How to Build Your Leadership Skills

There is no question that we all have the potential to lead. We can build our leadership skills if that is what we really want. If we are prepared to develop and build those skills then we can lead. Like most things, leadership begins with the self.

Behaviours associated with great leadership are not reserved for the charismatic few, we can all build them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Begin with the Self

Within us all is a potential leader, we just need to tap into those behaviours and develop them. How you influence your own behaviours in a way that embodies the leadership traits you expect to see in others will contribute greatly to your role as a leader.

Self-awareness will soon let you know how you are treating others. Is your behaviour empowering others? Do you influence them in a positive way that opens communication and develops their skills?

2. Be the leader you want to follow

By observing other leaders, reading leadership memoirs and books you will gain insight into the different styles of leadership and what you believe works and what doesn’t. Some leaders are a leader in position or title only while others make the most of their position to bring about positive change in both people and organisations. You will soon identify the type of leader you would like to be.

3. Identify leadership responsibilities

If you think about yourself in a leadership position, what comes to mind? How do you see your role as leader? What do you see as your responsibility?

When you identify the type of leader you want to be you will be able to work your way towards your goals. I see myself as a leader who empowers others, whether I am formally leading them or not, my goal is always to empower. Even under stressful conditions I observe my communication skills and ask myself ‘am I empowering them?’ I try to make it front of mind when dealing with others.

4. Lead by example

There is no point in saying one thing and doing another. Your leadership influence will be defined by what you do not what you say. If you want to be a respected and trusted leader then make sure you are walking the talk.

5. Don’t wait for the position to be a leader

One of the reasons I wrote a book on leadership was the realisation that many people I knew who displayed great leadership behaviours were not in a position of leadership. They didn’t need a title to be able to share a vision and fully engage those they were working with. They empowered those around them to work together towards goals and objectives.

6. Keep Learning

Continuous improvement is vital if you are going to keep growing. We’re all on a learning curve, if you want to continue to grow and develop as a leader you need to keep learning and sharing. Leadership is a dynamic process.

7. Authenticity is Key

There has been a significant amount of research done that tells us the vital importance of authenticity in leadership. If you want people to trust, respect and follow you then they need to know who you are. I highly recommend Bill George’s book; True North which studies 125 leaders and the vital importance of authenticity.


Alison Vidotto is the award winning author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals; the Door to Success says Push! A leadership keynote speaker and trainer, CEO of Vidotto Group and Founder of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam ( Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others. She writes leadership articles for the Australian Business Women's Network ( Alison has also been published in the...

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