10 Ways to Become a Better Leader and How to Improve Your Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leaders are essential for organisations because they provide guidance, motivation and direction. Employers usually look for leaders who not only have great knowledge and experience, but who are also adaptable and resilient. Knowing how to become such a leader can help you develop your career and your character. In this article, we outline 10 ways to become a better leader and explain how to improve your skills.

10 ways to become a better leader

If you're already in a position of leadership or you want to improve your leading capabilities, you might be looking for different ways to become a better leader. If this is the case, you might consider exploring these 10 methods:

1. Be decisive

One of the important leadership qualities is decisiveness. When you're in a position of leadership, people look to you to make decisions and provide direction. Being decisive and clear with your decisions can improve the productivity of your team. For example, if you're facing a difficult situation, it's beneficial to make a confident decision and take the necessary action without hesitation.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Encourage honest communication

To become a better leader, it's important that you consistently encourage honest communication within your team. This means creating an environment where people feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions openly. When team members feel like they can be honest with their leader, it builds trust and respect.

It also encourages them to learn from their mistakes rather than being afraid to fail. Also, honest communication can help identify any potential problems or areas of improvement. This way, you can address them before they cause major issues.

Related: How to Improve Leadership Skills: Guideline and Tips

3. Be open to feedback

One of the effective ways you can become a better leader is by being open to feedback from your team members. Feedback can help you identify any areas that you might want to work on. It can also demonstrate to your team members that you're willing to listen to their suggestions and take them into consideration. When someone provides you with feedback, make sure to listen intently, thank them for their input and apply their feedback if appropriate.

4. Prioritise teaching

Teaching and guiding the members of your team can help them understand why you want certain tasks completed. When team members know the reasoning behind your decisions, they're more likely to have a higher motivation to comply.

Also, teaching team members helps them develop their skills and knowledge, which can eventually make them more valuable members of the team. Coaching instead of controlling can boost the engagement levels of your team and improve the quality of work they produce because it ultimately makes people feel more involved in the process.

Related: Important Roles and Responsibilities of a Team Leader

5. Be flexible with your leadership style

Another helpful way to become a greater leader is by becoming flexible with your leadership style. This means adapting your leadership style to suit the situation and the team you're working with. For example, you might want to be more hands-on when working with a new team to help them feel more comfortable and build trust.

Meanwhile, you might want to take a more laissez-faire approach when working with a more experienced team that's already familiar with your leadership style. Having a laissez-faire style means giving team members more freedom to complete tasks in their own way. By being flexible, you can show your team that you're willing to adjust to their needs and that you're open to change.

Related: 10 Types of Leadership Styles

6. Set clear objectives

As a leader, it's your responsibility to set objectives for your team by creating clear goals and expectations. This way, everyone knows what to do and they can work towards achieving the objectives. When setting objectives, make sure they're specific, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

For example, rather than only telling your team to improve sales, you could set the objective of increasing sales by 10% within the next quarter. Having clear objectives gives your team a sense of direction and allows you to better measure their progress. Also, having a comprehensive vision can help you inspire and motivate the team because it allows them to understand what the desirable end result is.

Related: Boss vs Leader: What's the Difference?

7. Encourage creativity

Innovation and creativity are vital to business success. As a leader, you can encourage creativity within your team by providing them with the resources and freedom to experiment. Encouraging creativity is about finding a balance between structure and freedom.

The aim is to create an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks and trying new things. When team members feel like they're able to be innovative, it can lead to the development of new ideas and solutions. Also, it can help improve the quality of work and increase productivity.

8. Offer direct feedback

It's important to give feedback to your team members on a regular basis. Feedback helps people understand what they're doing well and where they can improve. It also shows that you're paying attention to their work and that you care about their development. When giving feedback, make sure it's specific, objective and actionable.

For example, you could say that they did great work and that you noticed how they were able to complete the task quickly and efficiently. By being clear in your feedback, whether it's positive or negative, you can help team members improve their performance and avoid any doubt concerning either your feedback's meaning or expectations. There are different ways to provide feedback on employee performance, including:

  • Constructive feedback: This kind of feedback can help someone achieve a desired result by offering ideas, guidance or comments that can prove useful in their future work.

  • Performance review: A performance review is a meeting between the leader and the team member where they discuss their progress over a specific period of time, usually completed on a quarterly or yearly basis.

  • Praise: Positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate team members and encourage them to keep up the good work by highlighting their achievements.

Related: How to Give Constructive Criticism (With Examples)

9. Be a role model

As a leader, it's important to set a good example for your team. This means behaving in a way that you would want your own team members to behave. For example, if you want your team to be punctual, then it's important to make sure that you're always on time.

Alternatively, if you want your team to be respectful, then make sure that you treat them with respect. Leading by example shows your team that you're committed to the values and behaviours that you want them to display.

10. Encourage team bonding

It's important to encourage team bonding if you want to create a strong team dynamic. You can do this by organising team-building activities or social events. Team bonding helps to build trust and improve communication between team members.

It also allows people to get to know each other on a more personal level which can make them more likely to work together effectively. When team members feel like they're part of a close-knit group, they're more likely to feel motivation and commitment to their work.

How to improve your leadership skills

These are some practical steps you can take if you want to improve your leadership skills:

1. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses

A great step you can take to improve your leadership skills is to first identify your strengths and weaknesses and then analyse them. This can help you to better understand your own leadership style and the areas you want to improve.

To do this, you can ask your team members for feedback or take a personality test. Once you identify your strengths and weaknesses, you can begin improving the areas where you're weakest and also better utilise your strengths.

2. Develop situational awareness

As a leader, it's important to be aware of the situation at your workplace. This means being aware of your team's goals, the current tasks and any potential obstacles that could impact your team's ability to achieve its goals. By developing situational awareness, you can more easily identify opportunities or threats and thereby make better decisions for your team.

3. Learn to delegate

It's important to delegate tasks to your team members and trust them to complete the work to ensure that the team can meet its goals on time. This can also help build the members' confidence and improve their skills. It's also important to delegate tasks based on people's strengths so that they can be successful in their roles.

Related: How To Manage People Effectively in 6 Steps (Plus Tips)

4. Research other leaders

Another great way to improve your leadership skills is to research other leaders that you find impressive and inspiring. This can give you some insight into different leadership styles and approaches. You can also learn from their successes and failures. By studying other leaders, you're able to develop your own unique leadership style. Having one or more leadership role models can also help to motivate you in your own journey to become a better leader.

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