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When you sit back and think about how you could better lead the people assigned to you, the answer may be tougher than you want to accept. They need you to develop your skills and understandings of your business and industry so you can guide them in appropriate ways. This means that you are on a continuous learning path and always expected to know more than others. Your goal isn’t to be a subject matter expert. It’s to be an expert in getting people to reach their goals. In this post, we look at four ways to focus your leadership development for the near future:

Put on your strategic hat

Leaders will ensure that they have a vision, mission, values, and performance objectives for the entire organization (or their division). This changes over time. When natural disasters, for example, impact a large company’s operations, suddenly priorities shift to restoration.

Become a better listener

You may have been to many types of training over the years that teach skills such as active listening, being thoughtful before you respond, and showing empathy. However, there are always people on your team who need some of your time. They wish that you would listen better. This could begin with sitting down to ask them what they need.

Make time for coaching

While you may be listening to employees and noting their concerns, there needs to be a follow-through. People want to take you at your word. You must look at the calendar and adjust time commitments to be available in person, via video chat, or by phone. Don’t make promises that you don’t intend to keep.

Increase your understanding of all areas operations (or start with one)

This could look like sitting down with experts and shadowing them. You can have them teach you things that will help you plan how the company will create new products or services for the future. You can give more resources to weaker projects or more people to weaker teams. Understanding could look like reading through more reports and memos within your division to understand what people work on. Dare to reach the people at the lowest end of the food chain for new ideas, but they must believe that you are really there to learn something.

Put your strategic mindset on and see where your learning, advice, and perspectives will be most used to help employees perform their jobs well. Leaders are not afraid to take the backseat while other people drive the bus!