From public speaking to chairing a meeting, there are many ways in which you can improve your leadership skills.
With only one in five managers actually qualified in management in the UK, those seeking to improve their leadership skills have typically had to do so under their own steam. While many would benefit from the CMI’s Introduction to Management course, others can look to some more expert advice.
- Meet your guru
If you need help in honing your leadership skills, then find a mentor. Choose the right one and they will be able to share first-hand advice on themes such as presenting to your board, team management skills and finding useful contacts. Mentoring needn’t even be done face-to-face – some even prefer doing it online.
- Grasp your weaknesses
According to the Management 2020 report, leaders of tomorrow will require a large amount of humility to do their jobs, and to continue learning. So rather than simply focusing on your strengths, why not try to improve those weak areas of your managerial game?
- Let talent rip
As your superiors have recognised your talents by making you a leader, so you can thrive by recognising excellence in others. Organisations such as Motorola have thrived in the past by promoting talent at an early stage, and psychologically, you can boost those around you by doing the same.
- Learn to chair a meeting
Given our inherent short attention spans – some say many of us can’t stay focused for more than 10 minutes – meetings should be kept as short as possible. If you are chairing a discussion, try and encourage others to be concise and relevant, as well as remembering that advice yourself. Not only will you gain people’s focus, you’ll also save time.
- Learn to talk
If yours is the type of job that requires you to make a speech from time to time – either at board meetings or at work conferences – then it is worthwhile to learn how to speak in public. Whether you get nervous, speak too much or overly rely on a script, a simple book such as Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking will offer tips and techniques for performing in front of large, sometimes important, crowds.
- Respect your team’s time
Just as you probably don’t appreciate colleagues wasting your time, try not to waste theirs either. The problem is especially pertinent for bosses as few more junior members of staff are likely to tell you that you are wasting their time.
- Look after your body
Staving off dehydration, exercising regularly and maintaining healthy sleeping habits are things that all people should aim for. But among leaders, the tendency is for stress to undo even the most virtuous of intentions. Although you might not feel as though your schedule allows for it, take time to take care of yourself.
- Dig deep
Companies that have a tendency to overcome adversity are also those with leaders that show reserves of determination and grit. That’s according to Management 2020, which sets out some of the qualities much-needed among tomorrow’s workplace leaders. These reserves help leaders manage difficult situations and set the tone among more junior staff that most crises can be overcome.
- Recognise that success is infectious
The Management 2020 (source) report found that successful leaders are expected to achieve consistently high results. In terms of staff morale, high-achieving leaders set a strong example for others to follow.
- Know that you don’t know
And do something about it! In many industries, innovation can be a curse as much as a source of opportunity. The potential for new technologies to overtake the old means that leaders have to be alert to the developments in their market which may make or break them. Likewise with changing legislation.
The Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership has found that good leaders typically strive to learn what is new in their field and constantly ask whether their companies can take advantage of innovation.
Petra Wilton takes a lead role in building alliances and partnerships in the public policy arena and promoting the needs of practising managers through engaging with and accessing the views of The Chartered Management Institute. She is responsible for promoting the needs of practising managers through engaging with and accessing the views of the CMI’s 100,000 plus members. Petra also leads on the development of customer insight and building CMI’s body of knowledge, and she has co-authored many CMI reports. She also set up the Campus CMI initiative to inspire and create confidence in young people through developing their management and leadership skills.