become an effective leader

Did you set new year's resolutions? How are they holding up? If you had a resolution on your list to become an effective leader, this post is for you.


Whether you’re already leading a team or project or you’re aspiring to become a leader this year, your leadership is needed; confident leaders are essential for organizations, businesses, and governments to succeed. But in order to reach your leadership goals, you need personalized, concrete actions to follow.

What does effective leadership look like? We have 5 key tips on growing as a leader: excellent communication skills, appropriate education, self-awareness, the ability to network, and a professional online presence. Let’s break down those tips, so you can make 2020 the year of effective leadership.

Tip 1: Communication Skills

  • Read. Great communication will never develop in an echo chamber. You have to expose yourself to great writing in order to know what great writing looks like. Remember to read publications that pertain to your industry to know what terminology and style are appropriate.
  • Sign up for Daily Page. The goal of this resource is to help you write regularly. You receive a daily prompt, write a response, and then decide if you want to keep it private or make it public. This resource is helpful because repetition is key to consistent improvement.
  • Join Toastmasters. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by giving and/or listening to speeches. Toastmasters has over 15,900 clubs in 142 countries so you can shop around and find the right club for you.

Tip 2: Knowledge/Education

  • Attend workplace training. This is a convenient way to receive a little more training that can benefit you in the long run. Not all employers offer such training, so you may need to seek education from an outside source.
  • Talk to HR about pursuing additional education. Find out what kind of financial support your employer provides to help you further your education. Know your options. It is vital to get the right information so you can make an informed decision.
  • Enroll in a master’s program. It has become increasingly common for companies to only consider applicants with master’s degrees, rather than bachelor’s degrees. Consider a degree designed to prepare leaders like the Organizational Leadership & Administration (OLA) program offered online through Concordia University.

Tip 3: Self-Awareness

  • Ask for a performance evaluation. Hopefully, your employer already prioritizes annual performance reviews. If not, ask for one. Performance evaluations provide an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, address personal concerns, and negotiate promotions and salary increases.
  • Sign up for a FREE self-leadership course. You cannot lead others without leading yourself first! This Concordia course gives you the tools to identify and harness the internal and external influences in your life.
  • Take a personality quiz. Knowing how you think and act helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This is particularly helpful for understanding how you interact with team members. If you want the most accurate results, pay for the official Myers-Briggs test. Free variations sometimes give helpful information, but are not especially credible.

Tip 4: Networking

  • Create and maintain your LinkedIn account. Companies use this resource to recruit new employees; professionals use it to form mutually beneficial connections. Unfortunately, merely having an account is not enough to adequately network. The good news: if you aren’t sure how to make the most of LinkedIn, the Managing Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn course with a LinkedIn consultant provides need-to-know information.
  • Set lunch dates with influential co-workers. In the digital world, it is vital to build face-to-face relationships whenever possible. Enjoying lunch provides a great opportunity to casually get to know other people and their connections. Bonus: you get to work on your oral communication skills!

Tip 5: Online Presence

  • Research the basics of an online presence. A previous post of ours explores what a healthy online presence looks like with 4 Power Tips to Grow Your Online Presence. Fear not! You don’t have to be a tech wizard to take control of your online information.
  • Create an online professional portfolio. Have you ever Googled yourself? If the obituary of someone you don’t know pops up, your online presence needs some work. PortfolioGen is a resource that allows you to share your professional achievements with peers and administrators.
  • Take the Digital Influencer Academy courses. If you aren’t sure where to start creating your online presence, this Academy teaches you how to manage and monetize your online presence. Did we mention that Academy courses through Concordia are a fraction of the cost of a traditional course?

Your Next Step to Become an Effective Leader

If you follow through on just one step per tip, you are well on your way to becoming an effective leader. Imagine the possibilities if you picked two steps per tip! If leadership is important for reaching your career goals, consider the OLA master’s program with Concordia University Online. With this program, you have the opportunity to complete a master’s degree AND your 2020 goal to become an effective leader by this time next year!

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