Do you want your business to be as successful as possible? Do you want to keep your best employees? Do you want to bring out the best in the people working for you, and guide them in achieving their full potential? If you answered yes to these questions, you need to give some thought to how you are leading.
If you feel a bit lost as to how to improve your leadership skills, know there is plenty you can do. While many people naturally exhibit traits that lend themselves to effective leadership, these qualities are often developed and honed over time.
Do Some Evaluation
While there are some core traits and behaviors that make up a good leader, there is not just one way to lead. It is important you find out more about how you go about being a ‘leader.’ It is also necessary to assess your strengths and weaknesses. What do you do well? What do you think you need to improve upon and lead more effectively? Is there anything about your leadership style in particular that is beneficial or perhaps a hindrance?
Taking this leadership style quiz is a great jumping off point to learn more about how you are leading, and what you can do to become better.
Show Your Passion
Being a good leader, and inspiring those under you to express creativity, reach their full potential and feel fully invested in the success of your business requires you to demonstrate your passion about the goals which you have set. You can’t light a spark within your employees, and keep them motivated unless they see enthusiasm and passion being emanated from you. Give some thought to how you can show some excitement, and spread it to everyone else.
Never Stop Learning
When it comes to improving ourselves in any area, there is no ‘end point.’ It is a continuous journey. There will never be a point where you have learned everything you need to know, or have become the ‘perfect’ leader. Don’t hold the goal of ‘perfection’ in your mind because there really is no such thing—you will always be a work in progress. Always have your eye towards something that will make you better, some companies even invest in leadership coaching to help hone specific skills for their employees. Management and executive training could improve your professional life for years or even decades.
Learn from Your Employees
Just because you are in charge, doesn’t mean you always know best, or that you know everything. Anyone who takes this attitude will fail in their efforts to become a better leader. Chances are you have hired some really top-notch workers who can provide you lots of valuable information that will contribute to the success of your company; they may be the very people who can provide the solutions you seek. Tapping into this knowledge will help you execute projects more efficiently, solve problems more effectively and make better informed decisions.
Consider holding weekly ‘knowledge’ sessions; encourage collaboration between departments. Don’t hesitate to seek the counsel of your employees if you feel they can offer something of value—don’t let your ego stand in the way.
Encourage employees to express concerns or disagree with you (in a respectful way of course.) Remember again, you may not always know best, and an environment where workers are afraid to speak up for fear of reprisal, can cut off the flow of really good ideas and better solutions.
Creativity is crucial to innovation and success, and effective leaders know how to intellectually stimulate their employees, and get those creative juices flowing. Many higher-ups mistakenly create an environment where those under them don’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas, and there is little emphasis on fostering creativity in the workplace. Think about ways you can encourage employees to tap into their creativity. Create challenges that inspire them to stretch the capabilities of their imagination, but not tasks so challenging they will end up feeling discouraged. Make sure the ‘project’ is within their abilities.
Follow these tips to begin leading more effectively today.