“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
- Jack Welch
For some people, leadership just comes naturally. For the majority of us, however, it’s a skill that must be carefully honed and nurtured before it can come to fruition. Whether you’re already in a position of leadership, or you’re striving to become one in the future, there are certain things that you can do to further develop your skills so that you’ll end up with more productive, empowered teams.
Understand your leadership style.
Everybody is different, which means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership. The first step in becoming a better leader is understanding what style you fall under. This will help you to identify what your strengths are as well as weaker areas that could use some improvement. To determine what type of leader you are, here’s a quick quiz, which provides characteristics of each style to help you determine what may be helping or hindering your performance.
Listen and communicate well.
There is a give and take between good leaders and their teams, and it’s based on a foundation of open communication. Your team should feel comfortable coming to you to ask questions and voice their concerns, knowing that you’ll truly take the time to hear them out. Likewise, they should always understand what their roles are and exactly what’s expected of them. When it comes to leadership, you can’t communicate too much, so keep those avenues open at all times.
Encourage innovation and creativity.
It’s been said that you manage things, but you lead people. Strong leadership fosters a sense of empowerment across every level of an organization. Encourage your team members to share their ideas. When employees are allowed to play an active role in the success of the business, everyone benefits. In fact, research shows that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%!
Set achievable goals.
You want the goals you set for your team to help them grow and improve, but if you set objectives that are too far out of their reach, they’ll only end up frustrated and defeated in the end. Work with your team to identify each member’s unique strengths and then develop realistic goals that they will be able to achieve with hard work and determination. When those goals are reached, celebrate right alongside them!
Recognize the good.
Oftentimes those in leadership positions tend to focus only on areas where performance is lacking. While this is obviously necessary, recognizing and rewarding the good work of your employees is equally as important. This leads to a happier, more confident team, which in turn will be more productive overall. They’re also much less likely to leave. Organizations that have recognition programs in place see an average of 31% lower voluntary turnover than businesses that don’t.
Getting your team motivated takes more than an occasional impassioned speech. It takes an ongoing effort. Demonstrating a genuine passion for the ideas and goals your team is working toward goes a long way to getting others fired up for success. When your team members can see that you’re just as involved and engaged as they are, it becomes infectious.
Ask for feedback and learn from it.
You may think you’re the greatest leader in the world, but if your team doesn’t share that same regard, you’re not going to get very far. The best way to measure your abilities as a leader is to ask those that are in your command. Ask for feedback on a regular basis and, more importantly, implement the necessary changes to improve yourself. Not only will you develop into a more effective leader, but your team will appreciate that their opinions matter.
Good leaders don’t strong-arm others into following them. They inspire it; with their words, their attitudes and their actions. These simple yet highly effective tips will help you hone your skills to be able to set the pace for the future growth and success of your business through the empowerment of others.