Leaders at all levels often struggle to balance their many responsibilities. Constant demands on time, along with an expectation to be constantly connected can leave a leader feeling overwhelmed and burned out. This leads to issues with morale and performance. As 2019 comes to an end, this is the time to reflect on ways to improve for the year ahead. So, here are 10 ways for leaders to enhance their leadership skills and up their game.
1. Prioritize your physical health
It can be easy for leaders to neglect their health, making excuses that there isn’t enough time to eat right, exercise, or take breaks. But by not prioritizing your physical health, you perpetuate the problem and continue to lack the energy needed to execute all of your tasks. So, make it a point to get in exercise, whether that is through a structured routine or just through moving more throughout the day. Choose healthy food options by focusing on eating whole, real foods, not processed, convenience foods. And remember to take breaks every hour or so to stretch, adjust your posture, take some deep breaths, or take a short walk.
2. Change the way you think
Leaders can get into a rut and engage in habits that are unproductive or destructive, often without realizing the impact of these habits. To make a change and strengthen your leadership skills, you must start with changing the way you think. This means training your mind to focus on the positives and enlist ways to reduce stress. Some of my favorite tools include visualization, which is our ability to see our success in advance of its outcome. Visualization helps energize you to work towards desirable outcomes. Daily meditation sessions, breathing exercises, and playing brain games are also effective tools for rewiring your brain to be more positive and productive.
3. Choose the right attitude
Being a leader, there is nothing outside of your own responses and reaction that you can control with 100% certainty. Choosing the right attitude each day is essential to making sure you are showing up in a way that will inspire your team to perform. Remember that attitude is a choice, so when you start thinking negatively, take a moment to reset and realign.
4. Manage your time effectively
There are limited hours and energy available each day, so leaders must plan their time accordingly, protect their time from unnecessary activities (i.e., unproductive meetings), and reflect on how they use their time each day. There are a variety of tools available for managing time, but the main idea is to put in the effort for planning your day for both work and home, as well as learning to delegate tasks that will help free up your time for where it is better used.
5. Connect to your passion
Passion is critical to the human spirit. Without passion, we can become complacent and simply move through life without fully living. Passion is about doing things we love. As a leader, there are things we love doing more than others, but since we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, it is important to focus on what you are passionate about and how you can bring that passion to life each day. Passion is what carries you through the long and challenging days. It creates energy and enthusiasm to accomplish goals and work towards your ideal future. So, take a moment to reflect on what it is that you are most passionate about and examine how you can engage in those activities more often.
6. Create your future
If you want to find success in your life, you have to know what you want that success to look like. The most successful people in the world create their future by having a strong belief in where they are going and what they will be doing. This belief is often the most important aspect of constantly improving yourself and creating your success. To create your future and enhance your leadership skills, you must be specific in what you want. You must visualize what success looks like to you in the different areas of your life including attitude, family and home life, career, learning and development, health and physical, community, and social life.
7. Set goals and create an action plan
Goals allow you to take your long-term vision and turn it into a reality by setting short-term targets of achievement. The process of setting goals allows you to define the priorities in your life so you can organize your time and utilize your energy and resources better. Start by understanding where you are currently. Your goals should be ambitious, but also realistic to avoid fizzling out before you even start. Then, make a plan and include specific measurable objectives along the way so you can assess your success. Next, ensure to follow the plan making adjustments as needed. Keep in mind that each small decision you make should be in line with where you want to go. Remember to enjoy the process, achieving goals is not always easy, but each step in the right direction is progress.
8. Develop your support system
You will not achieve anything without relationships. This sounds easy and almost common sense, however the actions and attitude to put this into effect is rarely found in most people today. You should develop a support system at work with mentors and supporters who can act as sounding boards and also provide insights and advice. Develop a support system at home, with family or friends who have your best interests in mind. Develop a support system in the community through organizations with members who share common interests. Remember to be a support for someone else as well. It is important that others can rely on you, just as you rely on others.
9. Stop competing with others and focus on bettering yourself
You are not here to compete with other people, but to focus on yourself. Feeling the need to compare and compete with your peers has been shown to inhibit learning, teamwork, trust, and performance. Rather than competing with others, the goal should be to learn from others. The only competition should be from within as you strive to improve your own personal best. Know your strengths and emphasize them while at the same time managing your weaknesses so it never becomes an obvious fault. Ask others for regular feedback about your performance and how you can improve your leadership skills. Acquire a well-rounded knowledge to support your strengths and minimize weaknesses.
10. Take action
If you want a different outcome than the one you are experiencing, you have to do something differently. To be great or better than you are today, you must be willing to break yourself out of status quo and be whoever you were meant to be. Continue on your journey of discovery even when many people around you may have stopped off and seem satisfied with their status of mediocrity. To reach your potential, you must create positive change within your lives. This change requires effort and energy to constantly improve oneself. So, keep pushing towards your vision of success and with time and effort you will reach where it is that you want to go.
Enhancing your leadership skills is an ongoing process
With my 10 tips, you will be able to strengthen your leadership skills and lead with confidence. My list above is a great start; don’t forget that developing your leadership skills is an ongoing process and it’s important to continue to improve yourself as a manager. As a leader, you have the ability to influence your company’s culture, team morale, and levels of engagement. Take this opportunity to make a big splash!
If you want to learn more about how to engage your employees, access Achievers’ white paper, “Empowerment and Trust: The Keys to Employee Engagement.”