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You can learn to be a successful leader

Tai-Shan Schierenberg

Not all of us are natural leaders, but mastering some fundamental skills can boost your confidence and performance.

If you struggle with leadership, you might be inclined to focus on your deficiencies. Learning and implementing some key techniques of success will be a more fruitful response, according to business psychologist Dionne Mahaffey writing for Forbes.

She believes the difficulties you encounter today could actually carry you towards an auspicious future if you tackle them and learn from the experience.

These key strategies can help:


Good communication is the major player on the list of essentials for effective leadership. But how can you achieve it consistently?

  • Craft your message carefully to convey exactly what you want to say. Define the issue and what needs to be done to solve it. Who do you want to deal with it, what could go wrong in the process and what resources can you offer your team?
  • Does everyone understand what you are trying to say? It’s OK to repeat yourself to be extra clear. Encourage questions and comments and give your team time to digest and respond.
  • Be quick to manage conflict between colleagues to prevent a toxic atmosphere in the workplace and to assert your position as leader.
  • Get to know your team so you can observe their emotional triggers, pair them up with like-minded colleagues and avoid future conflicts.
  • Give praise and be specific about who and what it is for. For example: “The candid testimonials you gathered gave us a valuable insight into the product that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”


Successful leaders make an effort to get their employees onside and involved. “Engaging a team takes some extra time and forethought, but the payoff can net huge gains in productivity and trust.”

  • Treat each employee as an individual and assign tasks according to their interests, strengths and weaknesses and they will be more productive.
  • Be honest about changes or plans in the pipeline. Keeping your teams informed makes them feel valued and creates a bond of trust and loyalty. A group email is enough to spread the word.
  • Ask for feedback from employees and really mean it. Creating an open-door policy for concerns or grievances will make your team feel their opinions and feelings are valid and important.


Overcoming problems along the way is part of the process of becoming an effective leader. Calling on outside resources can ease your way.

  • Seek out training that involves active learning and group practice sessions with peers. This is more useful at leadership level than lectures, handouts and demonstrations.
  • Find someone you trust to be a mentor. Leadership skills span all industries and disciplines, so go for a person you feel comfortable with and who has the same philosophy as you.

Above all, you shouldn’t fear failure on your journey. Lessons learned from mistakes allow you to become the kind of leader you want to be.

Source Article: How to Demonstrate Successful Leadership in the Workplace
Author(s): Dionne Mahaffey
Publisher: Forbes