May 4, 2017
Leadership is more than a glossy office equipped with the latest gadgets right at your fingertips. Being a high ranked officer does not automatically mean a person is a good leader. You may have the authority to tell people what to do and how to go about their day in the office, but that only makes you their boss.
This article is a result of extensive research that asked CEOs, leadership advisors and management experts for their opinion and advice on becoming a better leader.
1. Communication skills
You should be able to communicate with your employees and your bosses alike. You should be approachable. The mutual understanding and sense of trust between you and your team members is the first step toward the goal of being a better leader.
A leader needs to be relatable. You need to display positivity, empathy, compassion, purpose and humility. These qualities set leaders apart from the corporate bosses and CEOs.
2. Get to know your team
Here, you will understand the significance of the first point. Your team is your asset and you should make the effort to get to know them inside out. You should know their strengths and weaknesses to be able to get maximum output.
Bossing people around is quite easy. However, working side-by-side with your team, and leading them toward success is a challenge not many can meet. There are quite a few work-friendly apps and technologies that can help you with this process. Check out Getabstract.com summaries for a better idea.
3. Develop a penchant for the positives
Working with a lot of people from a lot of specialties can become difficult for one person. As much as you will wish to have your days run smoothly, hurdles and issues are bound to pop up. The true mark of a leader is how you handle a challenge. A negative situation is never easy to face, especially if you are responsible for your team’s output.
There is one time-tested trick to keep a feeling of positivity about yourself. Find out three positive things about every problem. This will make it easier for your team as well as you, to approach the problem in a more hopeful manner. You will find a new perspective that will keep the spirits of your team high. Essentially, you will just be focusing on what is right, rather than what’s wrong.
4. Be a doer not a talker
Good leaders do not just talk, they show the way. A good leader is the one who works on the field alongside their team members to guide them to success. Working shoulder-to-shoulder gives you a level of engagement that is otherwise not possible by just commanding people around.
This is what we refer to as coaching. This is when you directly interact with your employees on the front rather than briefing them on the tasks of the day.
5. Get feedback
If you are a leader, you can only better yourself by taking advice from people who are seeing you in action. This means, you should run feedback tests from time-to-time to evaluate your own performance. A good leader is one who keeps challenging himself to get to know his own strengths and weaknesses.
Simply going through books and attending webinars will not help you improve your skills. You need to be able to trust your employees to give you unbiased feedback in the forms of e-mails, surveys or even WhatsApp messages.
6. What drives you
You need to understand yourself before you understand your employees. You don’t have “just a job” that requires you to sit and work. You need to engage in projects and get valuable feedbacks from the people you are working with.
At this juncture, you need to figure out your motivation. For some, leadership responsibilities are a motivation in itself. For others, the new daily challenges serve as a definite source of motivation. If you know that leadership is what makes your world go ’round, then you are definitely cut out to be a leader and not a boss. You need to be passionate, dedicated and driven about the causes you believe in. Be confident about what you believe in while being receptive to new suggestions.
7. Set achievable goals that are clear to your team members as well
Your goals should not be a huge secret, neither should they be unachievable. A great part of being a good leader is having the ability to boost the morale of your team members. Setting short-term, achievable goals works wonders for boosting confidence among the employees.
You need to be able to communicate team goals, personal goals and company goals on a daily basis. The best way to track achievements is to maintain a visual representation such as a white-board, a chart or post-its. When you and your team can see how much you have already achieved, it will act as a motivator.
A leader should be smart, easy to understand and talk to, out spoken and inspiring. Being a leader is not easy. However, in contrast to what most people believe, leaders are not born. Good leadership skills are the result of years of practice and self-improvement.
Jason Biggs is a serial entrepreneur, investor and mentor. He started his first company when he was 16 and has not looked back since. Click for more info here.