To become a great leader you have to have plans, blueprints and systems in place that enable you to lead and run successful teams and businesses.
Leaders that incorporate various leadership styles are often the most successful, and contrary to popular belief, they are not born that way, they are made.
In this article we are going to take a look at some of the things you can do to hone your leadership skills and set you on the path to becoming a great leader.
1) Your team are not mind readers
“If the boss only communicated his needs more clearly, things would be so much better around here!”
How many times have you heard words to that effect in workplaces around the world?
As a leader, it is your responsibility to communicate your messages in a clear, easy to understand way that enables your team to execute their tasks in a time efficient manner.
Lack of clarity on your part will lead to staff members feeling uncomfortable about seeking your advice, or asking for clarification when they feel something is unclear.
Nobody can read your mind, so make it 100% clear what you want.
2) Do you really know your team?
Proactive leaders will do all they can to get to know the members of their team.
Equally important as keeping tabs on their work-related progress, is being genuinely curious about their activities outside of the workplace.
What family do they have, interests, hobbies?
Team members appreciate when leaders acknowledge them for things that have nothing to do with work as it demonstrates a genuine interest in them as a person, and not just another number on the payroll.
While showing interest, be mindful of asking too many questions as there’s a thin line between caring and being perceived as plain nosey.
Getting to know team members, builds your credibility, creates more trust and strengthens your team for tougher days ahead, but be present, in the moment and mindful of how you do it.
3) Avoid micromanaging pitfalls
It goes without saying that as a leader, you are not supposed to be doing all the hands on work yourself.
A large part of a leader’s role is to inspire and train others to make decisions with clarity and confidence, and not to be afraid of “making mistakes.”
If you nit-pick, demonstrate a reluctance to let things go, and take over your team members’ responsibilities, then you’re sending a signal that you really don’t want or need their help. That has nothing to do with leadership.
As an alternative, take a step back and gain some altitude.
A 30,000 feet overview helps you to figure out how you can inspire your employees to make independent decisions. This is a much better approach, and helps you to avoid the common pitfalls of micromanaging
4) Create monthly contests
Manufacturing an environment for healthy competition is one good way to inspire and motivate your team.
You can create contests that are based on the most sales, best customer service or any number of things. The prizes do not have to be something that stretches the annual budget. Make them more symbolic rather than anything else.
Often, with the right reason, name and enthusiasm behind them, the smallest prize can create more team motivation than something extravagant which can sometimes be perceived as being out of their reach.
5) Ask questions, even if you don’t know
Top performing leaders aren’t afraid to ask questions, especially if they don’t know something, they simply ask.
It is literally impossible to know everything there is to know.
Things are always changing, and in a fast paced working environment, regardless of your status on the food chain, nobody expects anyone to know every single detail.
Be honest with yourself, but more importantly, be honest and if needed, even vulnerable with your team.
This will help you to avoid the mistake of pretending to know all there is to know. Doing so won’t look or sound good on you, and losing credibility will only be a matter of time before the truth comes out.
In situations when you find yourself grappling for answers to problems you feel you should know, get as much relevant information together as you can, and ask for help. This way, you will gain more respect, as there’s nothing more unnerving than a leader who’s too proud, or afraid to ask questions.
Good business leadership requires a multitude of skills, and developing them over time can be challenging. However, regardless of the inevitable challenges you will face along the way, you can learn to lead.
Hopefully some of the simple but effective leadership tips you’ve read today will play their role in helping you to become a great leader.
Your comments, thoughts, suggestions and or ideas pertaining to the topic of leadership are welcome in the comments field below.