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In past blog posts we've talked a lot about specific areas of leadership. From showing authenticity in your management to cultivating higher engagement rates among employees, these pieces have dug deeper into niche categories of the leadership realm. But what about leaders just looking to generally improve their skills? What steps should one take to get on the path to optimal leadership?

A good leader is always looking to improve. So, this list is for you. Next time you need to take a minute to realign your leadership approach, this piece has got you covered. Let's check it out:

"A good leader is always looking to improve."

1. Remember, leadership is a skill: Chances are you're looking to refine your skills because you are feeling a little shaky in your position. The best advice we can give you from the start is to remember that leadership is a skill. It can be learned, tweaked and improved upon. Entrepreneur contributor Michael Noice asserted that the idea of natural-born leaders is bogus. Great leadership is a deliberate act. A conscious effort to apply best practices and see them through in everyday scenarios. Executives that recognize the need to continue learning new ways to effectively lead are the only types of leaders worth your time.

2. Refocus on communication: : Communication is the backbone of good leadership. Nine times out of 10, hiccups in management can be attributed to poor communication. Leaders looking to improve their skills should turn to communication first. How is your line of command working? Are there spaces for adequate employee expression? Has a communication backup caused a problem more than once in the past quarter? Executives should always have any eye on communication throughout the entirety of their office, but taking some real time to refocus on this aspect of leadership is crucial.

3. Instill trust in your team: One of the most important things in modern leadership is authenticity (in fact, we wrote a blog post all about it). Workers today do not want to feel like they are being duped or that you are playing a role for them as a leader. A lack of authenticity can damage trust and destroy your credibility as an executive. This is an ongoing epidemic in the current business world. In fact, according to Inc. contributor Sujan Patel, one in four workers have no trust in their bosses. In order to be an effective leader, you must retain the trust of your employees. Executives must take measures to ensure this type of team connection at all costs. Whether it means revaluating your leadership approach or simply taking the time to better communicate honestly with your team, this is one tip that can improve your leadership efforts in a big way.

Inspiring trust within your team is one of the most important leadership skills to perfect.Inspiring trust within your team is one of the most important leadership skills to perfect.

4. Make room for real leadership: On any given day there are a million things a leader is responsible for. As such, it is very easy to get lost in the day-to-day upkeep of a business and forget what real leadership actually looks like. Executives are responsible for growing an organization, for crafting long-term strategic goals that align with company values. When you are busy signing off on clients and handling company meetings, the time for this can get lost. Leaders must make room for these things. Whether this means blocking off an hour a week or taking a day every month, executives need to leverage their personal power to delegate blocks in their schedules to actively further their long-term goals.

5. Take the time to know your team: Really knowing your team is not only beneficial for building better business relationships, but can also help your leadership and the organization as a whole. "A good leader knows his or her team better than anyone else – their strong skills and how they can be leveraged, as well as their weaknesses," explained Alexander Negrash to Business News Daily. Leaders must take the time to get to know their employees. This can help them better strategically populate business projects and instill a broader sense of trust throughout the organization. Executives that don't put a focus on their team have a much harder time instilling loyalty or even inspiring innovation. Invest in your team and invest in your leadership, the ultimate win-win for everyone.

6. Ask for honesty: Want to really hone in on what you are and are not doing well as a leader? Ask for feedback. Send out some anonymous questionnaires and let your employees point out what needs fixing. No one can point you in the right direction better than the people who see your leadership methods every day. Reach out to your team and let them steer your path to improvement.