The ability to be an effective leader is one of life’s most important skills. Everyone will be called on to be a leader at some point in their life, and being able to answer the call is critical. Almost all career paths will eventually demand leadership skills. Whatever sort of success you want out of life, you will need the ability to lead. However, many people struggle with the mantle of authority. It can be challenging, stressful, and even terrifying to be in charge. Outlined here are three fundamental ways you can become a better leader.1. Have confidence in yourself. It is absolutely vital that a leader have real, genuine confidence in their skills, and in their capacity to direct others. For a team to work effectively, they must be unified and have clear, set goals. The group’s sense of direction will almost always proceed from the person in charge. If the team is the body, then the leader is the head - and the head must direct the body.A leader who knows they are the right person for the job will inspire confidence in their followers, and the entire group will function more smoothly. In contrast, someone who is unsure of themselves will find it much harder to convince others to follow them. Instead of working together, the group will collapse into disorganization and chaos. To avoid this error, remember why you are in charge. Take stock of your own abilities, and appreciate what makes you the right person for the post. Even if you are feeling slightly unsure of yourself, don’t let others see this. It is important for each individual in the unit to trust the person who’s in charge - so be confident and move forward with as clear a purpose as possible. Your self-confidence will be a bulwark to your entire team.2. Listen to and value your subordinates’ opinions. This piece of advice is the flip side of the first tip. While a leader must be confident in themselves, they must also understand that their followers are important too. If you could do it all yourself, you wouldn’t even need any subordinates. A leader who never listens to his staff will appear to be arrogant and clueless. Not only will such a person lose the support of their team, but they will also be more likely to make bad decisions. No one is right about everything - it is important for a person in command to let themselves be checked by their followers if they are making a mistake.It will often be the case that one of your followers will know more about a specific topic or area than you will. Many times it is the job of a leader to synthesize the various areas of expertise of their team. Each member of the group may have a specific area in which they are proficient - it is your duty to fit their skills together such that a cohesive unit is formed. To do this you will have to be as good a listener as a speaker.It is also important for all individuals in the group to feel that they are valued and their input is considered. If this need is not met the person will feel that they are not truly part of the team, and they will become unmotivated and disgruntled. To prevent this you must listen to what each person has to say, and consider their input when making decisions.3. Be firm but fair when correcting or disciplining your followers. A major part of being in charge is maintaining order. There are always certain rules and standards that a leader must enforce. Inevitably, some of your subordinates will fall short and make mistakes. Correcting or chastising those who are in error can be difficult and even unpleasant, but it is one of a leader’s most important duties.If you must reprove or correct one of you followers, then do so with respect and consideration. A bad leader will humiliate and cause a loss of confidence when they reprove their underlings. A good leader will make the person understand where they went wrong, but will also help them to see that they can do better in the future. Don’t tell them their mistake is okay - but don’t be overly harsh or cruel.Make certain to be as clear as possible. It’s best for a person to understand exactly what their superior wants from them. Vague standards lead to frustration and anger at what seems to be an unfair, random system. If a person understands what their mistake was then they will know how to rectify it. Explain what you expect in the future, and make sure they know you still have faith in them and their abilities. Ideally, you will be able to correct your followers without incurring any resentment or anger among them. If your standards are fair and you set out a path for how they can do better, they may even see your reprimand as a positive chance for self-improvement. The best leaders help those serving under them grow and progress.–With these three fundamental guidelines in mind, any person should be able to improve their leadership skills. Remember, it’s never easy to be in charge. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you feel you aren’t the ideal leader. The maintenance and development of your leadership skills will be a lifelong effort. If, however, you try to follow these three essential rules for better leadership, you will be able to make genuine progress.