The 10-Point Leadership Checklist
Coach and develop your team so they can grow and learn new skills. Encourage them to be creative and innovative and teach them how to problem-solve as a team. Allowing your team to learn and grow will help keep them interested in their jobs and involved in the company’s success…
Understanding the traits good leaders have in common is important for your own development as well as for developing future leaders at your company. Businesses change, but basic leadership skills have not changed over time.
Following are 10 essential tasks to improve leadership skills:
1. Set Personal Goals. Being a leader means you need to understand your goals. It does not mean you are required to know all the answers for achieving those goals. Knowing the things you excel at — and those you don’t — is critical to good leadership. Asking for help with things you do not have expertise in is the mark of an effective leader. Delegating, changing, growing and adapting all are part of keeping a company sustainable over the long term. The objective is achieving the goals on your list.
2. Identify Your Sphere of Influence/Areas of Concern. Set clear parameters that divide the things you can influence from those you cannot. Work hard on the things within your sphere of influence because those are the things that will expand your influence on the company and enhance your reputation as an effective leader.
3. Ensure Consistency. Good leaders need to be consistent in their behaviors and reactions, which means they need to be patient, fair and tolerant. This includes treating team members equally and not playing favorites.
4. Demand Accountability. Great leaders are willing to live up to the old adage “the buck stops here.” Success and failure both are part of running a company, and company leaders ultimately are responsible for what happens. That does not mean they oversee every detail, but it does mean they don’t play the blame game.
5. Foster Communication Skills. This skill has several components. Good leaders need to be able to listen well, ask good questions and be able to communicate good news with happiness and bad news with compassion.
6. Model Listening Skills. Listen to everyone no matter their role at the company. Find out how people connect with each other. Learn what motivates employees and how their priorities and concerns affect the company.
7. Develop Questioning Skills. Coupled with listening skills, the ability to ask questions that get to the core of the issue is critical — even when the answer is not what you want to hear.
8. Support Mentoring and Coaching. Coach and develop your team so they can grow and learn new skills. Encourage them to be creative and innovative and teach them how to problem-solve as a team. Allowing your team to learn and grow will help keep them interested in their jobs and involved in the company’s success.
9. Offer Feedback. Let your team know you value their feedback about where improvements can be made. Their suggestions may or may not used, but they should always be taken seriously and evaluated carefully.
10. Measure Success. Item one on this list is understanding your role and knowing the goals you need to achieve. This last item refers to measuring whether these goals were achieved at different points, including timeliness and budget. Celebrate your success, but remember this: Your team’s performance greatly affects this measurement, so be sure to celebrate your success at the team level, too.
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