Three Simple Steps to Becoming a Better Leader


Managers promoted for their technical knowledge sometimes lack the soft skills vital for them to be effective leaders who inspire and foster commitment among their teams. With the right training, these managers can grow to become strong, well rounded leaders.

How Can You Become A Better Leader?

The difference between an effective leader and one who simply holds a management title is that an effective leader is self-reflective and proactively embraces opportunities for growth. According to executive coach Monique Valcour, there are three simple steps you can take to become a better leader.

1) Determine a new leadership skill you want to achieve:

Is there a particular problem you need to solve? Before looking for solutions, figure out how you can improve your performance as a leader to tackle the problem. This will require you to focus on yourself instead of what’s worrying you. To be an effective leader, you need to understand that you cannot “fix” people the same way you would fix a technical issue, and you need to learn to recognize how your own behavior and thinking affects those around you. When things go wrong, do you have a tendency to overreact or criticize others? If so, you could be contributing to the problem in ways you don’t realize. To avoid this, identify what is important to you about achieving your goals and why you want to achieve them. This can help motivate you to learn and grow self-reflectively as a leader.

2) Ask for feedback to improve your understanding of the problem, just as you would if you were attempting to solve a technical issue:

A great way to expand your understanding of a problem is to ask others for their feedback and perspectives. For instance, if you feel as though an employee is acting out or struggling, talk to them about the situation before jumping to conclusions. Understand that criticizing a team member or giving them a poor performance evaluation without understanding the situation from their perspective can be demoralizing and may cause them to mistrust you.

3) Once you’ve developed insight into the situation and how your own behavior may have played a role, take steps to effective change:

Just as leaders give feedback to their employees, they should also seek feedback from their teams about how they can improve their own leadership moving forward (what executive coach Marshall Goldsmith dubs “feedforward”). This process can help build communication, accountability, and trust between yourself and your team.

How Can Organizations Improve Leadership?

Organizations that do not take responsibility for ineffective leadership in their ranks often suffer from low employee morale and performance. Training programs can help new managers understand what actually represents good leadership, as well as what they need to do to become effective leaders. By creating opportunities for growth, organizations can create a culture of effective leadership that benefits everyone.

Develop Effective Leaders Within Your Organization

IEEE has partnered with Rutgers Business School to offer the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers. Ranked as one of the three best Mini-MBAs by Forbes, the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers helps corporate employees bridge the gap between business and engineering as they prepare for growth into leadership roles. The program operates entirely online and is designed specifically for groups of ten or more within an organization. It features topics, such as business strategy, managing product development, finance, negotiation, managing human capital, intellectual property strategy, and transformational agility.

Participants learn how to make organizational decisions with both technical and operational considerations. After developing an understanding of how different functional groups interact to achieve overall goals, they learn to apply their newly developed business skills to better align their technical capabilities with business strategy.

The program offers the option of a customized capstone project, completely aligned to the needs of your organization. As part of the project, participants receive feedback from program professors who have worked as engineering leaders themselves.

To learn more about the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers for your organization, contact an IEEE Account Manager today.


Valcour, Monique. (24 May 2021). Transform Your Technical Expertise into Leadership. Harvard Business Review. 

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