Best Practices for Improving Leadership Skills

Creating a positive working environment is a goal for most in leadership positions. Whether it’s a simple group project in college or a CEO leading a Fortune 500 company, the characteristics of a good leader remain the same. Review the “Best Places to Work” list on Glassdoor, and most of the review s will mention the culture, the people, and the leadership as determining factors in their happiness. Want to be a part of that list? Improving leadership skills is the first step on the road to success and workplace satisfaction. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Get In the Trenches

Adept leaders are often revered for their willingness to roll up their sleeves and work right alongside their employees. Indeed, no leader or manager should feel “above” any duties. Did an employee call in sick? Is there a project that could use some extra hands? A manager who is willing to jump in and help will gain respect because of the show of humility and empathy for others.

Workers who feel that their manager is “too good” to help out or to understand how others’ jobs work will quickly lose morale and respect, which will create an uphill battle for any leader.

Be Transparent

An open door policy is often advertised in many workplaces — but how often is this actually utilized? Often, employees don’t feel comfortable approaching their superiors with concerns. Other times, they don’t feel that their feedback has been taken into consideration. 

By being as transparent as possible with their intentions, workflow, or goals, a leader can establish and build trust. This doesn’t mean that a manager has to involve employees in every private detail, but opening the dialogue by communicating transparently will improve the level of trust. 

For example, giving feedback is not always a positive experience. If constructive criticism is given out in a meeting, an effective leader will not use the criticism as an attack on the subject, nor will they focus too much on the lead-up to the problem. Rather, if they make a genuine effort to address the issue and help find ways to improve going forward, their intentions of wanting to improve will be more clear.

Take a Genuine Interest in Work and Employees

It’s easier than many may think to identify an individual who is being less than genuine. A big smile and a kind word may be pleasant, but how genuine is that interaction? An intuitive leader seeking to improve management skills will make a strong effort to forge genuine interactions with his or her employees.

As a leader, it can be impactful to establish a rapport with employees. Even bonding over a favorite sports team or common interest can be useful for building trust in the workplace. As important as it is to keep interactions professional, some genuine team building and taking a real interest in the needs and wants of workers is still beneficial.

Taking these best practices for improving leadership skills to heart isn’t difficult. None of these pieces of advice are ground-breaking, but they serve as reminders of what matters to employees. If anything, it’s important to stay abreast of what’s important to employees when striving to improve management skills. After all, those employees are who will be giving their feedback that can help propel the company to the top of the “Best Places to Work” list next year.

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