Becoming a better leader involves learning your strengths and weaknesses. If you want to improve your leadership skills, there is no substitute for getting out there and practicing. Use the following advice to become a better leader.

Make sure you are able to communicate the vision you have for your team. Your mission is a great compass into the future, and you should know your company values by heart so that you can integrate them into your daily actions. Communicate the whole picture while helping others see their part in big ideas. Such communication is tremendous at giving your team direction and also cementing winning relationships.

Make sure you’re always looking to simplify things as well. Focus on the things that are important. Once this has been accomplished, priorities can be set. Try to keep things as simple as possible. Also, make sure to create thinking time for yourself and others.

Never assume that your employees read minds. Use precision in your communications and let people ask follow-up questions about assignments. This way your staff will not hesitate to ask questions if they do not understand any of your expectations.

If you are the leader of a group, you have to show the members that you appreciate them. A small thank you note goes a long way to making someone feel good. A little acknowledgement can lift a mood, brighten a day and doesn’t cost you a thing.

To be a leader that’s good at what they do, you shouldn’t give up your morals to compete with others. If you feel like something isn’t right, or that your competition is being underhanded, choose another path. You aren’t required to do the same things they do in order to be players in the game. You will feel a whole lot better when you find a legitimate way to compete.

Take ownership of failures. Good leaders can make poor choices sometimes too. What makes a leader great is owning up to mistakes, and talking about them with employees. It shows everyone that you know you’re human and far from perfect. It might not look like a good leadership trait, but it does breed serious loyalty when done right.

Set team goals high but make sure they are not impossible to reach. This just sets your team up to fail. This will show everyone that you’re a poor leader.

Listening to your employees is one of the most challenging, yet effective skills you can have as a leader. Subordinates may hear your goals and begin to take the team in a direction you might not have foreseen yourself. Having a back and forth conversation where you legitimately consider their opinions will result in you being as successful as possible.

Integrity is something that a great leader is going to have to have. You must always be honest and do the correct thing, even if nobody is watching. No one will trust you when you have no integrity. If you lead with integrity, your subordinates will not only trust you, they will also be loyal and respect you.

If you want to build your career, you must start with your leadership skills. Everyone is called on to lead every now and then, and you need to be able to conjure up your inner leader at whim. Absorb this information and put it to use.