Just because you want to be an entrepreneur, that doesn’t mean you’re cut out to be a leader. You can be building your own company and earning accolades from those around you without having what it takes to be a respected leader. Luckily, you can improve your leadership skills if you are willing to do the necessary hard work. If this is the year you commit to honing your leadership abilities, here are five insights you should bear in mind.

Be willing to ask plenty of questions
Just because you lead a team, that doesn’t mean you magically know all the answers. When you are willing to ask questions of your team to grow your knowledge, you show teammates; you value their wisdom. Teaching others, you are eager to learn from their expertise builds company loyalty and drives performance.

Understand your limits
When you understand your limits, you are more likely to focus on your strengths. You don’t attempt to be all things to all people and tend to do a better job of the tasks you take on. This allows employees to shine and feel like they are contributing to the growth of your company.

Become a critical thinker
Critical thinking skills are essential for entrepreneurial leaders. When you work on improving your thinking skills, the ability to analyze and evaluate detailed data becomes a trait that sets you apart from other entrepreneurs. You don’t take things at face value or accept ideas just because they are popular with your peers. You learn how to use reflective analysis to make informed decisions and use your improved thinking skills to promote dialogue among your employees.

Write about your journey
Writing about your entrepreneurial journey is a phenomenal way to grow as a leader. You don’t need to be a professional wordsmith; merely jotting down your thoughts and lessons learned can be inspirational to those around you. Publish your thoughts on the company blog or share regular posts on Medium.com. Your willingness to be vulnerable and helpful will go a long way towards building a company culture of transparency.

Explore international trends and opportunities
The willingness to look outside your borders is a skill far too few entrepreneurs attempt to hone. Paying attention to global trends or investigating international business methods expands your mind and lets you spot opportunities others miss. When you teach your team to think globally, you encourage a sense of wonder among your team and foster the concept of “why not?” within your business. Simply being willing to think globally rather than locally or nationally is likely to put you ahead of your competitors.

Becoming a better leader doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t suddenly earn the respect of your team or reach exalted status with just an act or two of thought leadership. Becoming a better leader as an entrepreneur takes a commitment to work on yourself and your relationships with others.
Jeff Shuford is president of Tech From Vets, an award winning veteran-owned technology company. Tech From Vets merges NFL veterans and military veterans in the tech industry and develops innovative websites and mobile applications for their clients nationwide.