SHAPING THE FUTURE
18th January

How to improve leadership skills

 

Technology might be changing a lot in our world, however leadership skills and the ability to work together in a team will remain useful tools. In this blog I attempt to explain how I would improve my leadership skills and connect these with experiences that I’ve had.

 

Experience through Practise

Being a leader doesn't mean that you are better than others. It means that you are able to communicate clearly what needs to be done, are willing to make mistakes & learn from them. You take responsibility.

The best way to learn how to improve existing leadership skills is through experience. Learn from bad experiences and mistakes. In order to find mistakes, however, one must identify, record, analyse and IMPROVE.

People use different methods to analyse mistakes. Some use pen & paper, others use a laptop. I use a whiteboard located next to my desk. It helps me keep an overview of all the points that I can improve.

The first event (“Inclusive Entrepreneurship”) was held at the University of Westminster, in the Hogg Hall, on the 14th of November. I inevitably was going to make a mistake or two, however, the aim was to minimise the number of mistakes. After the event we had a post-motorola (positives, negatives & improvements) as well as a small feedback session. Two mistakes that I had made:

  1. Time Management - The “Inclusive Event” had started and ended late. In order to avoid this during the “Converge” event, we asked the host to keep track of time, which in my opinion worked very well.
  2. Work Allocation - the issue about working with a group of people whom you don't know too well, is that you don't know their strengths and weaknesses. Once you have a sense of how much work a person is willing to put into a project, you can start allocating work appropriately which is sufficiently challenging.

 

Analyse mistakes

Three points that I wrote down on the whiteboard were:

  1. Positive Mindset
  2. Motivating Team Members
  3. Allocating Work

“Chasing Excellence” by Ben Bergeron, talks about hard work and keeping a positive mindset. Approaching bad experiences with a positive mindset can be shown by the following example: instead of thinking “No! I wont do this, I don't like it”, you change your mindset to “Ok, this might be difficult but I will exceed at this.”. Leading a team isn't always easy. People don't do their work, things go wrong & expectations are high. Keeping a positive mindset will help you overcome problems. It changes the entire approach to an issue, you immediately think of solutions instead of complaining about a situation.

There are critical moments, especially when you feel frustrated, where you can learn how to motivate other team members. I’ve mentioned experience, as a way of learning how to be a leader. Once you learn to motivate yourself, find reasons to do something, you’ll be able to use the same methods for other team members. What motivated you? What made you say “I’m not giving up, I’ll keep on going”.

In order to allocate work properly, you should be clear on what you expect from people. What do they need to do? Be as specific as possible and think of possible outcomes or issues they might have. Then, if needed, offer your help.

 

Improve

What is improvement? People tend to compare themselves to others a lot. Focus on yourself and ignore anything that isn't within your control. Its not about being perfect, its about giving your absolute best everyday and working hard.

Positive Mindset: Frustrating situations lead to awkward complaining, everybody has done it, including me. What a person needs to figure out is, if the problem at hand is one of the following factors: Is it within your control? Can you change something?

  • the answer is YES, then take a few minutes to compose yourself and start thinking of a solution.
  • the answer is NO, then move on. There’s no point in wasting your time, focus on the important issues.

 

TIAGO WEST

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