5 Tips for Developing Your Leadership Skills

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Leadership is crucial to the success of any department or organization. Leaders inspire the workforce to meet challenges and achieve goals. Stepping out front can be daunting, but it can also be rewarding and make that big difference in productivity and success. These tips will help you become the leader than you need to be.

Hone Speaking Skills

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When you think of history’s great leaders you probably picture them delivering powerful speeches to adoring masses. The truth is, whether you’re leading a small department or a nation, good communication skills are crucial. You must be able to clearly articulate your vision, your goals, your intentions, and your expectations to others around you. If your speaking skills need work, consider joining a social group like Toastmasters International to get the practical experience you need.

Be a Better Listener

Remember that good communication is about more than just speaking up. It’s a two-way street, wherein your listening abilities are just as important as what you say. Many people don’t listen well because they’re not present. You can correct this by engaging your speaker whenever possible and appropriate; ask questions, and use clarifying phrases such as “So what you’re saying is …” to ensure you’re really tuned in and getting the full picture.

Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

When issues appear in the workforce, employees look to leaders to rectify them. Your problem-solving skills need to be sharp enough to handle crises and set good examples. It would be very smart to participate in professional problem-solving workshops and seminars. Many companies host them in-house, or sponsor them off-site, at conferences, associations, and colleges. You can also add to your problem-solving skills with brain games that encourage strategic planning, critical thinking, and analytical processing.

Study Leadership

The right degree can also give you excellent training in leadership. A Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) or a Master of Arts in Human Services (MAHS) are excellent options, as these degrees focus on people, the cornerstone of leadership. The MAC is ideal for people interested in counseling in a school or clinical mental health setting, while the MAHS is a more general course of study. These degrees will teach you how to manage personnel, inspire others, and behave proactively in your workplace. Both degrees are available online to give professionals in the workforce the flexibility they need.

Get Happy

Who would you rather follow, an upbeat, optimistic person or a sad sack? Leaders inspire others with their positivity; it’s the force that keeps a team moving forward, even in the face of obstacles. If you’re the type of person who seems apathetic or easily discouraged, these qualities will be reflected in your team. It’s important to not only maintain effective leadership skills in your professional life, but to maintain a healthy and enjoyable personal life as well. What do you love outside of your work environment? Make time for your personal passions and you’re more likely to be in the right headspace for your professional leadership challenges.

Put this advice into practice and you’ll soon find that you’re developing the leadership skills you need to succeed in the workforce.