People with authority and sitting in high positions are found everywhere, from shops, offices and in big companies. But, so few of them can be called leaders. Here are practices that make one a good leader.
1. Be a Leader, Not a Boss
Oftentimes, we mistook a boss to be a leader. But a very distinct line separates the two. The later works with the team while a boss shouts orders to the team. As a leader, you should see and treat your team as people with intelligence and emotions, not things or tools. This way, you’ll earn the respect of your team and not fear.
2. Be Transparent
By being transparent, a leader lets his/her team feel important, and an essential part of the company. Share the company’s current status, future plans and other information that will affect the members’ employment and future. There are tons of ways to update the team like sending a quick email or holding a short meeting.
3. Let Your Mission and Vision Define Execution
One of the problems, especially with huge organizations, is team cohesion. There will always be people who’ll deviate from the standards. But, understand that their purpose is not to create trouble or disrupt the community. They are simply channelling their strengths and applying their skills and knowledge to their work. As a leader, instead of shutting doors, encourage them to work as aligned with your company’s mission and vision. After all, these are set to serve as the framework on how things should be done.
4. Know Your People
Sadly, one of the things leaders commonly overlook is knowing their people. It is not enough to know their skills and expertise. As a leader, it is part of your job to know their background, their passion and circumstances in life. This way, you’ll know when and how they work best to reap their full potential.
Leadership does not stop at knowing and listening. Use the things you learned from them to motivate them to work and be their best every day. Laziness and excuses are eliminated through proper motivation.
6. Build from Within
A good leader creates a good team. Your team is your reflection. Who they are to the company, from the strongest to the weakest member of your team, sums you up as a leader. Create a superb team by knowing each other’s strengths and working on building their talents.
7. Accept Diversity
Instead of creating replicas of you in your employees, embrace diversity in your team. Diversity will give you ideas you have never thought of yourself and eventually take miles from where you started.
8. Be a Leader of Change
While it is our nature to be afraid of the unknown, of change, a good leader is an advocate of change. Believe and trust that any change within your company is for the better and your team will follow you. After all, your people look up to you and they’ll perceive things the way you see it yourself.
9. Promote Collaboration
A good leader also encourages his/her people to collaborate on certain projects or tasks. Individual effort is always appreciated but, in many ways, more heads are better than one. Part of accepting diversity is letting your people work together to get the best results.
10. Take Setbacks as Learnings
As you move along your leadership, you’ll encounter setbacks, failures and mistakes. And in a world where everyone’s trying to be perfect, flaws are often viewed as weaknesses. Break out from this norm and start a new tradition of turning opportunities to strengths by taking setbacks, not as failures but learnings.
11. Be Emotionally Intelligent
Knowledge about products and technicalities of your work is always an advantage. But when stepping up to lead people, you need more than just smarts. As a leader, you should develop the skill of observing your people’s actions and feelings during work or when dealing with challenges. This will guide you and give insight on how to best manage them and create a healthy working environment.
12. Recognise and Appreciate
Part of taking care of your team’s emotions is to recognise and appreciate their individual and collaborative success. As adults, it is important that we put value and purpose on what we ask people to do. Recognising their efforts would also encourage people to grow under your supervision and build a strong career path.
13. Be Responsible and Accountable
Leaders, in our aim to appear as the perfect role model, we tend to put blame on others, specifically, employees. Understand that a good leader knows that him taking responsibility and being accountable encourages the team to do the same. This will altogether encourage everyone to do their best and stop from blaming other members of the team when something is not in accordance with the plan.
14. Aid your People to Success
Good leaders share their success with their people. Instead of focusing on upskilling yourself or moving up to a higher rank, take your team with you by giving them ample opportunities and tools. Build them up for the next role and focus in honing your people to a successful career.
15. Promote Equality
In a group of diverse people, you won’t help but lean towards those who love the same things you love or someone who takes the same route home. As a leader, you have the ability to make or break your team and favouring someone from the others never helps in building a strong foundation. Knowing how diverse your team is, set your personal preferences aside and treat your people equally and with respect.
16. Allow Sharing of Best Practices
Through collaboration, myriad ideas are presented and executed. But collaboration isn’t just about finishing a project, it is also the perfect opportunity to encourage your team and you to share best practices for the benefit of everyone.
17. Promote Open Communication
Create an environment where speaking up and voicing opinions are encouraged and not rejected. Open communication is the key for your team to work harmoniously and with clear understanding.
18. Provide Feedback
Not providing feedback is a huge mistake as a leader. Good and bad feedback should be provided to the employee directly involved. Give positive feedback in public and critiques in private. Providing real-time feedback will encourage good work and avoid repeating mistakes.
19. Follow Through
Feedback is always appreciated but following through to check your employee’s improvements is also important to ensure growth and development. Never stop at giving feedback, always be with your team as they work on improving and polishing their skills.
20. Bring in Fun
Matters of work are of utmost importance, but, also consider your team as your family. Lighten the mood and lessen if not eliminate stress by injecting some fun into the work environment. Enjoying lighter moments and bonding with the team will also encourage camaraderie and better flow of creative ideas.