You may be surprised to learn very few people are natural-born leaders. Instead, those who reach this status become effective through a combination of wisdom gathered from others, personal experience, and a focused effort to improve their leadership skills. Here are a few tips on how you can do the work to become a great leader.

Own Your Mistakes

Like it or not, mistakes happen to everyone in the business world. How you respond to yours makes a big difference to your employees and your boss. Blaming someone else or ignoring it shreds your credibility with your staff. Instead, admit to your error, fix the problem, and focus on analyzing why it happened so you can prevent it from occurring again. Then, look for ways to learn from the experience.

Develop Your Listening Skills

Active listening is not a common skill for most leaders. It takes training to learn how to focus your attention on the speaker, ask questions to understand what they’re saying, and give a thoughtful response. It is designed to help you better see the speaker’s point of view so you respond to their needs instead of reacting to them. This leadership skill is especially beneficial when handling tense situations as it focuses on finding solutions. It also makes your employees feel valued because you are interested in what they have to say.

Learn How To Communicate Clearly

Your staff looks to you for clarity and direction on the company’s vision, mission, and goals and how their jobs fit into the big picture. Their job performance suffers if you cannot effectively communicate this information to them.

You also need the ability to provide your employees with honest feedback about their work. This includes having tough conversations with any who aren’t meeting their goals and objectives and following up with an action plan to motivate them to fix the issues.

Keep Your Commitments

Don’t fall into the trap of making any commitments you aren’t fairly certain you can keep. Overpromising and underdelivering on tasks and projects cause a lack of trust and respect for your abilities in the eyes of your employees and your own leaders. Instead, don’t immediately accept a commitment until you’ve given thought to the resources needed to achieve it. Then, follow up with the discipline to get the job done ahead of schedule.

Taking action to develop these areas helps move you out of mediocrity and into the ranks of being recognized by your boss and employees for your great leadership skills.