How to develop your leadership skills

Open the communication channels

In order to raise awareness of our own leadership qualities, it makes sense to change perspective. If you want to know the opinion of the other person, you can simply ask him. This can be done in the form of a survey. Alternatively, you can also send an email or call a meeting - whatever suits you best. It is important that you open up the communication channels and that people are aware that their opinion of you is important. Proceed with caution. Some people don't like this form of expression. They either fear that the information they have obtained could be used against them or they feel defensive.

Therefore, it is important to foster an open and honest environment in which people feel that potentially uncomfortable topics can also be discussed. One way to do this is to set up a weekly meeting option that people can use to talk to you. Your proximity and accessibility is important. Alternatively, you can also sit down at a table with your colleagues. Forget the outdated tactic of professional distance. This will only drive a wedge between you and the team. It is important that your people get to know the person behind the manager - for example over lunch together, which of course you pay for.

Join us!

Executives often ponder new ideas, tactics and strategies in their own office. It is quite possible that this takes up a large part of your valuable working time, which is not uncommon for executives. Break this habit and, in addition to opening up communication channels, establish another option to improve your leadership skills: support your colleagues! Maybe you'll help the next generation of employees or help stressed managers out of trouble.

It's the little things in life that count! People will remember that you pitched in despite your own heavy workload. Your advantage: You will be perceived as a team player who has no problem getting your hands dirty when it comes to the common goal.

Listen to!

Being a good listener is an essential step in improving your leadership skills. People want to be listened to. What are minor problems or trivialities for one person is a big issue for another. Listen to your employees and - very important! – listen to yourself too. This will make you appear sympathetic and interested.

All leaders can hear, but only the best of them listen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of the US and international forces in Afghanistan, is convinced of this even after decades in military leadership positions. In his opinion, the most important skills for one's own self-understanding are those of listening and accepting the possibility of one's own failure.

Learn at your own pace

People look up to leaders. And for a good reason! Howard Schultz, the man behind Starbucks, grew up poor, received a scholarship and eventually founded the most successful coffeehouse chain in the world. Leaders like Schultz are looked up to for their perseverance, tenacity and drive to create. That's why you often come to them when you're looking for solutions to problems. That's not a bad thing. It's good to ask questions and wait for answers.

There comes a point, however, when a leader must guide his team toward self-reliance in problem-solving. If the solution is always presented to them on a silver platter, the employees will stop thinking and thus lay the foundation for new problems. While some members of the team in this situation think they have the answer to all questions, another team member may have a solution up their sleeve that no one has considered before. Sometimes just don't help. Let the team work out solutions themselves. Every good leader recognizes that failure is an inseparable part of the learning experience. 

learn from others

It feels good to be a leader. In order to know how and in which areas you can improve further, it is still worth following tips like these here. And sometimes it's also good to listen to the people who lead us into the future. But how do you do that without emailing, calling, or even visiting other leaders?

Nothing easier than that: On YouTube and TED you will find a large selection of speeches on topics such as team leadership, one's own success story, challenges, weaknesses and everything that has to do with it. Are you looking for inspiration or do you have a few minutes to kill before your next meeting? Check out these brilliant speeches on leadership .


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