How Do Leaders Continue to Improve Their Leadership Skills?

By Alan Olsen

What makes a great leader? This is a topic that I have discussed with many of the country’s top business leaders over the years. Everyone answers this question in his or her own unique way, they typically end up describing the same types of traits and characteristics that are commonplace among great leaders. Becoming a great leader usually takes time, it’s an ongoing process. Rarely does a person simply become a great leader overnight, and then they’re finished developing leadership skills. In fact, most great leaders will tell you that they never stop trying to improve how they lead. So to that end, what does it take for leaders to keep improving their skills and how do they continue to become better leaders?

Tips for Improving Your Leadership Skills

One important thing to always keep in mind if you are trying to improve your leadership skills is to have a clear vision. You need to know what your purpose and goals are and be able to clearly explain those to your team. You then have to lead the way for them to follow as you work together to achieve those goals. Another way that leaders continue to improve is by recognizing and using their talents and abilities. As you utilize all your gifts and skills you will become a better leader.

Be A Role Model

You can also become a better leader by being a role model. That means you always do what you say you are going to do and you lead by example. Along those same lines, you should always live in accordance with your morals and beliefs. Never compromise your integrity in any way. Even if people see things differently, they will respect you for living according to your stated beliefs and morals. Another important thing to remember if you want to improve as a leader is to always learn from your past.

Jonathan Coslet, CIO of TPG Capital

I recently spoke with Jonathan Coslet on my weekly radio program American Dreams. Jonathan serves as the Chief Investment Officer, and Senior Partner of TPG Capital, L.P. Jonathan has been with TPG Capital since1993 and is responsible for the Texas Pacific Group's generalist and healthcare investment activities. Before joining TPG, he was in the Investment Banking Department of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where he specialized in leveraged acquisitions and high yield finance. We discussed several topics during our interview, including how business leaders can continuously improve their leadership skills.

Being Able to Understand Yourself

“My teenage kids complain about learning history and I say to them: ‘you learn history so you can be better at the future. If you can see how people acted in the past, they’re probably going to act similarly – not exactly the same, but similarly – in the future. So the best thing to do is just keep learning.” Jonathan also said that the best personal trait that he’s seen leaders develop is being able to really understand themselves. “Understanding what’s important to them, understanding what they want to accomplish – not only in the organization they’re at but in life – understanding what motivates people.” That takes a different type of personal development. “It’s really an EQ development than an IQ development.”