which tasks you should delegate to others. And understanding your weaknesses helps you work to improve yourself from day to day and week to week.
Trust us: When other employees see your regular commitment to improvement, they will have no choice but to step their own game up!
Always Focus on Empathy
What qualities do you think of when you think of the great leaders you have known? Chances are that you are thinking about their negotiation skills, decisiveness, and vision. But at the heart of all these skills is a real sense of empathy.
On the most basic level, empathy boils down to understanding how others think and feel. This can help you better understand the limits of your employees, navigate interpersonal conflicts, and generally understand the perspectives of others.
Business leadership often involves making certain compromises. But empathy helps you understand how everyone is feeling and reach compromises where nobody feels their needs are being ignored.
Say Yes to Project Opportunities
Are you someone who wants to showcase their leadership abilities to a current employer? One of the single best ways to develop these abilities is to take on additional projects.
Instead of sitting back and saying, “this isn’t my responsibility,” step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish, thanks to your existing skills and experience. And you might be even further surprised at what you can learn by taking on new challenges.
The more you do for the company, the more skills you will develop. And an employee with a proven track record and a willingness to step up when the company needs him is the exact kind of person they will want in a managerial role!
Flexible and Open to New Ideas
It’s true that business leadership often involves crunching numbers. For example, you will likely have to study important analytics each year and develop KPIs to help usher in a successful fiscal quarter.
However, you should never think that leadership is just like solving a math equation. Instead, you should be flexible and open to new ideas that may completely change how your company does things.
Maybe a member of your sales team has a new idea for pitching products to customers. Or maybe a member of your customer service team has ideas about how to handle customer disputes. By listening to these ideas and giving them a chance, you leave yourself (and the company) an opportunity to increase profits, further your company brand, and build trust with your existing workforce.
Work Backward From the Big Picture
What really separates a business leader from the other employees? As you might imagine, it all comes down to the “big picture.”
Here’s what nobody ever tells you about: Actually, developing the big picture is the easy part. Generating fiscal goals and other KPIs is relatively simple. The hard part is figuring out how to turn those goals into a reality!
You must understand the importance of deadlines to the big picture and anticipate problems meeting those deadlines before they occur. And you should ask employees for feedback and ideas on how to meet certain goals. But you’ll also need to be decisive: Not every employee’s idea will be a winner!
But if you are flexible enough, you can effectively work backward from the big picture and give every employee the right responsibilities to help accomplish your goals. In this way, a good business leader can turn their company into a well-oiled machine.
Begin Your Leadership Journey Today
Now you know the best ways to develop your business leadership skills. But do you know how to get your leadership journey started?
Here at Confie, we are always on the lookout for the leaders of tomorrow. To show us what your full potential looks like, come apply today!