Leadership

5 Signs You Need to Improve Your Leadership Skills

improve leadership skills

Every leader has room for growth.

But let’s face it: You also have a lot on your plate. It can be easy to get so focused on the day-to-day business that you never have time for self-evaluation. To make matters worse, assessing your own leadership skills can be difficult. How do you really know when adjustments are needed?

Well, there are some tell-tale signs that clearly point in that direction. Consider the 5 items below and see if you need to pump up your leadership muscles.

  1. High Employee Turnover

It’s often said that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave their leaders. When turnover is high, it can be tempting to attribute it to any number of other factors. But don’t discount your role in it.

Sure, it doesn’t help to take these things personally. However, many of the conditions that contribute to high turnover come from the top down. Review feedback from exit interviews and ask yourself, “What part does my leadership play in this? How can I, as a leader, improve this?”

Also read: Employee Engagement Ideas: 5 Actions that Work

  1. Excessive Team Conflict

Conflict, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. When handled in the right way, it can even be productive; it can lead to better decisions and more intelligent action.

However, when your team is plagued by excessive, unproductive conflict—the kind that wastes time and doesn’t serve a productive purpose—there’s a clear problem.

As a team leader, you help set the tone for the group. People observe how you handle disagreements and human dynamics. If your team is struggling to deal with these things in an appropriate manner, consider the example you’re setting. 

  1. Lack of Results

The main responsibility of a leader is to achieve results. Your job is to direct and motivate your team to accomplish the goals of your organization. If that’s not happening, you may feel inclined to blame your team. But, more than likely, they’re only part of the problem.

When results are lackluster, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach. How are you communicating goals and tracking progress? Are you providing the appropriate level of support and accountability? Are you proactively helping your team avoid obstacles and assisting to overcome them when they occur? Successful leaders play a very active role in ensuring results are achieved. 

Also read: How to Structure Teams for Optimal Performance

  1. Lack of Team Development

A key aspect of your job as a leader is to develop your team. People beneath you should be growing as professionals. They should be advancing and stretching their skills continuously.

However, many leaders fail to invest the time and energy required to make this happen. At times, they become so reliant on high performers that they intentionally withhold opportunities for fear of losing their star players. As a result, their team members become stagnant and, before long, may look for growth elsewhere.

If you’re not truly supporting your team’s development, it’s time to develop your own skills in this area.

  1. Over Involvement

The strongest leaders know that they are facilitators. They help make things happen, but they are not overly involved in the execution. If you’re afraid to take time off because things would fall apart without you, there’s a problem. If you’re leery of delegating critical tasks because you fear the loss of control, you’re not leading effectively.

Remember that you are there to keep the machine running smoothly, not to be a cog within it. If you’re focusing on the minutiae of daily operations, it’s time to widen your perspective and expand your trust in the rest of the team. You must still be actively engaged, but remember that your role is more of a coach than a player.

Also read: Not Familiar With the Scandinavian Model of Leadership? Then You Are Truly Missing Out

Leadership is a skill that must be continuously honed. Without regular self-assessment and improvement, you run the risk of becoming ineffective at best. At worst, you may even become a hindrance to your team and the organization. Observe the outward consequences of your leadership and then turn inward to adjust course as needed.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.