10 Unexpected Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” And as an entrepreneur, it is important to remember th
February 18, 2011

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” And as an entrepreneur, it is important to remember that! Running your own business takes being a leader. But how does one improve their leadership skills? In more ways than you probably realize...

Beyond the Books

There are many ways in which you can improve your leadership skills, and a variety of them are probably right under your nose, only you don’t recognize that quality in them. Here are 10 unexpected ways that you can improve your leadership skills:


1. Take race car training. 

You may think it is a solo sport, but you are so wrong! It is all about the radio communication with the pit crew. Master communications during intense (think 210 mph turns) situations and you can do it anywhere.


2. Join a rowing club. 

They make it look easy, but the skills you will gain here are timing and consistent team execution, valuable in any business. You will also gain team-building skills, and your biceps will probably even see some improvement.


3. Volunteer. 

Spend time learning how to motivate a group of volunteers when you can’t use a paycheck. You may be surprised at the people skills you come away with.


4. Engage in organized sports. 

Take up something like—soccer, football or softball—and you will learn to find people’s strengths and build on them. It will give you an eye for picking up on assets you might otherwise have missed.


5. Go skydiving. 

Seems risky, right? That’s the point! You will learn all about taking risks and what all is involved to have a successful jump. Just like in the business world, there is more to it than simply taking a leap.



6. Go to karaoke. 

And while you are there, be the first person to get up and sing. Nobody wants to be the first person to get up on that stage, but doing it will make you feel empowered and more like a leader.


7. Go undercover. 

The television show “Undercover Boss” has demonstrated that company executives can become better leaders when they understand what their employees face on a daily basis. So go deep and see what you find!


8. Face your fear. 

What is your biggest fear? Take on that fear and face it. You will be amazed by how empowered and in control of your life you feel afterward. It takes courage to face a fear, just as it takes courage to start and run a business.


9. Watch movies. 

Hold a movie night and get a couple of movies that demonstrate great leadership, such as “Miracle,” or “Remember the Titans.” There are many good ones to choose from, and hey, it gives you a legitimate excuse to sit around in your jogging pants, munching popcorn!


10. Learn body language

One of the biggest determinants for being a successful leader is communication skills. They are essential! But most people focus solely on being able to talk and write, when nonverbal communication makes up the majority of how we communicate. Focus more on what is not being said, and you will have a better idea of where to go when leading. Whether you read a book, take a course, or tune in each week to “Lie to Me,” learning about body language can be really helpful in business.


Great Leaders

The list of interesting ways to improve your leadership skills could go on and on. You may find that there are many activities you can do right now that will help you improve those skills. As Kennedy said, leadership involves learning. So your challenge is to keep finding ways to improve your leadership skills. And, as you see from this list, you can actually have some fun at the same time!


Read more on leadership competencies.