Do you regularly cringe at work because you knew a meeting could’ve been more efficient, or are you the first to spot red flags behind your team’s missed deadlines? Sounds like you’re ready to step up your game and be a leader.
Good leaders can help foster employee productivity loyalty, commitment, and motivation.
So, how can your desire for leadership drive these kinds of positive results one day? Start with the following two skills, and be relentless about improving them.
1. Really listen.
The best leaders make it a point to listen to their employees, customers, colleagues, advisors, and mentors. They may not always agree, but learning how to listen and be fully engaged is a skill that will benefit you as a leader and a team player.
Listening fully isn’t politely waiting for your turn to speak, or thinking about a clever retort to what you’re hearing. Really listening means you’re focusing on what the other person is saying, then fully understanding it before you respond.
Try practicing this skill — when someone is speaking, don’t immediately respond. Give a moment of pause, take it in, and summarize what they just said to confirm you’re interpreting correctly.
2. Speak concisely and eloquently.
No one is born knowing how to convey their thoughts clearly. Learning how to get better at communicating without constantly pausing, backtracking, losing your train of thought, or turning to filler words like “um” or “like” is crucial to moving up the ladder and being seen as a leader.
Be intentional with your words. If you’re not sure what you’re going to say next, just pause, rather than using filler words. If you’re heading into a team meeting, write a brief outline of what you want to say beforehand.
Try recording yourself on camera, then play it back to see what you sound (and look) like. There are tons of resources online that help you improve your level of comfortability when speaking in front of others, and communicating your thoughts more concisely.
These two skills aren’t easy to master, but you can get there with practice. When you start to improve, apply what you’ve learned in the workplace, and effectively communicate that you’re interested in the manager position, or why you should get that raise.