If you’re currently leading a team of people or are about to become a leader, I have learned five things that you should seriously take into consideration. For those already managing and leading a team of employees, it’s never too late to review some aspects of your leadership skills.
Nobody’s perfect and becoming a strong leader is something you can learn and even improve if you think that you’re lacking in certain areas. As in many other roles in the corporate world, a leadership role is a never ending process of self analysis and self improvement.
While opinions do vary regarding the role of a leader in a company or within a hierarchical system, several studies have shown that the main qualities a strong leader should possess aren’t the stereotypical ones we see almost everywhere.
Leaders that empower others are much more preferred and therefore are more successful than those who believe that leading simply means exercising power over those below you.
Here is the list of the five most important leadership qualities any good leader should possess.
1. Serve as a role model and lead as you want your leader to be: The first real thing that differentiates a good leader from a bad one is how they understand the concept of leadership itself, and how they use it to benefit the company as well as the employees. As a leader, your role is to lead a team of people to achieve results that will ultimately enhance and better the company.
So, how do you accomplish this? Simply by empowering, trusting and setting examples instead of showing and using the power you have acquired for your own gain, and to please your ego. It’s probably a little harsh to hear but it’s a truth.
A good leader should be a role model for the rest of team. Maybe it’s even easier to think of it this way; achieving success as a leader will only happen when you manage to lead as you would like your leader to be. In other words, be the leader you would want to lead you.
2. Working the hardest to set the example: Being a leader doesn’t exonerate you from hard work. In fact, it’s the opposite. Successful leaders, whether they run international corporations or smaller firms have to understand this concept which is the importance of working the hardest to set an example. A team will only recognize a good leader who’s willing to work the hardest and set the example by raising the bar as high as possible.
The time when bosses and superiors were sitting comfortably in their offices barking orders, making negative comments, mostly and resting on their laurels should be a thing of the past. When you think of it with an open mind, it’s simple and logical.
How can a leader expect the best from his own team or co-workers if he doesn’t show the example himself? Being in charge still brings in nice perks, such as some flexible time when needed for instance, but it also gives you the very important duty to work as hard as possible alongside your team.
3. Putting your employees first in all circumstances: Leaders do have to make decisions all the time. Good leaders will try and consider the well-being of the company, as well as that of the employees. While this is clearly not an easy task to do—indeed, so many different factors can affect the running of a company—a responsible leader will look for decisions that will benefit both the company and the employees.
One very important thing to remember is that a company is nothing without its workforce, whoever they are, and so, when faced with a hard decision, a good general manager for instance with a good understanding of human resources won’t hesitate to put his or her people first.
Again, decisions can be hard to make but compromises do exist and one of the top 5 leadership skills a good leader should possess is the ability of being able to value the employees as much as the company itself.
4. Expressing yourself the right way: It’s sometimes difficult for leaders to accept that they are filling a role that requires certain skills they may not yet possess. We all express ourselves differently but when it comes to talking to employees for instance, it’s best to adopt a style that may differ from the one you use outside of the workplace.
First of all, paying close attention to what your employees are telling you is probably what’s most important when it comes to honing your communication skills. By listening carefully instead of rushing, and maybe hearing only what you really want to hear, your answer will be much more adapted to your employees’ needs, appreciations or questions.
The second most important thing to learn is to always get straight to the point. There is no need to engage in a long-winded conversation, which in the end may lead you to say things you had no intention of saying, initially.
Listening carefully and making sure that the answer you provide is clear, polite and straight to the point will not only prove effective, but will also show that as a leader, you know what you’re talking about and what you really want.
5. Do exactly as you say and mean what you say: It’s sometimes difficult to keep promises made to employees, and we all know that disappointed staff members do not make good employees.
While there is nothing wrong with promises, and if you want to be a really good leader, you must always think thoroughly before committing yourself to something that may be impossible to keep later on.
Forecasting big business results or any other great business venture for instance is always enticing, and employees will respond positively but when the results aren’t there in end, you will most certainly lose your credibility. The golden rule here is to only commit to what you can deliver and this applies to all areas of your business.
There is always a learning curve when you take on leadership roles but when you know exactly that what you’ve said and announced to your employees is what you really mean, there will be no nasty surprises, disappointments and your leadership skills will remain intact, whatever the circumstances.
Not being able to keep up with things you’ve promised is like sending your employees the message that you are not in control of the situation and ultimately of your company. This reflects badly on yourself and you want to avoid this at all costs—for you
r own benefits, the benefit of your team or co-workers, and that of your company.
In conclusion, no one is perfect and neither is their leadership style or ability. If we remember that as leaders we must lead by learning, and we must continually focus on bettering ourselves. We should truly lead with a style of graciousness and humility, and show our strength only when needed. This will improve productivity, morale, and make you an all around better leader.