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5 surprising ways to improve your leadership skills in 2019

Leadership has come a long way since the days of autocracy and hierarchies. Now leadership is all about listening, understanding, and allowing ownership but ensuring accountability. Whether you are in a position of leadership or hoping to move into one, here are 5 surprising ways to shine in 2019 and have an amazing impact on your team.

1. Take your downtime seriously

Statistically, 72% of people place work-life balance the highest on their list of priorities, according to a FlexJobs survey. Humans clearly know the value of having a rich non-working life and this is arguably more important for those in leadership positions as they have greater responsibility and pressures. So whether having a braai, exercising, chilling or socialising makes you happy – do it! Make your own personal time a high priority so that you are a refreshed, fulfilled and happy leader at work.

2. Take your health seriously

In the 70s and 80s, leaders were first in the office, last out, slugging down coffee and existing on very little sleep. Gone are the days when working '25-hour days' was the thing to do. Good leaders now make their physical health a priority, focussing on diet, exercise and sleep, so that they can show up at their very best – and so should you.

3. Dial up your feelings radar

It is no longer taboo to take each other's feelings very seriously in the workplace. We are all people who have our ups and downs. The world's most successful leaders are tuned into their teams – their 'feelings radar' allows them to spot when a team member is unhappy or really thriving and act accordingly. Invest in emotional intelligence training or literature to hone your EQ.

4. Keep your sense of humour

We spend enough of our time at work so it is important to make it a happy, fun environment. Don't take things too seriously and find the funny side in every situation so that work is fun. If your team enjoys working with you, they are more likely to do their best work – and they'll find it harder to leave.

5. Keep growing your skills

The best leaders continually invest in their own knowledge. Whether through reading or study, they evolve and grow in order to have an amazing impact at their organisation. Let this be the year you take your leadership to the next level. There are many extremely good sources for in-depth leadership guidance. Lolly Daskal – named the most inspirational woman in the world by Huffington Post – has amazing insights and so does Harvard Business Review's Leading the Way. Plus, USB-ED offers a number of leadership courses to evolve and grow skills including this popular one on development of leadership and team skills.

Here's to an amazing 2019 taking your leadership to the next level! 

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