Preparation is the key to success in everything that you do. This is especially true of leadership roles, as this means that people will be looking to you for guidance and instruction. Once you accept a leadership position, it becomes your job to help your team and organization grow and prosper, making sure that your competitors don’t pass you by. As you can probably imagine, this isn’t exactly an easy task to undertake; leaders need to prepare for the future while staying diligent in the present, something that can be difficult to accomplish thanks to the distractions of our daily lives.

Preparation isn’t something that should be allowed to slide, though. A leader’s failure can often be attributed to their lack of preparation, which can then negatively impact the company they’re working for as well. In order to keep from becoming that sort of leader, here’s how you can better prepare as a leader.

Be Accountable

As a leader, you are the one who’s responsible for what goes on under your watch. You’re held accountable for both the good and the bad that happens with your team, and when things go wrong, it’s because you stopped being accountable long enough for inefficiencies to surface. Preparing for the unexpected will propel you forward to success; don’t let the unexpected stop you in your tracks. Keep moving forward.

Pay Attention to Your Employees

Though you have a lot of responsibilities to worry about, you can’t let those responsibilities cloud your vision to what’s going on with your employees. You are working for your employees, not over them, and you can’t truly be prepared if you don’t know what to expect out of your employees. Oftentimes, employees won’t tell you if they need support, tools, resources, and so on, so it’s on you to take notice of these things and act upon it. Don’t aim for a quick-fix either—it won’t last. Dive into the problem to see what’s going on so that everyone can be prepared for the workload ahead.

Listen Carefully

Just as you should pay attention to what’s going on with your employees, you should listen to what they have to say, rather than listening to yourself. Taking the time to do so will let you better prepare yourself and your team for things you otherwise wouldn’t have accounted for. Additionally, taking the time to listen to others rather than just yourself will let you set the right tone for the project or meeting, creating a more positive atmosphere rather than a negative one.