How Can You Become a Better Leader?

Part One of a series.

If you are a leader, I hope you regularly ask yourself how you can become a better leader. If not, I would question your judgment and suggest you might be more powerful and effective as an individual contributor.

This series is for busy professionals who want to find easier ways to improve their essential leadership skills.

Below are ten statements or notions followed by a reflection and an action. Review the reflection and determine how you would rate yourself, and decide if that’s acceptable to you or not. If you want to make improvements, do the suggested action.

1. To move forward, leaders make decisions.

Reflection: Do you make decisions?

Action: Today, make and act on one big decision you’ve been putting off.

2. Some wait for someone else to act, and some don’t and instead make things happen.

Reflection: How often do you take the initiative?

Action: Don’t play games and wait to see who blinks, be the person who moves first.

3. There is a pain in seeing things rot, fester or stagnate. There is joy in solving problems and finding solutions. As a leader, you set the stage; which one do you prefer?

Reflection: Do you inspire creativity?

Action: Feed yourself with something that inspires you today, then encourage creativity in others. (Repeat often.)

4. Effective leaders are not situationally responsible. When you goof, you own it. When you succeed, you share the credit. If you want to be taken seriously, that’s the compact.

Reflection: Are you accountable for your actions?

Action: Pick an important item you’re wavering on and find someone to hold you accountable for the results.

5. When you admonish people for acting a certain way and then act that way yourself, you look foolish.

Reflection: Do you set your own example?

Action: Today, and every day after, your job isn’t done by only setting an example; you must also BE your own example.

6. Whim is difficult to anticipate. People don’t always know what’s happening in their leader’s head.

Reflection: Do you communicate expectations?

Action: Thinking does not make it so. Acting on those thoughts does. Be clear about what you want. If people don’t understand you, that’s on you — not them.

7. How do you know if something has changed? You compare it to what was. Do that several times, and you have a trend. That doesn’t mean everything becomes predictable, but it does make it better than a guess.

Reflection: Do you measure performance?

Action: Pick something you’re curious about and take two measurements; a UNIT measure (weight, height, number of occurrences, etc.) and an INTERVAL measure (hours, days, weeks, months, etc.) See what trends emerge and notice if your assumptions are met or challenged. Otherwise, you are just guessing.

8. Author, speaker, consultant, and mentor Ken Blanchard is fond of saying, “Raise your hand if you’re getting too much reward and recognition.” Not many hands ever go up.

Reflection: Do you reward the efforts of others?

Action: Notice what people do right (or approximately right) today and acknowledge them.

9. Feedback is information. It is not inherently positive or negative — but how it is delivered influences how it is received.

Reflection: Do you give continuous feedback?

Action: First, ask if your feedback is welcomed, and then ensure it is delivered for their benefit, not yours.

10. The point of a team is to accomplish results better than if pursued singularly.

Reflection: Do you place team members where they can win?

Action: Evaluate your current results and decide if you have the right people in the right positions for right now.

Acting on these ten items will improve your leadership. Share your favorite or which one resonated the most with you in the comments section. I’d love to hear about your progress.

The Reflections on Leadership Podcast

Listen to quick reflections on leadership and occasional interviews with busy professionals, challenge your perspective, provide inspiration, and give insights to help you manage better and lead well. Available on your favorite platform, or click here.

A Workbook to Gradually Improve Your Leadership

The Leadership Development Mind Map Workbook poses 24 questions for you to think about and make adjustments in your leadership life. Brainstorm your answers then pick one of your ideas to work. Order a physical copy or download printable worksheets at Karl Bimshas Consulting =>

Another Good Way to Improve Your Leadership

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Contact Karl Bimshas Consulting

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Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.