Taking on a leadership role shouldn’t make you complacent.  On the contrary, it should make you work twice as hard, now that your responsibilities have expanded and your role has shifted.  If you want to succeed and excel as a leader, there are certain qualities you should develop.  Here’s how to start:

 Focus on your strengths.

Why try to be a pilot if you’re a better engineer?  Find out what you’re good at and build on it.  You are much more likely to excel as a leader if you know what it is you can do and accept what you can’t.  You can always try to improve on your weaknesses, but you have better chances at success if you fine-tune your strengths instead.

 Delegate.

If you have no time to spare in developing your areas of weakness, turn to your team instead.  If you must excel as a leader, learn to delegate.  No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t do what is physically impossible.  Explore the specific competencies of your members and develop a plan to use them to your team’s advantage.  

 Learn from your mistakes.

There is no single leader in the world who is without fault.  Whether we’re talking about CEOs, presidents, prime ministers, church or community leaders, all of them have made mistakes in their lives.  The only difference is that they treated their mistakes as opportunities for learning.

 Refuse mediocrity.

If you want to excel as a leader, you must always aim for excellence.  Compromising on second best when you can insist (and actually obtain) the best will show that your standards are easy to reach without a lot of effort and that your team doesn’t have to work too hard.

 Be consistent.

Don’t renege on your promise or turn your back against a policy as if nothing happened.  Avoid double standards and be fair.  If, for any reason, you feel you must make a 360-turn, be ready with a plausible explanation.

 Practice good people skills.

You can only excel as a leader if people are willing to follow you.  You must be able to inspire and motivate your team.  Develop your communication skills and maintain communication lines.  If you are seen as a team player, your team will be more willing to discuss ideas with you openly.

 Learn, learn and then learn some more.

You should never stop learning.  Consider opportunities to expand your leadership role and find ways you can develop further.  Learn new techniques in problem solving or consider new ideas or take lessons to improve your technical proficiency.  By building your personal competence, you are much more able to cement your value as an excellent and competent leader.