Leadership isn’t just about bossing people around. It’s about getting the best out of your team through organization and motivation.
By improving your skill as a leader, you can create a more productive team. Here are just some ways in which you can be a great leader:
Consider a Leadership Course
Not everyone is a born leader. One of the best ways to acquire the necessary skills to lead people is to take a course. This course could be anything from completing a day workshop to a Master of Leadership.
Having training behind you won’t just make you more confident about how to lead, but it could also make you more credible to those who work below you. Don’t fall for the belief that leaders don’t need guidance – you can always benefit from learning from others.
Understand your Leadership Style
Did you know that there are actually seven leadership styles? For instance, some people are ‘authoritative’ leaders, some people are ‘coaching’ leaders and some people are ‘democratic’ leaders.
Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses – by understanding your natural style of leadership, you can start honing your strengths as a leader and improving/delegating your weaknesses. Be wary that certain styles of leadership may be better in certain types of environments.
For instance, the ‘pacesetting’ style of leadership might be ideal for fast-paced jobs like working in a kitchen (although there are still times when working in a kitchen when other leadership styles can benefit).
Stay Positive and Enthusiastic
Positivity and enthusiasm are infectious. By showing passion and optimism at every stage, you can motivate your team to feel the same way. This isn’t always easy when you’re having a bad day, however you should try not to let these negative thoughts and feelings overcome you as it will rub off on your team.
Positivity and enthusiasm comes from loving what you do – if you’re trying to lead a team in an industry that you have no interest in, you may struggle to give the positivity and enthusiasm required and might be better off looking for a leadership position elsewhere.
Give Out Praise and Show Gratitude
When your team members succeed or go the extra mile, make sure to acknowledge this and show your appreciation. By valuing your team members good work, they’ll continue to strive for the same standard in order to please you. If you never praise your team members, they might not see the value in striving for excellence and may resort to getting away with the bare minimum.
Praise and gratitude can be shown in different ways. There may be times when physical rewards or monetary rewards are justified. In other cases, simple verbal praise may be all that’s needed. A particularly effective way of motivating your team is by praising them in front of customers. This can boost customer trust and make your employees feel more appreciated at the same time.
Encourage the Sharing of Ideas
Your team members should also feel that they are able to share ideas. Even if you decide to reject these ideas, it’s important to at least acknowledge other people’s ideas. By asking your team members to share their ideas, it can show that you value their thoughts and opinions.
Your team will also feel that it’s as much their project as it is yours and will likely be more invested knowing that they can suggest improvements and changes.
Arrange dedicated meetings to share these ideas or create a brainstorming board or shared documents for making suggestions.
Empower Employees to Make Decisions
Your team members should be able to make certain decisions without being constantly micromanaged. Allowing your team to make decisions for themselves shows that you have trust in their ability. Your team may even be more productive if they’re not constantly waiting for you to make decisions for them.
Obviously, there are certain important decisions within business that you should be consulted about, however you should gradually relieve control when it comes to the small regular day-to-day decisions.
Know When to Muck in
Many poor leaders try to lead from the back. They let subordinates handle the dirty work and take on only the most pleasant and easy jobs themselves. This type of behavior will not inspire your team and will likely make them question why they should be looking up to you.
While you shouldn’t have to do most of the dirty work, it can sometimes be beneficial to roll your sleeves up and spend time in the trenches. This could include everything from handling complaints to helping with general cleaning. If your team members see you getting on with these tasks without objection, they’ll have no reason to not do these tasks themselves.
Don’t be a Pushover
While it’s important to empower your team, you shouldn’t allow people to take advantage of you. Make sure that people aren’t continuously defying rules or disobeying instructions to suit their personal gain. This could include turning up to work late or doing tasks you specifically told them not to do.
Be assertive when people start overstepping the line and stick by your principles. Don’t allow certain team members to get away with more than others as this will create a sense of unfairness and unequal treatment that will likely turn your best team members against you.
You can’t lead people if you’re never there. On top of being around to direct tasks, you need to be available to answer queries and give support. You may not be able to be available 24/7, but you should try to make time to work around your team. When you’re not in the office, make sure that people can contact you if they need to. Don’t go hours without responding to your team members, otherwise they’ll feel they have no support in an emergency.
If you’re never around, you could also find that other team members step in and assume the position of leader and that your team stop respecting you as much.
Do you like being in leadership roles? Let us know in the comments below!