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10 expert tips to improve your leadership skills – Petra Wilton (CMI)


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Public speaking tips that can make you a better leader – Jason Phillips

Speaking in public is a frightening thing for the majority of the population.

Thankfully, there are many techniques which can be taught to negate your fears and both make you a better speaker and leader. The business environment is like a battle field; if you can’t cope with the competition you’re dead! Here are some tips to help you get over your fear of speaking in front of an audience.

Speaking 1

Listen to yourself

When rehearsing for a speech record your practice runs. When you play them back you will see what your audience sees and understand which nuances you may have which can be annoying or distracting. This is one of the best and most critical feedbacks available. One of the things that most people note is the tendency to say umm or uh. One of the best methods to get over this issue is to write the offending words down and strike a line through them. Leave cards with this by the phone, your desk and anywhere else you feel is appropriate. You will soon break the habit!

Let your body language do all the talking

Possibly more powerful than the words coming out of your mouth is your body language. The way you stand, the way you look or move your hands around can say volumes about you and your level of preparation. Speakers who fidget a lot will appear nervous and the audience will assume you do not know your subject. Relaxed, open poses with expressive arms inspire confidence in yourself and your audience.


When playing back recordings many people dislike the sound of their own voice. You may feel you sound squeaky or too deep. In reality, these are your nerves taking over. The best answer is to say “mmhm” as though agreeing with someone. This pitch is your natural tone and where you should be aiming for when speaking in public. It is also your natural tone and will show your audience that you are relaxed and in control.

Speaking 2


It is a common mistake to speak fast. This may be to get the speech over with or to attempt to get all the information you have in your mind out to the audience. Whatever the reason, if you speak too fast it is highly likely that you will make a mistake and stumble over your own words. Practice and watching your recording will allow you to work out the best speed for you. Slower but not too slow! Providing the talk is constant and without mistakes you are doing well.


Pause to take a deep breath or just to collect your thoughts. Instead of the usually umm saying nothing allows your audience to register what you have already said and be ready for more. The pause can actually be used for you and gives you a chance to stay focused on the subject.

Talk like you write

This may sound a little confusing but often we talk and don’t allow for taking a breath. When preparing a speech, take note of how your sentences and phrases are formatted. Each one should end with a comma or full stop, and so should you when talking. If you make it obvious you are doing it then you are actually driving home your point each time. Equally, nerves can make you forget to breathe and to attempt to babble your way through your speech. The pauses, full stops and commas all give you time to breathe and remain composed. Deep breaths are best to assist in keeping calm under pressure.

Speaking 3

Be enthusiastic

Be able to speak in public is only half the battle. You ill still give a terrible speech and lose the audience if you do not speak with passion. Show the audience you believe in what you are saying and that you are passionate about it. Not only will you retain their interest, you may well inspire some of them to experience what you’re talking about and gain the same passion you have.

Believe it or not, sound public speaking abilities can help you become a fierce leader. For this to actually happen, you have to give up your anxiety and focus on your speech. Be eloquent, genuine, and enthusiastic, and you’ll definitely draw the attention of your audience.

By Jason Phillips and!

Public speaking tips that can make you a better leader

Female Leaders that history books “forgot” – International Women’s Day

Women Leaders

How many did you know?

From the Brighton School of Business and Management, online learning programs

7 Habits of Unsuccessful People – Sam Breen

Good Habits - Bad HabitsGuest post from Sam Breen, at The Gentleman Life

You want to be successful. I want to be successful. I want you to be successful. And I want you to want to be successful.

So, I took a little inspiration from Stephen R. Covey’s book and added a little twist and instead I have listed 7 habits of unsuccessful people, the habits that are holding you back.

Holding you back from what? You may be asking at this point. The answer:

What you want. What you desire. Your life purpose.

I don’t care what it is, if you completely remove the following habits, you can have whatever you want in life.

Habits are patterns of behavior and they can be hard to break. But taking action and applying self-discipline will help you overcome even the most deeply ingrained habits.

You have to practice the habit consciously before it becomes an unconscious effort (when it becomes easy) there is a great quote I love, although I can’t remember from whom I read it. It goes like this:

Firstly, you form your success habits and then, you let them form you.

If you know who it was, comment and let me know because I’d love to give the appropriate credit. What that means is, after you put in all the conscious effort to make your habit truly effortless, they will form you into an entirely different, more successful person.

Maxwell Maltz stated in his amazing book “Psycho-cybernetics” that habits usually take 21 days to form. Other psychologists have agreed and of course, some have disagreed.

