Want to Be a Better Leader? Here are Six Tips That Will Help

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The ability to be a good leader is an indispensable skill. Strong, effective leaders are the people who get promoted, get raises, and achieve the most success in their careers. Still, leadership doesn't come easily. While there may be some for whom the ability comes intuitively, most people aren't natural-born leaders. But, this truth has a positive aspect: leaders can be made. In fact, you should expect to spend your whole career improving your leadership skills, since even the world's best leaders still have things to learn. For now, consider these six practical tips for becoming a better leader.

1. Be positive

An effective leader is optimistic about both themselves and others, creating a positive mood. No one can accomplish anything if they believe they are doomed to fail, so taking an upbeat attitude is a must. Remind yourself of your capabilities and talents, and you'll soon realize all the reasons you have to be optimistic. When it comes to your coworkers, adopt the same attitude. People perform better if they know that someone believes in them.

2. Learn efficient time-management

Leaders are busy. The person in charge always has more duties and deadlines than everyone else. While people content with being lower in the chain of command can probably get away with a relaxed attitude and a little inefficiency, those who want to advance their career have no such leeway. So, learn how to budget your time and work efficiently. Limit breaks, and don't let the internet or idle chitchat distract. Take note of deadlines and make the necessary steps to meet them.

3. Be honest
Sometimes leaders have to tell painful truths, so start cultivating the habit of being honest now. While it can be tempting to smooth relations with others by being deceptive, this won't help in the end. If a team is going to be maximally productive, clear, open communication is a necessity. For those in leadership positions, the ability to give explicit directions and to set plain standards is important. However an employee performs, a leader should honestly tell them what they did wrong or right.

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4. Take charge when you have the chance
To rise to a position of leadership and power you must be proactive. There will be times when your team or office needs someone to step up and organize the group. Be ready for such opportunities -- and remember, a good leader rises to the occasion. Both management and your coworkers will notice your willingness to step into the breach; as a result your chances of being turned to when leadership is required will increase.

5. Practice long-term planning
People in positions of leadership have a lot to worry about. Managers have to concern themselves not just with today's projects, but with next year's projects, too. This sort of big-picture thinking requires forming a vision of the future -- there's a reason great leaders are often called 'visionaries'. Those in command must be able to act with larger goals in mind, so make yourself comfortable with planning long-term.

6. Consider others
The strongest, best leaders aren't dictators who shove their views on everyone else; but rather friendly, kind people who listen to everyone's opinions. Remember, a team is only as strong as its members. While a leader should command and direct the group, feedback is also important. Make consulting with coworkers a habit. A leader's goal should not be to lord over their employees, but to empower them -- try always to help others realize their full potential.

Remember, having doubts about your leadership abilities is normal. Instead of letting your worries overwhelm you, or avoiding all positions of authority and influence, start refining your skills as a leader now. Those doubts only mean that you have room for improvement. Work diligently over a long period and, eventually, you'll become the leader you want to be.



About the author: Brian Carroll is the CEO of Pivot Insurance and holds CLU & CPCU designations. He has been part of the life insurance industry for over 30 years. He is also an avid runner and has participated in many athletic endurance events. Brian established the anonymous life insurance quote process here at Pivot and takes pride in the caring and professional staff. You can reach Brian at 1-800-651-1953 or bcarroll@pivot.com.

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