Businesses today have a serious leadership problem.
More than a quarter of managers said they weren’t ready to lead when they began managing others, according to a study by Career Builder. Even worse, 58 percent didn’t receive any training.
Companies say management training is a top priority. But the majority of employees don’t trust or respect their leaders.
Strong leadership propels organizations and careers forward. Great leaders have the power to transform organizations, improve communication, increase efficiency and boost employee retention and satisfaction.
But what does excellent leadership look like? And how do you develop leadership skills?
In this post, we’ll define what leadership is and the benefits of honing leadership skills. We’ll also cover the best training courses to help cultivate a leadership skill set to propel you, your career and your organization forward.
What Is Strong Leadership?
Great leaders set the tone and vision for their teams and organization. They use the resources at hand to creatively solve problems, delegate and manage workloads and direct the organization toward its goals.
They’re effective communicators, collaborators and decision-makers. No matter the industry, experience or perspective, great leaders adapt to their surroundings and empower teams and peers to succeed together.
Titles don’t define leadership. You don’t need to have a manager role or large team reporting to you to be considered a leader — every individual can benefit from leadership training.
The Benefits of Developing Leadership Skills
Effective leadership training can improve profit and productivity. Organizations consistently see higher ROI on talent investment and training and consistently breed strong leaders at all levels.
Despite the considerable impact that leaders possess, many organizations don’t have an effective leadership strategy.
Great leadership benefits individuals and companies. For organizations, nurturing leadership skills creates a talent pool within the company to promote from. It increases employee retention, improves morale and establishes a vision for your company.
For individuals, becoming better leaders is beneficial in nearly any career, role or industry. Leadership training helps you improve productivity and performance under pressure. It can also increase emotional intelligence, enabling you to successfully manage and work with diverse groups of people.
How to Improve Your Leadership Skills
Becoming a great leader is a never-ending process that requires a conscious commitment.
Here are seven steps to ongoing leadership development and training courses to help position yourself and your organization for long-term success.
1. Identify Your Leadership Style
Your leadership style is how you provide direction, motivate people and implement plans.
Everyone’s leadership style is different. Some are assertive, forceful communicators. Others listen first before making decisions.
Understanding your leadership style requires some self-reflection and external input. Ask questions such as:
- How would your staff describe your demeanor?
- How often do you give praise versus criticism?
- Do your actions align with your words?
- How does your presence affect team morale?
- Are you transparent with staff members and vice versa?
Using this information, you can home in on your strengths and identify areas to improve.
2. Tackle Your Skill Gaps
One of the best ways to become an effective leader is to identify your weaknesses and areas you’d like to improve.
Maybe you’re a great written communicator but struggle with public speaking. Or, you might be a strong leader but find it challenging to manage conflict. Tackling skill gaps with leadership training can help round out your leadership skills and grow your confidence.
3. Take Measures to Improve Your Communication
Communication matters. According to the Harvard Business Review, say poor communication drags executives. You can be the most stellar employee in the building — that means nothing if you can’t communicate your ideas.
Do you excel at written reports or clam up during a meeting? Or maybe you’re a natural in daily conversations, but clam up when it’s time to switch to presentation mode?
Explicitly identifying when and where you want to improve your communication skills can help you select the best training option.
Here are training courses to help sharpen your communication skills:
4. Actively Seek and Give Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback is critical to improving performance — it increases self-awareness and provides guidance and encouragement. As a leader, it’s important to not only be able to give constructive feedback but receive it as well.
Here are the elements of effective, constructive criticism:
- Specific and descriptive: Vague feedback is useless. Stick to the issue at hand, and speak with precise, direct language to avoid misinterpretation.
- Addresses the issue, not the individual: Don’t make it personal. Frame the input around the issue you’re acknowledging, not the individual.
- Collaborative: Constructive feedback should be a conversation — not a monologue.
Here are some training courses to help you better support your team:
5. Hone Your Decision-Making Skills
Leaders encounter tough decisions all the time. From everyday tasks to strategic decisions, decision-making is a critical aspect of business, requiring a blend of intuition, logic and analysis.
These courses will help strengthen your decision-making skills:
6. Cultivate Your Leadership Skills With Training Courses
Once you identify the gaps, it’s time to get to work. Besides on-the-job experience and mentors, training courses are a great way to develop leadership skills you can apply in the workplace.
7. Iterate and Improve
Improving leadership skills is a never-ending process. From feedback, mentorship, experience, trial and error and training courses, continual learning and growth should always be a top priority for individuals and organizations.
Leadership Training With New Horizons
Poor leadership breeds inefficiency and unmotivated employees, which can be detrimental to a business. On the other hand, excellent leadership skills can transform an organization.
New Horizons' Center for Leadership and Development is designed to empower individuals to build personal strengths, solidify their knowledge and accomplish their business goals.
Whether you’re just entering the workforce for the first time or a seasoned executive, New Horizons’ multidimensional training programs can help you elevate your leadership skills to succeed in the workplace.
Ready to start? Check out our leadership courses now.