~by Emma Sturgis~

According to Fortune Magazine, the number of female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies reached a historic high in 2014. Women everywhere are shattering the glass ceiling and reaching dizzying heights in the workforce. Honing your leadership skills is an integral part of climbing the ladder of success in business. If you have your sights set on the corner office or penthouse suite, here are some tips for refining your leadership strategy.

Be Your Authentic Self

leadership skillsYour leadership success depends on your team trusting your instincts and believing you to be a genuine person. If you have a tendency to hide your true feelings, you could be coming off as fake or disingenuous. Practice authenticity — speak your mind by choosing your words carefully. You don’t need to be rude or abrupt, but you do want to be open and honest.

Pay Special Attention to Your Appearance

Like it or not, people will judge you based on your dress and grooming. This, unfortunately, is often truer for female business leaders than it is for male leaders. You will also feel more confident and assertive when you like how you look. Get regular haircuts, practice good hygiene, and keep your wardrobe up to date. If you’re not much of a fashionista, ask a fashion-savvy friend to help you build a classic, functional wardrobe. Developing a quick makeup and skincare routine is key, so you can “keep up appearances” even when you’re short on time. Well-known cosmetics companies like Sephora offer several versatile products which can be used in various ways to condense the time you spend in front of the mirror. Establishing a practical routine will not only save you time, but it will keep you looking on top of things when you come into work every day.

Give Credit Where It’s Due

Nobody likes a boss who takes all the credit for projects that took a whole team to complete. While you do want to take credit for your accomplishments, be generous when doling out credit to others. Make sure your team feels valued and recognized for their efforts, and don’t be shy about drawing out those who aren’t being given credit for their contributions.

Accept Mistakes and Failures Gracefully

Everybody makes mistakes at some point in their career. The last thing anyone wants is the embarrassment and shame of their supervisor calling out their failure in front of the group or, worse, being made to feel as if all their positive works are now nothing due to the error. When an employee makes a mistake, correct it gracefully and move on. Your team will appreciate this and remember you as an absolute professional.

Honing your leadership skill set throughout your career is integral to your success. If you have your eye on upper management or want to be selected for larger projects, focusing on these skills will give you a decided advantage.

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Emma SturgisMeet the Author: Emma Sturgis

Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.