Me? I’m a bit dubious that you can fully form a new habit, and replace an old one in 21 days. In my experience it takes longer than 21 days, depending on the habit you are trying to create and how deeply rooted it is into your behavior.

My advice would be to practice your new habit for 60 days, even if you feel it has become a habit before then, carry it on so the habit becomes stronger and stronger thus making them harder to break.

So, onto the list of habits you need to BREAK!

1. Judging others

People who judge other people are only projecting their insecurities onto the world. People who are comfortable in their own skin have no reason to judge others, they just let them do what they do.

The mental energy that you put into judging other people could be used for a more productive purpose. Instead, Why not take a look at yourself, objectively look at your weaknesses and see how you can change them into strengths? Or take a look are your strengths and see how you can make them even better.

Focus on yourself, and your own success and not other peoples.

What you eat don’t make me shit” – J Cole

Also, the negative feelings you feel towards other people manifest to more negativity in your life. Positivity is the way forward, my friend. Spread the love.

2. Being selfish

If you haven’t read Adam Grant’s book ‘Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success’ I would recommend that you do.

The basis behind the book is simple. Be selfless and help people without wanting anything in return. It’s a simple idea that has a powerful effect because everyone out there is out to get; thus, you immediately stand out if you just give for no reason.

There are very few people who give just to give. Most people only give on a quid pro quo basis.

For the book, Grant did a whole lot of research that found the selfless people (Givers) always out perform the selfish people (Takers) in all industries.

Although, you should never exhaust yourself with too much giving. Grant recommends you have a specified day in which you do all your selfless acts. This way you stick on your own life’s path and are able to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.

If you do too much giving you can find yourself without time to achieve your own goals. It’s not selfish to have your own success as a priority.

3. Procrastination

There is a really great point I want to make. I’ll get to it later.

Just kidding.

Now or never.

This is an obvious barrier to success and it’s the biggest reason that dreams are not fulfilled.

People put off overcoming procrastination. Don’t get me started on the irony of that. It’s time to get up off your ass and achieve all the goals you are destined to achieve.

Start now by watching videos of successful people to help motivate you. Then, treat procrastination as a muscle that you need to develop.

You never train a muscle by doing the heaviest weight in the gym if you’ve never trained before. Why? Because you won’t be able to life it.

The same is with procrastination. Don’t try to go from being a couch potato from ultra-productive overnight. Slowly and gradually build up your workload and you’ll find that in a month or two, you have completely banished procrastination from your life.

4. Waiting for the perfect moment

I’ve put this directly after procrastination for a reason. It is procrastination but on a large scale.

There is no “perfect” moment to start a business, to make a change, to join a gym. You need to throw this excuse from your head and straight into the bin marked “Shit I don’t need”

You can tell yourself “First, I need to get this in order, then I’ll be able to do it” or “I have to know this first before I can tackle that”.

What your doing is just feeding yourself bullshit. The time is now. This moment.

Now. Go. Moments don’t get more perfect than this one right here.

5. Having an ego

As you go through life, there are always going to be people you meet that are probably not as smart as you. That’s a given: There’s always someone smarter than you, and there’s always someone less intellectually talented than you.

You need to realize that even if there not at your IQ level, you can still learn something off them.

You can always learn something off every single person you come into contact with.

Don’t listen to your ego when it says “I’m smarter than this guy, I don’t need his help”.

You can’t know everything. But everyone knows something you don’t, and if you can overcome your ego, you can learn a lot more.

6. Trying to make it alone

This ties in a lot with ego. That’s why its come directly after it.

Success without help is impossible. Understand your weaknesses and employ people that have your weaknesses as their strengths.

Understand that you’re not an expert at everything, but expert help is what you need.

7. Being satisfied

I mentioned this every so briefly in Post New Years Resolutions. And I used a quote that I love, so I’m going to use it again. Okay?

Be happy, but never satisfied” – Bruce Lee

Once you becomes satisfied with whatever point you are in your life, you stop growing. And a law of the universe states that nothing ever remains still. Thus if you’re not going forwards… you’re going backwards. Regressing. Devolving. No longer a badass. Until one day you wake up in dirty underwear surrounded by days old pizza boxes wondering how your life took such a dramatic turn.

Okay, you reached your goals you set. Awesome! Reward yourself, and set new one’s. Always be hungry. Never be satisfied. There are always new levels to reach.


There’s your lucky 7!

I hope you practice what I’ve preached.

Commit the next 60 days to changing any of the above habits you possess. In the mean time I would really appreciate it if you could share the page using on off the buttons below; it really helps us grow!

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing! :)