It takes an exceptional set of skills and qualities to make a great leader. Even the most successful managers, and directors are continually finding new things to learn, improve and change as both themselves and their teams grow.

Although you might think that some people are just born with great leadership instincts and everything comes naturally to them when coordinating a team, it’s usually not that simple. It takes a lot of commitment, hard work, and passion for leading, training and guiding others.

Inspiring leaders will often admit that they are always striving for self-improvement and that the learning process never ends when it comes to understanding how to manage your team.

If you are looking for ways to expand your knowledge on the matter, there are a few things that you can try to become better at leading, inspiring and motivating others.


1. Improve your communication skills

Establishing a connection with others begins with communication and knowing more about how your team members think, function and feel will help you find better ways in which to guide them.

Improving your own communication skills will not only give you a more complex understanding of what others are saying, but it will also help you voice your ideas, goals, expectations, and demands more clearly.

Continuously working on gaining more insight into verbal and non-verbal communication as well as listening skills will help you immensely when giving and receiving feedback.

Non-verbal or body language can give you a lot of useful information about what others are unconsciously saying and about what they feel so learning how to read the signals that they unknowingly send you during a conversation will help you have a more profound understanding of their mindset.

The more you know about the people that you are leading, the easier it will be for you to work and communicate with them.


2. Stay positive and calm

It’s easy to become stressed and worried about the many issues that you need to solve daily. When you’re a leader you also have to manage the problems of your team as well as your own. Unless you want to give yourself an anxiety attack every other day, try to keep a calm and positive attitude.

I know it’s easier said than done when you’re under a lot of pressure, but the reality is that if you have a negative mindset, your problem-solving abilities, self-esteem and confidence can drop considerably — and it becomes harder to deal with your tasks.

So find ways to keep yourself calm and to stay positive throughout the day.

Want to lower your stress levels? Take on one task at a time and go through as much work as you can instead of making unrealistic to-do lists.

Putting less pressure on yourself will allow you to work more efficiently and be more relaxed.

One of the best methods of dealing with stress while working is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. You can find a practice of meditation that fits into your schedule and helps you relieve stress and increase focus.

Using such a method will help you maintain a positive attitude, and improve your concentration and ability to work well under pressure.


3. Strive for self-improvement

The idea of leading by example is not new to successful managers and business executives. Motivating others to work hard and better themselves is much more easily accomplished when you are doing the same.

When others see that you, as a leader, are continually striving to learn and achieve more, they will feel empowered to do the same.

Being a role model can extend to more than just your work ethic and professionalism; humility and the belief that there is always more to learn can inspire others.

There is always room for improvement when it comes to your business and your team; the same principle should apply for yourself. Try to stay up to date on the new developments in your field. Keep searching for new ways in which you can improve your professional activity.

Find new information, read engaging books and learn new techniques or resources that you can use to improve your business as well as yourself.


4. Uphold your values

Your personal values and morals will reflect in your work and your interaction with your team members. Therefore, make sure your actions help you uphold them.

Compromising your morals and beliefs for the sake of business does more damage than good in the long term.  It can hinder your success and relationships with others.

Make decisions that are in tune with your values so that you can successfully run your business with a light heart and with integrity.

Not only will that help gain the respect of your peers and your team but it will also contribute to your professional image. Most importantly, it will boost your happiness and self-esteem.


5. Motivate others

Recognizing the potential of others and encouraging them to develop their skill set is a vital part of being a successful leader. Try to get to know and understand your team members; discover what empowers and motivates them to work hard and strive for achievements.

Strive to keep your staff excited, as well as intellectually and emotionally invested in their work. As a result, you will have a more productive business and pleasant work environment.

Look for creative and successful ways of giving your team members that extra push they need to strive for greatness and keep using the methods that work well for your staff.

People respond differently to incentives and positive reinforcement. However, everyone enjoys having their efforts acknowledged. Figure out what the best way to encourage your team is and build from there.

Most importantly, try to relate to your staff on a human level and empathize with them. Understanding what a person cherishes, thinks and feels is the best way to build a successful relationship, whether it be a professional or a personal one.


Helen Daniels combines her skills as a business management graduate with her love of writing (read more of her work over at TextMagic) and balances running a small business and updating her on a regular basis. She spends most of her free time planning her next article and researching successful and innovative business models: in other words, she loves being a workaholic.