9 Ways CEOs Can Best Hone Their Leadership Skills

We asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share their tips on how to develop leadership skills. Here's what they said.
While some people are born leaders, it’s an area everyone can stand to improve upon — especially if you’re trying to grow a team.

That’s why we asked nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“How can CEOs and founders hone their leadership skills? Name one resource/tip.”

Ways to Develop Leadership Skills

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create an Entrepreneur Support Group 

“Entrepreneur therapy is an underrated and incredibly valuable way to improve your leadership skills. Meet monthly with 3-5 other entrepreneurs you respect who are at similar levels in their business, and each bring one topic of discussion to the group. Keep each person’s time slot to no more than 30 minutes in total. Your insight, expertise and confidence will grow tremendously.” ~ Anshey BhatiaVerbal+Visual

2. Become a Mentor

“Becoming a mentor doesn’t have to mean finding a protégé and making a long-term commitment. Being a mentor is easy. And mentorship is a fantastic way to hone your leadership skills. There are many ways to mentor: one-on-one, in the context of groups and organizations, at local colleges and universities, through a podcast or blog, etc. The key is finding people whom you can help and helping them.” ~ Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

3. Always Seek Feedback

“There’s no way to truly improve in a vacuum. Getting feedback seems simple, but criticism is sparse when you’re at the very top of the totem pole. Don’t be afraid to ask HR or your staff what your strengths are and what you could stand to improve on. Taking constructive feedback in stride is one of the most powerful ways to can grow as a leader.” ~ Elle KaplanLexION Capital

4. Listen to Podcasts or Audio Books 

“Reading a leadership book is good, but not many busy CEOs and founders have the time. Leverage your morning routine by listening to podcasts or audio books about leadership. My favorite is “Multiplers” by Liz Wiseman.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Share Lessons Learned

“Great leaders have made great mistakes throughout their career. By documenting and sharing the lessons learned along the way, not only do you reinforce changes you need to make personally, but you also demonstrate a capacity for humility, reflection and growth that can inspire those you lead.” ~ Ross BeyelerGrowth Spark

6. Attend Local Industry Events, Shows and Seminars 

“I am a member of several industry-specific associations, chapters, meetup groups and the chamber of commerce in my local area. They have several events every month where we meet other CEOs/founders. These events help us to improve overall understanding, increase our expertise on several topics and help us position ourselves locally as leaders.” ~ Piyush JainSIMpalm

7. Read About Others’ Experiences

“A somewhat antiquated approach for the modern, connected world; reading about the experiences of other executives, founders, and CEO’s can be a highly effective tool for learning without having to experience a particular challenge yourself. It can give you insight into that individual’s thought processes, behaviors, and the habits that made them an effective and successful leader.” ~ Blair ThomasFirst American Merchant

8. Write About Leadership

“There is no better teacher than teaching. Writing articles on leadership and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in my case) made me reflect on leadership values, develop logical leadership methods, and think about leadership empathetically (from both the leader and the follower). It was all in my head, but getting it down in the written word is an effective way to improve.” ~ Peter KozodoyGEM Advertising

9. Participate in Workshops

“Going to leadership workshops can be really beneficial to someone looking to improve their leadership skills. Workshops provide a platform to connect with other professionals looking to achieve the same goal as you. Not only do you learn from the workshop leader, you also learn from those around you.” ~ Shalyn DeverChatter Buzz

Pipe Honing Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.