Some believe certain people are born leaders. Others think an individual can learn to be a leader. Regardless of how you may feel you obtained your leadership skills, there are always ways to enhance your abilities.
This list of suggestions may inspire you to reevaluate your leadership abilities and address any issues you find need improvement.
1. Be a Positive Role Model.
As a leader, your actions set the tone for what is appropriate behavior in the workplace. Exhibit actions that you want your team to emulate. You may establish rules of conduct or have expectations for how staff should behave at work and what actions will not be tolerated. The best way to encourage these specific actions is to correctly and precisely demonstrate these behaviors yourself.
2. Be Humble.
Share the credit for successful projects with your team. If you make a mistake, readily admit to your error. Apologize when needed and admit when you do not have the solution to a problem. Demonstrate the willingness to seek answers from other sources. Such actions show your human side and help you gain the respect of employees and customers alike.
When you admit a mistake, your employees feel safe admitting their mistakes, instead playing the "blame game". Accepting that individuals make mistakes will create a more cooperative atmosphere in your company.
3. Listen and Communicate Effectively.
Another important quality of transformational leadership involves a focus on providing one-on-one communication with group members. Good leaders should express sincere care and concern for the members of their group both verbally and non-verbally.
By keeping the lines of communication open, these leaders can ensure that group members feel able to make contributions and receive recognition for their achievements.
Let your team know they may openly discuss workplace issues with you. Be approachable. Give employees your attention, keep an open mind and make eye contact as they speak, (don't be working on your next project or email.) Maintain the confidentially of the conversation. You can build trust this way. Be sure your staff knows of your expectations for them. Quickly address any misunderstandings. Make a note of what was discussed and put in a private email to your employee, if appropriate. This will help keep misunderstandings at a minimum.
4. Be Emotionally Aware.
Business is ultimately about dealing with people. While some may say emotions have no place in the business world, wise leaders strive to be aware of the sensitivities of others. These leaders learn to acknowledge different opinions and consider background information to better understand those around them. Emotions usually reveal the deeper, most important and relevant points of personal interactions. It is an important area to explore more deeply.
5. Encourage Creativity.
Let the members of your team know that you welcome their ideas. Leaders who encourage involvement from group members are often referred to as democratic or participative leaders. While they retain the final say over all decisions, they encourage team members to take an active role in coming up with ideas and plans.
Research has shown that using a democratic leadership style leads to greater commitment, more creative problem-solving and improved productivity.
The opportunity to present and try out ideas can lead employees to deeper commitment, enhanced problem-solving abilities and greater productivity.
Effective leaders should offer new challenges with ample support to achieve these goals.
One way to foster creativity is to offer challenges to group members, making sure that the goals are within the grasp of their abilities. The purpose of this type of exercise is to get people to stretch their limits but to not become discouraged by barriers to success.
6. Be Passionate.
Would you look to someone for guidance and leadership if they did not truly care about the goals of the group? Of course not! Great leaders are not just focused on getting group members to finish tasks; they have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the projects they work on.
You can develop this leadership quality by thinking of different ways that you can express your zeal. Let people know that you care about their progress. When one person shares something with the rest of the group, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate such contributions.
7. Know Your Team.
Learn about your employees. Ask about their families or recreational activities they enjoy. Politely ask how things are going for them. Doing so will demonstrate that you care about them as human beings and do not consider them just another name on the company payroll.
Jot down this information so you don't forget areas that are important to your employee. Be sure to include remote workers. Review these notes before an interview or progress report with an employee so you can make appropriate comments that show you are thinking about them.
8. Think Positive.
It is easy to be positive when things are going well but a good leader will remain confident when things go wrong. They embrace failures and inspire their team to consider such events as opportunities to learn. A positive outlook will help your staff remain encouraged and create an overall upbeat environment where people will want to remain. Thinking and acting positive go hand-in-hand. Never slight anyone, in or out of your employ.
9. Study Past Leaders.
Take a look at those who have previously held your position. Examine why they failed and why they succeeded. Become aware of common mistakes. Compare your leadership style to theirs. Also, take a look at your peers to compare their progress while taking into consideration variables such as location and economic factors.
Your leadership style doesn't have to be the same as a previous leader in your company or position. In fact, your leadership style shouldn't be the same as anyone else's. Improve your style, but stay real.
10. Challenge Your Staff.
Employees may become bored and dissatisfied if they are performing the same tasks and projects each day. Give your staff new challenges that are within their abilities. Provide constructive feedback as they work on new projects. Learning and mastering new challenges will give your staff a sense of accomplishment. It shows that you have confidence in their skills and value them as part of the organization. There are many skill learning opportunities on line that can be worked on during working hours.
11. Offer Rewards and Recognition.
Another important quality of a good leader involves knowing that offering effective recognition and rewards is one of the best ways to help team feel appreciated and happy. It may also come as no surprise that happy people tend to perform better at work. According to researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, leaders can help group members feel happier by offering help, removing barriers to success and rewarding strong efforts.