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Improving Your Leadership Skills

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Essay title: Improving Your Leadership Skills

Improving Your Leadership Skills

The role of leadership and supervision in American business is gaining increasing recognition. Just as society looks for a leader to define its purpose and lead it forward, business is concerned with the selection and development of people who can successfully invent, make, sell and provide services to set their enterprise apart from its competition and solve the many perplexing problems that confront them.

Management techniques of the last several decades -- management by objectives, diversification, zero-based budgeting, value chain analysis, decentralization, centralization, quality circles, restructuring, management by "walking around" etc. -- have not had the significant, long lasting affect that some of the tried and true, but often forgotten, strategies of supervision can offer.

One fundamental change in the strategy of managing in today's environment is the concept of coaching rather than managing. Many businesses have rightly redesigned their work flow around processes. These processes enable the creation of process teams, in other words, a person or group responsible for an entire business process. Team supervision, commonly referred to as coaching, demands more education than training. The difference is execution. Training generally implies learning the skills necessary to perform a particular function. Training someone in the art of collections becomes very focused on that function. However, education expands the scope of the collection function to understand the role of cash flow to the business, the impact on sales and marketing, and the relationship of collection to the credit extension philosophy. Training teaches skills, education teaches the job.

There are several strategies found useful in the art of successful leadership and supervision.

Self Esteem

When you make someone feel important, you gain their willingness to work for you.

Here are some techniques to improve self esteem:

• Ask their advice. Even though you may feel you have the answers to a problem, ask for their help. This makes the employee feel that you think their opinion is worth considering.

• Remember the name of the person you are dealing with, and use it often in your conversation. Remember the most important thing to a person is their name.

• Discuss subjects; but do not argue about them. Arguing infers that you think the other person is wrong, therefore bringing the person down, and hurting their self esteem.

• Sincerely compliment them occasionally. You can surely find something to praise someone about.

• Be more willing to listen than to talk. Pay close attention, and show interest in what they are saying.

• Be interested in the person. Keep people well informed on all matters that may concern them.

• Show respect for a person's knowledge by repeating a remark of theirs that will reflect favorably on them.

Become a Good Listener

Generally people do not know how to be good listeners. People usually only remember about half of the information they are told. Below are some points on becoming a good listener.

• Be ready to listen. Stay alert in your posture and in your facial expression.

• Try to avoid distractions.

• Eliminate bias in your thoughts about a person, otherwise you will never comprehend what they are saying.

• To ward off boredom, try to stay ahead of the speaker by anticipating what she may say next.

• Try to group thoughts or points to make it easier to remember.

• Look for key words in what the person is saying. It makes recalling the conversation easier.


Planning is one of the key management tools. Certainly all of our companies have short, and long range plans. Through planning, we decide a course of action to achieve goals and accomplish objectives. Planning prepares us for how to perform in the event certain things happen.

• Planning requires getting facts and data. The more information you can gather together, the better equipped you will be to make decisions.

• Policies and procedures are either originated or examined and brought up-to-date when planning.

• Objectives are also reviewed when a planning process is implemented.

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