A fundamental way for a business professional to develop leadership skills is to honestly assess himself or herself and to address areas in need of improvement.

Part of the self-assessment can be completed by answering the following questions:

Who or What Can Help Me Develop My Skills?

No one is good at everything so leaders should check their egos at the door and spend ample time considering this question. Skills and behaviors can be improved, using traditional and creative channels. Skill-building classes and seminars are viable options, whether offered in the workplace, business community or through industry-specific groups or societies.  Another powerful way is to seek out a mentor that excels in that area.

What do I feel strongly about to commit myself to completely?

Instead of getting absorbed in the “rat race,” business leaders should aspire to find a personal connection to and passion for a charitable or civic cause. Making philanthropy and community involvement part of their daily lives involves conviction, commitment, and purpose. It does not need to be on the scale of Bill Gates either; it can be small, meaningful, and purposeful. 

How Can I Get Out of My Comfort Zone?

How many times do people say, “I’ve always done it this way?”  The world and people change so business leaders need to change with it. The most challenging way to initiate change is to step out of one’s comfort zone. It can be frightening and exhilarating at the same time. There are so many ways to do it:  travel, learn a language, or pick up a new and unfamiliar hobby. Getting out of one’s comfort zone creates a more well-rounded person.

What Steps Am I Taking to Put In the Work?

Like any sport or activity, practice is essential. Are leadership skills regularly tried and practiced? Leaders are not born; leadership is gained through experience and understanding of the people and environment the business leader works in.

These four questions can be a starting point in examining a leader’s character. Regularly addressing these points in this self-assessment will result in a more thoughtful leader and human being.