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In 2018, I was lucky to be selected to participate in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) program for Cohort 6, West Africa. I was super excited and could not wait to show my true leadership skills. Before that, I was already the vice president of my Community Development Service (CDS) group. You might say I was craving leadership roles and all, but you are wrong. I am extremely introverted, a loner who loves her space and privacy. But I thought to myself, what exactly does it feel like doing something new, something out of the box, something I was not comfortable with? And I gave leadership a try; I did not only excel at my YALI program but aced it and was recognized among the top twenty-three participants in the Cohort.
What was my take home from these experiences? A lot and I am willing to share with you. Are you an introvert who loves his/her space just like I do, or on a quest of improving your leadership career? Here are some tips for you.
Tips to Improve Your Leadership Skills
1. Master Public Speaking
This was my biggest fail, during the beginning of my leadership role. I will always have panic attacks before any of the meetings. But constant practise and rehearsal helped me out.
Some people are born public speakers, while others aren’t. Either way, great public speaking skills go a long way in helping you communicate effectively with your team members. Join public speaking clubs like Toastmasters, you will be glad you joined.
2. Learn to Delegate
Being a leader isn’t just about being the boss and carrying out tasks all by yourself. A good leader is always concerned about how the followers carry out dedicated tasks. As a leader, you must guide your followers, educate them, and also delegate tasks to them. Don’t be a jack of all trades and delegates.
This is one of the hows improve your leadership skills
3. Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses
We all have our strengths and weaknesses and knowing them and working on them goes a long way in improving our leadership skills.
Take a personality test, ask your friends and family for their honest opinions on your strengths and weaknesses, and then work on them.
4. Get a Mentor
Getting yourself a mention is one of the ways to improve your leadership skills. We all have that one person we aspire to be like. We see ourselves being that person or even better. Get yourself a mentor. Learn from them or ask them to guide you on your journey.
Many are willing to help especially if you are serious-minded.
5. Become Self Disciplined
Just like George Washington said:
Nothing is more harmful to the service than the neglect of discipline; for it is discipline more than numbers that give one army superiority over another.George Washington
A leader is not a true leader unless he or she possesses self-control and master self-discipline. Every leader or aspiring leader should have a professional order in carrying out their daily activities or assigned tasks. This will go a long way in moulding you to be a refined and respected person.
If you are naturally disorganized or late to work or meetings, build a daily strict regime to help you perform better and stand out from your peers.
Leadership does not only mean leading a town or a nation. You can be a leader in your own home to your siblings, spouse, or children, and having these leadership skills will always come in handy. Fortunately, leadership is learnable, so take courses, read materials or watch your mentors and parents execute their leadership style and learn from them.
Being a better leader is not as difficult as it might appear. With constant practice and hard work, you will achieve your goal of being a better leader.
I hope you find this write-up helpful. If you do, kindly leave a comment for me in the comments section. You could also tell us about any leadership position you have held previously. Thank you.