Maybe you are the head of your company, and are looking to lead your team towards even greater success. Or maybe you have been promoted at work, and are looking to sharpen the skills that will turn you into the best leader you can be. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur and your business is growing but you aren’t sure you’re a strong enough leader to engage, empower and leverage the strengths of your team members.

Leadership is one of the most important skills we can develop as businesswomen.

Here are 10 tips for becoming a successful leader—not just in business, but in life!

Open the doors of communication. Make sure your team members are comfortable telling you what’s on their mind. Thank them, and never criticize them, for sharing their thoughts. The last thing you want is your team going to their colleagues, talking about each other, or about you, behind each other’s backs.

Be a good listener. There’s no doubt your team members will need you to be involved in major decisions. But don’t make decisions without listening to anyone who has input. If you’re a good listener, your team will trust that you have their back…always.

Be approachable. If you present as an empathetic leader who listens well and understands people, your team will find you approachable and will be comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.

Lead your team to think for themselves. More brains are better than one. Avoid the urge to do all the thinking yourself. When team members come to you with a question, ask how they would answer their own question or what their thoughts and opinions are about the subject. Gently guiding them to answer their own questions will have them thinking independently, which is more productive and ultimately leads to a more efficient team.

Foster a creative environment. An environment that promotes creativity and new, outside-the-box ideas will do more to propel your company forward than continuing to do what you’ve always done, the way you’ve always done it. Never criticize an idea as this is the fastest way to stifle innovation. It only takes one good idea to change the trajectory of a business. Stay open-minded and allow your team some wiggle room to explore new ideas and passions in a risk-free environment.

Have good conflict resolution skills. Conflict is inevitable, so be prepared and equipped with the skills to work out any issues that may arise amongst your team members. Be unbiased, treat everyone equally, and listen to all sides of every story. Do what you can to help them resolve their own conflict may be the most empowering move you can make as a leader.

Mentor those in need. You may have great new teammates who want your advice as they navigate the workload and targets that lie ahead. As someone more experienced, they’ll look to you for guidance. If there ever comes a moment you can’t give of yourself, your time, or energy, partner members of your team with more experienced members who would welcome the opportunity to mentor someone. Mentorship, whether by you or by an experienced member of your team, will result in the entire team’s success.

Keep promises or own when you couldn’t. If you make a promise, work your hardest to deliver. Your team members will have faith in you if you do what you set out to do…if you “walk the walk.” If you can’t deliver on a promise for any reason, be honest and forthcoming about why you can’t follow through rather than ignoring that you ever made the promise. Even sharing news that you missed the mark, and why, builds integrity, credibility, and sets a good example of doing the right thing which makes for a leader team members look up to.

Apologize for any mishaps. As a leader, own up to your mistakes (and, trust me, we all make them). Those who can apologize and grow from the experience will set a good example for the entire team. No one is perfect. It’s what you do after making a mistake that makes you a great leader.

Acknowledge great work from the team. Always be grateful and thank your team members for all their hard work! Everyone deserves to feel appreciated, and it will only help your team continue going when the going gets tough. Gratitude encourages team member loyalty and engagement, and loyal, engaged team members are capable of great things.

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About the Author

teri karjala

Teri devotes herself to being the resource people need to uncover their greatest levels of joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives. From teaching courses, keynoting powerhouse events, and being a consistent abundance advocate, onlookers cannot help but leave her presence feeling energized, equipped, and ready to live life to its greatest capacity.