zandax online course logo
Home
 
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login
Learn
Tests

How to Improve Your Leadership Skills in 3 Steps

From the ZandaX Leadership Blog

Articles to help you with developing your leadership skills

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Management Blog  >  Leadership Articles  > 
How to Improve Your Leadership Skills in 3 Steps

How to Improve Your Leadership Skills in 3 Steps

A post from our Leadership blog

      Written by Jordan James
All leaders should continually improve in order to progress in their career. If you aren't growing in your capabilities, and you aren't stretching yourself, then you're either stagnating, or maybe even going backwards. However, if you really want to advance your leadership skills, you'll need to do more than just read a couple of books and attend the annual seminar.

To truly improve as a leader, you need to take a strategic approach to your growth. That means honestly assessing where you are at, mapping out a path to get where you want to go, and later on, reviewing your progress and redefining your goals. It is a cyclical three-step process that should sit at the heart of your continuous professional development.

Knowledge

Below are our top tips on how to improve your leadership skills in three steps.

1. Assess current and previous leadership performance

In any personal growth process, before you dive into action, you need to take the time to clearly understand exactly what it is you want to change. That means assessing your previous performance on leadership tasks and identifying your strengths, weaknesses and blind spots.

Start by looking at specific past situations where you lead people or teams and felt you should have done better. Try to take an objective, third-person viewpoint here. If you were watching the scenario play out on stage, what would be your evaluation?

This can be a tough task. You really have to assess the merit of your specific thoughts and actions: whether you made strong, balanced, decisive decisions, and whether you were able to adapt to the demands of the evolving situation.

By looking at these factors, you can home in on your areas for personal improvement in leadership situations. Here are some questions you could ask yourself:


Team leadership

  • Did you man manage the team well?
  • Did you inspire them to go above and beyond?
  • Did you pay attention to group dynamics, and nudge them towards harmonious performance, and away from dysfunction?


Decision-making

  • Did you take note of the opinions of all the key stakeholders in the process?
  • Did you weigh up options, and balance your decision based on risk-reward ratios?
  • Did you make the decision quickly enough?


Adaptability

  • Did you recognise changing team circumstances and respond to them?
  • Did you recognise changing environmental circumstances and respond to them?
  • Did you adapt your leadership style if you sensed a different approach would be better?
Score yourself out of ten, and come up with a leadership score on these three dimensions. Feel free to come up with other dimensions and questions – the key is to break leadership down into the criteria that matter for your business, and honestly assess yourself.


Find your blind spots

Self-assessment is valuable, but we all have weaknesses that we can't see. We may simply not be aware of them, or perhaps we downplay their importance – either way, it's useful to get outside feedback on your leadership abilities.

Consider putting together a survey for your team members, and ask your superiors to give you whatever constructive feedback they can think of. This 360° review is likely to reveal at least one or two surprising gems.  It nearly always adds more than self-assessment alone, even if you are the most emotionally intelligent person in the loop.

2. Change habits, reshape attitudes, build competencies

Armed with the information from your assessments, you can go about making some changes.

You'll likely have identified one or more automatic habits that aren't serving you well as a leader. They may not be the result of any particular entrenched psychological issue – but rather, they're simply ineffective autopilot responses that you've absorbed over the years.

Perhaps you've learned that you have a have a habit of cutting people off in meetings a little too early, or the way you word certain things in emails rubs people the wrong way.

Awareness of these sub-optimal habits is the key to change. You should implement habit-change sequentially – that is, focus on only one or two habits to change at a time. It takes weeks to make a habit automatic, but once it's "in place", you can largely forget about it.


Changing the stubborn stuff

Some habits, though, are a little harder to shift: they're usually attached to disempowering attitudes or lenses through which you interpret situations. Often, they're situations involving conflict or rejection.

For example: let's say you find yourself pulling away from a team when conflict arises. Shifting this kind of habit successfully takes more than just willpower - it involves re-framing the way you see the situation.

In the above example, the empowering frame would be something like this: conflict situations are much easier to fix early, before they develop into full-blown team breakdowns. By deliberately internalising this new "lens", you can reprogram the way you respond to those situations in future.

Another way to attack stubborn personal issues is with new behavioural cues. For example if you have had trouble shaping a discussion amongst a group of leaders, you could rehearse throwing just one statement of opinion out there at the start of the meeting.

Group Meeting

Mentally rehearse the action a few times, and associate it with some positive visualisations of successful outcomes. Just implementing one "snowball" behaviour like this can lead to a dramatic turnaround in the way you perform.

Cues, cognitive re framing and visualisation are three tools that can really supercharge your leadership development.

You already know you need to be reading great books on leadership, and taking the latest training – but couple these with the techniques above for core personal improvement, and you'll be surprised at how quickly you progress.

3. Review and redefine your goals as you progress

After a certain period of time - perhaps three to six months - it's time to review your progress. Revisit the questions you answered in the first stage. Look back at leadership situations that have cropped up since you began the process.

How are you now doing in situations you previously wanted to improve in? You'll probably find that the surface-level habit changes were easy to implement, but you may still be struggling with the deeper issues. That's fine. Change takes time, and it's non-linear. You'll plateau for a while, and then suddenly make breakthroughs. Simply by maintaining awareness of your "trigger" situations, and keeping a clear vision of what a good result looks like, you'll get there sooner or later.

Secondly - take a look at what new situations have arisen where you think you could improve as a leader. You may find that as you go deeper with your process of self-awareness and habit change, you start to come across new leadership dynamics you weren't even aware of at the start. This is a good thing, and reflects your personal growth.

Keep track of what comes up, and apply yourself to fixing the most "dysfunctional" aspects first.

As you go through the process, you'll build familiarity with yourself and the way you respond in different scenarios. Your emotional intelligence will improve, and your ability as a leader will grow exponentially.

Commit to your self-development and your raw leadership skills will grow at a rapid pace. Additionally, that commitment will shine through to your team – and they'll reward you with greater buy-in and compliance for your efforts.

Do you have any other tips on improving leadership skills that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Back to the Leadership blog

Click the button for more Leadership articles.

The ZandaX Leadership & Management blog

Click a panel for great articles on leadership & management

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
 
 
Leadership & Management
 
 
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2022
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
Likeability
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?


Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Assertiveness
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?


Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management


Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback


Close menu element
Learn About:
 
Personal Development
 
Leadership & Management
Sales & Presentations
Marketing
 
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio
 

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel 2021 / 365
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Excel 2013 / 2016
Introduction to Professional
 
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
 
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
 
 
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow courses on how to succeed in sales and presentations
Drive Your Sales to New Levels
Selling Skills course
Learn how to sell more, to more people
Deliver Presentations that Get Results
Presentation Skills course
Build and deliver great presentations
Your Keys to Success are here!
Sales Management course
Manage your team for great results
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this