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Good leadership can turn a business from an average-functioning system into a high-performing organization. However, it’s often not enough to just take the reigns and delegate work to your team. There are a lot of deeper elements that make this role a vital and effective wheel in the cog.
You’ll notice a pattern if you look at organizations with the happiest employees. These people are more content and more productive when they have the support of good leadership. So a leader should encourage and better those around them, and in reality, it’s not that challenging to do.
Some say not everyone is cut out for leadership. However, that isn’t entirely true. Most individuals can learn the fundamentals of a great leader and implement them to enhance the work environment. For some, it comes naturally, while others may take years to master.
But, leadership to any degree is within most people, so how do you harness its power and become the best version of a leader? Take a look at how below:
One of the things many teams struggle with is communication or lack of it. This factor is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page. Plus, it’s vital teams feel comfortable communicating issues or problems to avoid delaying the process.
Communicating with your team isn’t just about talking or telling them what’s going on – it also involves active listening. The reason why you hired these people is because they know the job to a tee and know when things work and when they don’t.
Active listening involves really hearing what someone is saying and responding with constructive feedback. Dismissing ideas and thoughts just because they don’t fit your ideal doesn’t sit well in a work environment. However, it’s okay not to accept an idea as long as you provide reasoning for it.
Alongside maintaining an open line of communication with staff – you also need to be honest and transparent. This honesty shows your team the importance of ethical and transparent behavior. This helps make processes smoother and communicates any issues quicker, all without judgment.
Another aspect of good communication is knowing how to communicate with people. Some individuals take information in well verbally – others need written instruction. It can take time to decipher each person’s preference, but getting this right could benefit the team massively.
We’ve all had bad days, and they’re hard to avoid. However, it’s how you deal with these issues that take you from a good leader to a great leader. Unfortunately, hiccups and accidents happen; in reality, most employees don’t do things on purpose to make work life harder.
If something occurs that sets you back, while it’s frustrating, most things can be fixed. By maintaining a positive and constructive stance, you’ll find resolutions more quickly.
This mishap can also identify a deeper issue within your team. For example, while an employee may have accidentally deleted an important file, there may not have been sufficient training in place beforehand. A common solution to problems within the work environment is underpinning employee knowledge and reiterating procedures to avoid future issues.
By maintaining a positive and engaging workplace, free from judgment and harsh consequences – you begin to foster a more engaged workforce.
Become a teacher or mentor
Most people are able to give orders. But, do you really have confidence that the individual knows how to implement the task. Of course, in day-to-day jobs, basic orders are a prerequisite, and employees get on with the task at hand. However, some jobs require the leader to also become a teacher or mentor to guide the person through the project.
Helping others will enable staff to grow in their job. It also gives them confidence in carrying out tasks in the future. However, most leaders will understand that shouting orders at people rarely get good results. So, it’s vital to turn your hand to mentoring your team to enhance performance.
Set clear goals
Nobody likes it when the goal posts are moved mid-project. This causes frustration and impedes direction, in turn slowing the process down. As a leader, it’s part of your job to set the goals but also communicate your vision to staff members.
When employees know what they are working towards, every step is tracked and monitored to ensure the best results.
Another key aspect of goal setting is ensuring every person, no matter their rank, feels accountable for their aspect of the task. By giving people responsibility, no matter the level offers them a chance to take ownership and feel engaged in the process.
It’s also important to allow everyone to ask questions and allow employee feedback. Engaging everyone in the project opens up the floor to new and faster ways of completing them.
Don’t be shy with employee feedback
Feedback is vital for all members of staff to ensure they know they’re on the right track. Being direct and honest also makes sure employees understand what to improve on. While not all feedback is positive, it doesn’t have to be negative either. However, it does need to be constructive.
On the job, feedback is useful for particular projects. But, annual reviews are crucial for steering your workforce in the right direction.
Positive feedback should also be a priority. Too many leaders just give feedback when something needs improvement or errors happen. But, positive recognition is essential for telling people when they’ve done a good job. If staff feel they don’t get enough recognition, especially for consistently good performance, they’ll likely become dissatisfied with work.
This positive recognition also needs to be targeted to a specific success. Avoid the general, well-done everyone vagueness as this feels insincere. Instead, by highlighting specific achievements in the workplace, it encourages growth and better performance in the long term.
Don’t be afraid to get feedback on your leadership
Leadership roles are not static vocations. Like everyone in a company, you are learning and growing in this career. In some areas, you may need improvement, others, you shine. First, however, how do you know which areas you need to step up your game – by obtaining feedback.
It’s challenging to assess your own skills as a leader, so it’s essential to get honest feedback from peers and friends. Taking constructive criticism is all a part of this, and it’s helpful to know which areas to improve on.
When you receive feedback, it’s often a great idea to hire a leadership coaching expert to give you direction. This professional draws up a plan to help you achieve goals and recommends seminars and training that will develop your skills further.
However, the key to improving your leadership style isn’t just about training or getting feedback. You need the skills to reflect, process, and integrate everything afterward. Remember to be open and honest, and sustainable change will create positive changes.
Question your why
Why do you want to be a leader at work? This is a question that helps to identify your reasoning and passion for this role. For some, it’s the title or the presence that lures them in. However, this alone can see a career in leadership short-lived. But, if your motivation is to inspire a team of people and work towards success, then it could be your calling.
For example, if you want to move up in your career in nursing. Leadership in this field plays a vital role in empowering and encouraging your team to provide the best care possible. In this sector, ego is left at the door to make way for a strong, experienced, and skilled individual ready to improve patient care.
By understanding your why, you also get to know your strengths and weaknesses. This will help determine your leadership style and how you adapt it for different situations and employees.
Be open to ideas
The beauty of having a highly functioning team is they often have great ideas to bring to the table. Good leaders are always open to this and recognize that change happens and requires fresh ideas to take the next steps.
No one person knows everything, which is vital to acknowledge when leading a team. Be open to ideas and allow time to trial them before immediately dismissing their viability. Some new ideas take longer to get off the ground, and some have hiccups that need resolving along the way. However, tweaking ideas and working together typically brings innovative ways of working to make everyone’s life easier.
Becoming a good leader takes time and patience. It also involves skill and determination to flourish in this role. Some people have a natural ability to lead. While others can be learned in the right situation. However, as with all positions, consistent growth and improvement is a part of the job. Using this to your advantage and changing with the tide can see you succeed in this role. Plus, you not only better yourself in the process, but you also enhance the working environment for others.