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Top 10 common areas of improvement for leaders at work

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Leading people isn't easy. Many managers need a lot of practice before they can effectively promote their company's mission and values.

Good leadership skills motivate associates and maximize a team's effectiveness. They’re important to meeting business goals and retaining the best associates on your team.

Continue reading for ten common areas of improvement for leaders and how to implement them into your day-to-day work routine from Dot Kazik, who has been in management roles since 1993 and with Schneider since 2006.

10 areas of improvement leaders should focus on

1. Master the art of communication.

Being a better leader starts with improving your communication skills. Explaining concepts concisely, giving directions clearly and listening actively are core skills for leaders to develop.

Great managers and team leaders respect their associates enough to always share the truth, good or bad. In doing so, those who work with you will return the favor, and the entire team will thrive. 

2. Improve your ability to motivate others.

Sharpening your ability to engage and inspire a team should be high on your to-do list as a leader.

You want associates to care about the tasks you are assigning and believe in the goals the team is working to achieve. Leaders should create an atmosphere in which there's a strong sense of team spirit and cohesiveness.

Build a standard approach for recognizing individuals’ accomplishments and moving forward with ideas your team brainstorms.

3. Learn to set goals clearly.

Top-notch team leaders give their associates clear goals without telling them how to do their jobs. It's an excellent way to determine which goals work both for the company and the team. It keeps everyone focused on meeting or exceeding expectations.

Make sure your associates have ownership of the goal-setting process. Discuss the right course of action for achieving goals and setting expectations as a team.

4. Make sure your team feels appreciated.

Never underestimate the power of saying "Thank you" or "Well done.”

Acknowledge great performance by bringing it up in a team meeting, sending an email or talking about it in a one-on-one. Pick whichever way you think the associate would appreciate most.

In many cases, knowing one's work is appreciated and recognized is a better motivator than a pay raise or a promotion.

5. Make time for one-on-one meetings.

It's often easy to let these meetings slide when schedules get crowded. However, one-on-ones are often some of the most insightful conversations leaders can have with associates.

Making time for each individual team member demonstrates how much you value their input. It gives you time to get to know them and discuss their goals and progress.

6. Always focus on personal development.

Personal and professional development is how good leaders become great ones. Learn from other leaders you respect and admire. Find a mentor who can offer advice and guidance as you continue developing your skillset.

Seek out self-improvement and training classes and attend them several times a year.

7. Get good at recognizing the individual talents of your associates.

A solid understanding of your team's talent pool is the key to delegating tasks. Not everyone is good at everything, which makes identifying individual strengths and weaknesses critical to optimizing team productivity.

This is one of the most important areas of improvement for leaders because people are most engaged when they apply their strengths to their job.

8. Solve problems before they become problems.

Consider your team's challenges and look for solutions early in the process. Influential leaders have developed the ability to anticipate challenges by using solid problem-solving skills to address them.

Discuss solutions with your team. Listen to their suggestions to find better ways to solve problems. This may drive some uncomfortable conversations, but it can help lead to improved team performance.

9. Stay open to new ideas and approaches.

Different isn't always better, but better is always different.

Too often, managers avoid trying new ideas out of fear of making a mistake. It’s one of the most common weaknesses in leaders. However, taking controlled risks is a way for businesses to grow and evolve.

The most successful leaders are flexible and can lead their teams through change. Good leaders are always interested in hearing about new ideas. Remember, some of the best ideas you'll ever get will probably come directly from your team.

10. Become an expert at building relationships.

Effective leaders develop solid working relationships within their team and between team members.

This helps teams work more productively. It also allows for open communication that improves performance.

Why improving your leadership skills matters

Strong leaders can positively impact a company. Their influence can reduce turnover, increase morale and improve employee engagement and productivity.

Good team leaders are built over time, and most will spend their careers continuously improving their skills. Focusing on the areas listed above will help you establish a strong foundation on which you can build your success as a leader.

Looking for more career advice?

From insights on how to prioritize tasks at work to suggestions on how to improve your work-life balance, check out more of our blogs about growing and improving your career.

About the author
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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