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Feel like a leader? Five ways you can expand your experience

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When applying for a job or trying to advance your career, leadership is one of the traits that you need. It has become necessary for not only entrepreneurs but for all employees. While improving your leadership abilities may seem like a daunting task, there are five ways that you can easily expand your experience and become an effective leader.

To be a leader, first you have to act like one

Demonstrating your leadership abilities to an employer or colleague is one of the most important ways to expand your abilities. Doing this helps you see yourself as a leader and makes others around you picture you as a leader. To do this, you cannot get caught up in day-to-day routines. Since you can’t be everywhere at once, you have to work through your team. This means you have to build competencies, delegate responsibilities and mentor your co-workers or staff.

Set clear goals

Setting goals gives you something to work toward while giving your workers something for which to strive. Make sure that the goals you want to achieve are well known and clear. The only way your staff members or co-workers can help you achieve these goals is if they know what you are trying to achieve.

Further your education

A good leader is always looking to better themselves and what better way to do that than with some continued education? With a degree in business management you can apply the lessons learned to your professional life and really shine. Always be on the lookout for ways to further your education and you will see your options and experience really open up.

Don’t cover for slackers

A very common problem for up-and-coming business owners is that they feel indebted to employees who have been with them for a long time. Sometimes this happens when an employee sticks with the company even during tough times. Later on, when their performance declines, it becomes commonplace to look past it. However, by not dealing with the situation, you are encouraging that person to underachieve, along with everyone else around them. Other workers see one person get away with not doing the job, and they soon start to think they can do the same thing.

Stop and listen

This is one of the most important tips. People are more likely to follow someone they feel really listens to their problems. When you are the leader, you may forget that you have to listen to what your co-workers or staff have to say. Sometimes you need to stop what you are doing and really listen to their complaints. Sometimes they will bring things you were not aware of to your attention. Just because you are a leader doesn’t mean you have to run the whole company by yourself. Learn to accept help when it is offered. To do that, you have to listen to people.

Leadership skills are not something that you can just develop overnight. It takes a lot of time and practice to successfully demonstrate the type of skills that other workers can look up to.

Do you have any more tips for leaders to expand their experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: The Natural Step Canada / Flickr

Meghan BelnapFeel like a leader? Five ways you can expand your experience

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