There’s more to leadership than an ego-boosting title. In life and in business, there are leaders by title and then there are true leaders. The differences are evident; you either command respect and effectively lead, or you are ineffective in your leadership role. If you are the latter, a few tweaks to your everyday routine can have an enormous benefit to both you and your company.
Consider these 10 tips when developing your leadership skills:
1. Find a Mentor
As a leader, it is important to have continued professional development in order to be a better leader. Most important a resource that has real-life experience in the business world and can give you invaluable insight. In this case, a mentor is the perfect person to put you on the right path. Choose a mentor wisely; this person will influence your career and future endeavors. Identify a professional that has proven themselves successful and/or someone who is recognized in your industry. One of the most important benefits your mentor gets from their investment in you is providing the ability to pay it forward and empower you to be a mentor down the road.
2. Practice Passion
Exemplify commitment and devotion towards the company goals. Show your employees that you value their efforts to reach those goals. Speak passionately about your beliefs and the business. If you want a dedicated team, be dedicated yourself, in both your work and relationships. Be the last one out of the office at night, and the first one there every morning. It’s hard to show you’re committed if you’re never there. Take care of your people; they’re the gears of the company.
3. Be Positive
Who wants to work for a negative-Nancy? Don’t be THE person who whines every time things don’t go their way. The best thing you can do to avoid stress in the workplace is to keep a positive attitude and encourage others to do the same. Does a basketball player get fed up and walk away from a game after missing a three-pointer? No, they get back in the game and attempt another three. Some things don’t work out in your favor, and that’s okay.
In fact, this is where the growth will really occur. Having a positive attitude will help you see these situations as a learning experience rather than a discouragement. Once you get into this mindset, it will be easy to overcome failure because you will start to welcoming it as a guidance for your company to cultivate. How you handle high-stress situations defines the type of leader you are.
4. Be Present
As a leader, you have plenty of distractions pulling you in a variety of directions. When someone comes to you with a concern, idea, or accomplishment, truly take the time to listen to it. The more dedication you show to your personnel’s problems the more involved they’ll be with your’s and the company’s.
5. Talk Less, Listen More
Leaders are not meant to do everything, they guide. Leaders require great listening skills so they can properly direct their team toward success. Listen to colleagues, employees and mentors. Take advice from them; don’t let your pride or previous beliefs get in the way of being the best possible leader for your company. Listen for themes with company and employee challenges. Learn how to focus on the origin of an issue so you can develop an effective strategy. Work on your weaknesses until they are strengths, work on your strengths until they are second nature.
6. Encourage Creativity
Inspire your people. When new ideas are welcomed and commended, your team will thrive with success. Motivate your team to think outside of the box, to stimulate their minds, and to be open to new ideas. Even if the ideas being shared do not directly correlate to the task at hand, any type of opinion helps get the conversation started. Once ideas are being thrown around, someone is bound to have a epiphany. All it takes is a prolific, innovative environment to get the creative juices flowing.
7. Reward Greatness
Praising a person’s prosperity positively affects attitude and increases job satisfaction. People love being recognized for their actions. Take note of those who are exceeding expectations financially and positively contributing to the organization. Be sure to announce noteworthy actions to your staff. As a result, your company will realize its potential when employees feel that their presence and contributions are valued.
8. Embrace Failure
Things don’t always go your way, but as a top leader, you must embrace your failures. Learn from your mistakes, and collaborate with your team so others can benefit from knowing what has not worked and why. If you can learn from failures and how to better prevent them, your business will grow.
9. Show, Rather than Tell
Actions speak louder than words. Don’t just say you’re a great leader, be one. Leaders who talk a big game will lose their team’s trust when they do not practice what they preach. People don’t like being told what to do, even when it comes from an authority figure. They like being motivated. The best way to motivate employees is getting them to buy in on your strategy. Engage with them, make sure they understand the goals.
Empower them through making the company goals become their own. When employees are driven by internal goals everything changes. Showing, rather than telling, will not only makes them part of the process, it proves that you are just as invested in the task at hand as you expect them to be. This will boost the morale of the entire team, you included.
10. Be Human
Take the time to grow relationships with your team. Gain an understanding of who they are and what they do. People spend more time at work than at home. You must recognize the importance of your community. Learn about them; care about them. Leverage this knowledge to create a positive environment. When employees feel comfortable, they’ll offer positive energy, which transfers throughout the company and extends to the customers. It’s a win-win situation!