Effective leadership is not an easy skill to master. It usually takes years and years of experience, trial and error, and self-reflection. However, the more others respect you as a leader, the more successful your business will be. Here are a few tips on how to become the kind of leader you’ve always wanted to be.
1 Keep your word. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. If you say you’re going to do something, be sure to follow through in a reasonable amount of time. You may have unanticipated circumstances arise, but a constant pattern of not doing what you said you would do will quickly cause others to lose their trust and respect. Giving someone your word should really mean something, so be sure to follow through.
2 Be inclusive, welcoming, and make others feel safe. There is nothing worse than an intimidating leader who only seems to associate with a select few. Include everyone from entry-level employees to team leaders and executives within a work environment that rewards hard work and fosters a collaborative feeling. If others are afraid of you, their work will suffer.
3 Encourage creative thinking. You want your employees to think outside the box, so the best way to get them to do this is to model it on a regular basis. When assigning a project, give a clear idea of what you want the outcome to be, and reinforce your desire for higher level thinking and creative ideas. Don’t let others be afraid to take risks.
4 Allow people to share ideas and concerns. You most likely will not agree with many of the ideas and concerns that are brought to your attention, but it is of utmost importance that those who work under you feel free to express them. A business is not a dictatorship, and you want your employees to know that their ideas have value. Give others a voice within your business. You never know what you could be overlooking.
5 Support others and help them grow. When someone makes a mistake or doesn’t seem to be up to par with their colleagues, don’t use it as a chance to knock them down. Give them the opportunity to improve by providing practical suggestions, frequent support, and positive reinforcement when possible. The same applies to those who are consistent achievers; make sure they know you appreciate their hard work and that they have your full support.
6 Keep things running smoothly. Efficiency is the key to a successful operation, so although you may have assigned others to only focus on certain areas of the business, it is your job to ensure that everyone is working together, communicating with each other, and contributing equally to the business as a whole.
7 Maintain an exciting and fun atmosphere. Don’t let the day-to-day goings-on take over the feel of your workplace. Incorporate excitement and fun by planning team-building activities, allowing others to express themselves in a way that is professional and light-hearted at the same time, and even tapping into your spontaneous side. One office manager picks a random day of each month to reward one member of her administrative staff with an employee of the month type of award that includes a silly trinket, a funny song to celebrate, and his or her favorite lunch. Make your business a place that people look forward to working each day.
8 Hold others accountable for their actions. Bending the rules for some and not for others is a slippery slope. If your employees begin to feel that there are different rules for different people, morale will go down and productivity will suffer. When a person messes up, acknowledge it and act on it appropriately. The same goes for people who do something exceptionally well. Be sure to acknowledge it and encourage them to keep up the good work.
You can become a great leader who is well-respected by making sure you level the playing field and encourage creativity and hard work. What are some other qualities you feel make an effective leader? Please share your ideas below!