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How to Improve Your Leadership Skills in Just 20 Minutes a Day

Updated: May 13

 "Back view of a poised female leader conducting a meeting with three attentive colleagues in a sunlit, modern office space, symbolizing effective team leadership."
"Harnessing the Power of Leadership: A leader cultivates growth through active engagement and strategic thinking in a collaborative team setting."

In a world where everyone is constantly on the go, it's easy to believe that a jam-packed schedule is a sign of importance. But the truth is, a busy calendar only shows that you have a lot on your plate. It's essential to remember that personal development is key, even when things get hectic. The real measure of significance comes from investing in yourself, your most valuable asset.

My Early Career Challenges

Early in my career as an assistant manager in the banking industry, I believed my experience had prepared me for managing people. However, a challenge arose when I was tasked with implementing a teller referral program. While some tellers were self-motivated by bonuses or aspirations of advancement, others struggled with prioritizing referrals. Despite my efforts, I faced frustration trying to inspire everyone to participate.

Leadership vs. Management

In order to achieve my objectives, I implemented incentive programs for tellers, conducted regular meetings to provide encouragement, and actively worked the teller line during busy periods to set a positive example and boost referral rates. Despite these efforts, some individuals remained disinterested, leading to feelings of frustration. Seeking input from my manager, she posed a pivotal question that could potentially have a significant impact on my career: "You are a competent manager, but are you a strong leader?"

Three Steps to Effective Leadership

A wooden desk holds the essentials for leadership planning: a laptop, notebook, pen, and a cup of coffee. The word 'LEADERSHIP' is prominently displayed in 3D letters across the center, symbolizing the focus and intention behind every successful leader's journey.
"Leadership: Not just a position, but an action and a commitment to growth."

Over the course of my career in the past three decades, I have learned that achieving successful leadership through personal development and learning can be broken down into three actionable steps:

  1. Beyond Task Management My manager, who emphasized empathy and listening, represented a departure from the more detached, logic-driven approach I had observed in the past. After listening to me, she inspired me to delve into leadership resources and discover the importance of self-development. Motivated to explore leadership resources, I signed up for my first Franklin Covey certified leadership seminar, focusing on the principles of effective leadership as outlined in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

  2. Learning from Every Source Every opportunity to learn enables improvement in leadership skills, creating added value not only for oneself but also for others. Valuable leadership lessons are available from a variety of sources, including Netflix series, sporting events, social media videos, and audio books. Instead of just consuming content, actively pursue these lessons to apply them effectively in a professional setting.

  3. Committing to Daily Growth Almost two decades after my initial encounter with leadership training, during my time of isolation and contemplation, commonly known as the Covid-19 Quarantine, I discovered a book titled "The 5 AM Club." Although I may not adhere to waking up at 5 AM every morning, I find value in the idea presented in the book of dedicating the first hour of the day to physical activity, mental awareness, and personal growth, broken down into 20-minute segments. The concept of taking small, manageable steps toward self-improvement resonates with me.

The Importance of Education in Leadership

Investing in education is an act of self-improvement, especially for leaders seeking personal and professional growth to inspire their team. Leadership involves the sharing of knowledge, inspiring others, and promoting growth, regardless of one's official position or title. Embracing the concept of the 360-degree leader is essential for making a positive impact, and taking just 20 minutes a day to read or engage with educational content can significantly boost personal and professional development.

Regardless of your approach, dedicating 20 minutes each day to personal development should be a priority. Whether you choose to listen to a book on your daily commute or watch a podcast before the news in the morning, the key is to establish a consistent habit.

Enhancing leadership skills can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be complicated. By incorporating skill development into your daily routine, you can progress towards becoming a better leader. Remember, significant changes often stem from small actions. Start small, achieve one goal, and then repeat the process the following day.


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