leadership skills

How to be a better leader: Top leadership skills & habits


It’s possible for good leaders to learn to be great. How? By learning some key leadership skills and habits.

In this video, we highlight the leadership skills that make good leaders great.


Learn how to delegate: It’s hard for some of us to trust others on our team to complete tasks we know we could do it ourselves (especially for new leaders). Being able to delegate effectively not only lightens your workload so you can concentrate on other matters, it engages your team and improves morale. When you give responsibility to your staff, you guide, coach or teach them.

Coach’s Questions:
What are you currently working on that could and should be delegated to someone else?
How would things be better for you if you could delegate that work?

Improve your ability to give and receive feedback: It’s human nature to want to avoid uncomfortable conversations, whether you’re hoping things will just improve or the problem will go away before you have to address it. but great leaders turn difficult conversations into essential conversations to prevent problems or issues from festering and getting worse. This allows you to help your team members perform better or improve what they produce, all of which goes a long way to fostering a sense of overall team cohesiveness. As well as being able to give feedback, great leaders are open to hearing the good AND the bad (even handling criticism) from mentors, team members and peers so they can course correct as necessary.

Coach’s Questions:
What difficult conversations have you been avoiding?
What could having the conversation improve?
Have you invited feedback from those around you?

(Pro tip: Our Essential Conversations program is an excellent start to help you have difficult conversations and to make them easier next time ).

Involve your team in goal management: This includes setting performance goals for your team, but focuses on delivering the goal. It’s about taking your team from where you are now to where you want to be. Leading your team to identify goals and then master the daily tasks to achieve the big goals is the first step to organizational success. Some leaders use weekly or bi-weekly meetings to check to see if the team is on track in spite of daily challenges. Consider whether you’re rewarding success for working toward long-term goals or for fighting fire after fire.

Coach’s Questions:
How do you engage people in setting goals for your business?
What could you do better or differently?
How often do you check in to see if your team is on course to meet those goals?
What kind of check-in process can you build-in and commit to?

Practice humility: Some leaders, often those new to leadership roles, might overcompensate and act more confident than they really are. This is a missed opportunity because practicing humility, being vulnerable and embracing who you are opens you to greater understanding, connections and room for growth. Displaying exaggerated confidence is not uncommon and it’s usually because a leader is struggling with Imposter Syndrome (thinking you’re not good enough, you’re not fully qualified or that you received a promotion earlier than you should have). Trying to be more transparent about what you don’t know (but can find out) or can’t answer (but will do some research) goes a long way to building trust with your team.

Coach’s Questions:
How critical is your self-talk?
What can you do to encourage yourself as a leader?
How have you been vulnerable with your team?
What could you do to show humility in your leadership?

Enhance your self-awareness: If there is a gap between how you see yourself and how others see you, there could be things that don’t go the way you think they should. Does the way you see yourself match how others see you? Being able to understand how you affect those around you lets you adapt and shift the way you relate to each team member. It also helps you make adjustments to how you approach prospective clients.

Coach’s Questions:
If you asked mentors, peers and team members to honestly and openly share their perceptions of you, what would they say? Why not ask them?
What can you do this week to see how you see yourself differs from how others see you?
How can you change how you are perceived?

(Pro tip: We have some amazing assessment tools to help with this process — and a coach can help, too.)

Cultivate a desire to serve others: Leaders who are able to use a desire to be helpful as a lens through which they see their team reap enormous returns. People follow leaders who have earned their trust, achieving moral authority that others want to follow — not because they have grand titles or exercise coercive power. It’s the difference between being a boss or a leader and it requires humility. Genuinely wanting to help your team also helps when you need to communicate with your team to drive them to action. They will trust not only your leadership skills, but also have confidence in your feelings towards them.

Coach’s Questions:
Do you serve your team members as a leader?
How could you be more helpful to your team?
What steps can you take to be a more effective communicator?

The really good news is, each of these six leadership skills can be learned and added to your leadership toolkit. As you think about these ways to be a better leader, consider:
How deep are you into your own leadership strengths?
Which skills would you like to practise and promote to others?
What will you do today to advance those skills?