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Guide to developing your individual leadership skills

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Instead of depending on external tools that teach people how to act and what to do, you will discover more about yourself and how to improve interactions with subordinates, peers and bosses. Learning how to prioritize and put action behind your plan will position you to be more open and more apt to make positive changes.

  • Step 1 — Define what makes a great leader.
  • Step 2 — Do a thorough self-assessment.
  • Step 3 — Identify Core Values.
  • Step 4 — Write a vision statement and goals.

Here are some specific ways you can develop personal leadership traits:

Learn new information. Be open to training opportunities. Stay up with the latest trends in your industry and new technology.

Build new relationships. Get a mentor. Get to know others in various areas in your organization. You can benefit from relationships with suppliers, vendors, customers and others in the business community.

Create new avenues for feedback. There is power in seeking and accepting input from those you work with and customers. Develop relationships within the company in other departments and ask for their ideas. Ask yourself, "Will they tell me the truth or do I intimidate them?"

Determine expectations from your team. What do you expect? Communicate your ideas and listen to their ideas. Do you expect passion, commitment, truthfulness, dedication? It is important to set the example and communicate clearly to your team. Accept responsibility for getting things done.

Set priorities. Ensure the priorities are on target and that all, including yourself, are held accountable. Everything is not urgent or critical. Take first things first.

Match your values with the organization’s values. Are your goals and priorities aligned with the business' objectives? Are you willing to commit to the organization? Improving your leadership skills will serve to benefit you while getting the job done and at the same time benefit the organization and your working associates.

Beef up communication skills. Ensure nothing is misinterpreted or miscommunicated. Written and verbal communication is crucial. Communicating upward, downward and vertically are important in business as well as personal relationships. Whether it is letters, reports, emails or formal presentations, you will improve your value to the organization by becoming an effective communicator.

Measure results. Take time to assess progress and measure accomplishments. Share credit with others. Assess your strengths and weaknesses.

No one is a born leader, and no one is beyond the need for leadership development. Improvement can always be made. Regardless of your position, you will have opportunities to be a leader. Be prepared for opportunities when they present themselves. Volunteer for projects. Over communicate. People evaluate your abilities by what they see and hear from you. It is not about a title or position but about impact, influence and inspiration. Become the leader you were meant to be.

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