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~by Lizzie Weakley~

Ever wondered why managers, business owners, and CEOs are paid handsomely in their respective industries? It’s because these people have a rare set of skills and expertise that few in the field possess. Becoming an effective leader, however, is not innate nor does it come to you over the span of a week or month. Leadership skills are cultivated through deliberate practice  over time and laser-sharp focus.

If you wish to become a leader someday, use the five tips below to start honing your abilities to lead workforces and companies into success.

1. Have the Mental Clarity

Professionals who have too many things in mind lose a clear vision of what they hope to accomplish. Daily efforts tend to be wasted since most of the work does not align with the long-term path projected for the company. Take the time to understand what you want to achieve, where you want to be in the next 10 to 20 years of leading the company, and how you intend to get there. It’s easy to get lost in all the variables that need keeping track of, such as new markets and target demographics you can expand to, new technology you can take advantage of, and so on.

2. Have Passion

Passion is what will keep you energized and motivated to work the longest every day and wake up the next morning ready to repeat it all over again. Passionless leaders are okay with average results as long as the company stays afloat and investors are kept satisfied. It becomes particularly important when you’re starting out as a humble employee. Do you think the management will pass the torch to you if they thought you didn’t genuinely care for the business’ well-being and future? Show people you are passionate about your work by arriving on time, enthusiastically taking on progressively harder workloads, and continuously learning outside of work.

3. Improve Your Workforce’s Situation

Successful companies are built from the hard work and intellectual contributions of its employees. No leader can be successful without acknowledgement of this fact. The century-old adage “No man is an island” may be overused but definitely makes sense, especially in the business setting. Enriching your employees’ knowledge and skill set will also lift you and your business up. Enroll your company in a senior leadership team development workshop that will teach you all about how to handle mental flaws, such as egos and fears, how to work on time limitations and stressful deadlines, and how to best extract information and productivity from your employees.

4. Be a Good Communicator

Having astute interpersonal skills is the bread and butter for any effective leader. You will be working with dozens of employees, multiple teams and departments, and many more people outside your company, such as suppliers and investors. If you can’t convey messages in a clear and concise manner, then it’s bound to negatively affect your company. Proactively improve your verbal, nonverbal, and listening skills. Intently listen to people when they are telling you something, and then mentally decide what the best response is.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risk

Failure is imminent in any enterprise. No successful CEO or billion-dollar magnate has achieved their feats without failing. To be an effective leader means to see beyond what’s in front of you and to follow up with actions without the slightest apprehension. If you don’t take the risk for your company, then no one else will. Of course, don’t just take risks whenever they pop up. Instead, calculate the risk-reward ratio and then decide accordingly.

If you want to be an effective leader, you can’t just showcase your leadership skills and positive attitude while at work. You have to turn these into daily habits until they become second nature.

Meet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.