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Nine Exercises To Assess Your Leadership Skills And Find Areas For Improvement

Great leaders are constantly evolving, gaining additional skills and finding new ways to effectively manage and guide their teams. This proactive style of leadership comes with practice and self-awareness of any weaknesses or blind spots you may have.

To help hone these skills, nine Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss how entrepreneurs can boost their leadership abilities. Below, they share their top-recommended exercises to help leaders take stock of their skills and find out where they can improve.

1. Identify Patterns

Look at past successes and failures and identify patterns. Did you succeed in leading a team with a clear goal or struggle when it was less clear? Reflect on your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Are you good with innovative ideas, but not at implementing them? An honest self-evaluation is an effective way to judge your leadership. Identify the pattern or problem and you have a solution. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.

2. Read Leadership Books

One way I analyze my actions and abilities as a leader is by reading books by high-profile business leaders. In many instances, the author will explain their mistakes along the way and why their decision caused a problem. You can learn and reflect on your own behavior as you read and make changes based on practices that match your resources and vision. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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3. Listen To Your Team

I think the best way to improve as a leader is to ask for feedback. Let your team tell you how you are doing. Getting feedback from your team or peers doesn’t make you a weak leader. It shows that we hold ourselves to the same standard we hold our team. If I expect them to learn and grow, I need to demonstrate the same. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA

4. Learn From Other Leaders

You can speak to other leaders and learn from their experiences to see how you can apply their lessons to your work life. There’s so much you can learn from other professionals around you; all you have to do is ask and pick their brains for insight. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

5. Conduct A Self-Assessment

Do a self-assessment or 360-degree feedback of your own leadership performance. To do this, ask your employees to anonymously share some thoughts about you. The more different voices you have giving you feedback, the more effective your assessment will be. Make sure you listen to everything they are saying. Not only will they tell you what you’re doing wrong, but also what you might do better. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

6. Find A Mentor

One way to take stock of your abilities as a leader and find areas for improvement is to find a mentor who can offer constructive criticism with the aim to help you grow as a leader. Your mentor can play an objective role in helping you identify your own weaknesses and suggest ways to improve them. Also, since your relationship with them is based on trust, it’s easier for you to trust what they say. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

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7. Journal Your Everyday Activities

If you want to take stock of your leadership abilities, it’s important to journal your everyday activities and the events you go through. I recommend using a tool like Roam Research to make notes. It’s effective because you can connect entries to each other, but you can also use a simple notebook if you must. Look back at your previous entries and you’ll find useful hints about areas you can improve on as a leader. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Look For What’s ‘New’

Any good leader needs to stay updated with what’s new, whether it’s in marketing, technology or some other critical area of their industry. If you come across new tools and techniques that sound strange or unfamiliar to you, then it’s possible that you need to do more digging—especially if it makes you uncomfortable. Do research on new-sounding ideas and you’ll build your skills. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

9. Be Honest With Yourself

Begin by being honest with yourself. As an entrepreneur, you have likely pulled a couple of rabbits out of your hat, and sometimes, we mistake that for being able to do it all. Nobody can do it all! Look at your senior-level staffers as people who supplement your gaps. If you’re a big picture thinker, hear from the voice of detail often. If you’re the numbers person, hire at least one creative. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

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