Leadership theorists used to argue that great leaders were genetically gifted, predisposed to behave as leaders. However, studies have disapproved that view. We now know that 70 per cent of the qualities associated with great leadership are learned behaviours. But rather than seeing leadership as learnable knowledge, it would help to think of it as a set of skills. Leadership is both a set of behaviours that can be learned and a set of traits that can be nurtured.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, here are ways you can start to become a better leader today:

– Become a good communicator. Learning how to be a good leader can greatly impact the success of your team, your organisation and yourself. Great leaders connect with their team by facilitating open communication, encouraging employee growth and development, and giving and receiving feedback. One of the most important elements of effective leadership is creating an open line of communication with your team members.

– Manage your emotions. Your emotions give you energy. If they’re low, your energy is low; if they’re running high, you feel positive and optimistic. To be at your best as a leader, manage your emotions – when you do, you manage your energy too.

– Be an example. A leader holds themselves accountable for their own actions. This helps their team know what is expected of themselves. When you operate with high standards, your team knows they have to follow your example or risk being seeing as incompetent, which would lead to their dismissal from your team. If you operate without standards, you will find that you have a team who has no discipline or values.

– Analyze first, then act. It takes time to collect information, and there’s a sense in leadership that you need to move quickly. We are paid to respond and act, not to sit back and wait for someone else to solve problems. Yet I made the mistake of acting before analyzing.

– Adaptability. “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” – Ben Franklin. There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable to most organisations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

– Let go of limiting beliefs that no longer serve you. When you imagine your ideal life or career, what intrusive thoughts get in the way? Let go of those! They zap your energy to keep you “safe” in your comfort zone. Stop letting them author your life story. Claim your own authorship. When you do your inner work and “clean up the basement” you bring wholeness to your world. Every moment is an opportunity to write or rewrite your story in a way that is nourishing and life affirming.

The key message is:

Leadership isn’t about knowledge – it’s best understood as a series of habits that link leadership misbehaviours to specific cues. If you can change the way you respond to situations, it’s possible to develop exemplary leadership skills.