Whether you’re an established CEO or just reaching for your first management position, it’s never a bad time to brush up on the basic elements of leadership. Just having the authority to tell people what to do is not the same as leadership. Without the right leadership skills, you won’t be able to motivate, engage and guide your team. If you want to be the best leader you can be, we suggest you take some time to assess yourself on the 5 fundamentals below so you can lead your team to greatness. After all, their success is your success!

1. Communication

Leadership starts with communication. Effective communication is clear, transparent and customized to the recipient. A good leader will take the time to find out which communication style and method (text, e-mail, phone or in-person) work best for each team member. By communicating with your team, you build trust, rapport and a culture of shared accountability. Communicate—often, clearly and honestly.

2. Knowing Your People

A good leader knows his or her team better than anyone else—their strengths, their weaknesses, what makes them tick and what motivates them. Take the time to get to know your team and you’ll know how to talk to them—and how to get things done.

3. Knowing Yourself

It’s not only important to know your team; it’s important to know yourself. Is this just a job to you, or do you truly want to be a leader?—Do you want to motivate, inspire and lead people? If you’re just in it for the money or the prestige, you’re not a true leader. Your team most likely won’t be happy or engaged, and neither will you.

4. Diplomacy

If you’re simply telling people what to do, you’re not going to have engaged workers, and your results will probably suffer, too. Sure, sometimes you have to make a tough call and push through an unpopular agenda item, but for the most part you should try to show your team that they do have choices. Listen to their needs, take suggestions and implement the democratic process when it comes to projects. Of course, every company, department and project are different, but, for the most part, giving people the autonomy they crave will result in a more engaged workforce and better results. Gently encouraging a collaborative, democratic work environment will be more effective than forcing roles and expectations on people.

5. Seeking Out Feedback

It’s hard to do an honest self-assessment so regularly ask for feedback—not only from your team, but other managers, mentors and other colleagues as well. Feedback helps you to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to use them to your advantage. When you grow, your team grows!

How can you improve?

A title might make a manager, but it doesn’t make a leader. If you want to truly inspire and motivate and guide your team to greatness, putting these tips into practice can put you on your way to leadership status. Even the best leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves. If you’d like some extra help improving your leadership skills, or even improving your entire leadership team, get in touch with our Human Resources Advisory team today! Our team of career experts offer a bevy of executive development and career coaching services that are proven to inspire and elevate leaders at every level of experience.