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Just because you hold a leadership position doesn’t automatically make you an effective leader. Learning how to become a successful leader requires self-awareness, continuous development, and a willingness to cultivate certain skills. Here are 7 tips to help you become a better leader:
Tip #1: Lead by Example
Leading by example shows your team that you also “walk the walk and talk the talk”. If you want your employees to follow certain protocols, but you aren’t sticking to them yourself, think about the message it sends. Instead, model excellence, hard work, respect, and a willingness to improve.
Tip #2: Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
As an efficient leader, you have to be good at delegating tasks and leveraging the strengths of your employees. Everyone is good at different things, so learn how to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and those of your team members. You can’t be involved in each and every decision or project, so have faith in your team and give them the opportunity to put their skills to work.
Tip #3: Give Feedback
Let your employees know when they do something well and provide direct, honest, and constructive feedback when something could be done better. Acknowledging your team’s successes and celebrating their accomplishments will go a long way in making them feel appreciated, motivated, and self-assured in their abilities. In fact, a recent survey found that 43% of employees say that feeling appreciated makes them more confident.
Tip #4: Be Open-Minded and Approachable
A good leader encourages his or her team to ask questions and is receptive to listening to new ideas, input, and suggestions. This creates a positive and safe environment that fosters open, honest discussions and feedback.
Tip #5: Show Compassion
Compassionate leadership improves trust, loyalty, and collaboration. You can show compassion to your team by making an effort to make them feel appreciated, putting yourself in their shoes, checking in with them to see if they feel stressed or overworked, and asking them what they need. One study found that 53% of employees report going to work even when they feel like they could benefit from taking a mental health day. Keep your door open and encourage your employees to prioritize their wellbeing.
Tip #6: Be an Effective Communicator
A successful leader knows the importance of being an effective communicator. Avoid making assumptions and make sure you express your expectations, directions, and company goals in a clear manner. When in doubt, it’s better to overcommunicate rather than presume. And remember, a skilled communicator is not only an effective speaker, but also a great listener.
Tip #7: Strike a Healthy Balance of Involvement
The perfect balance of leadership lies somewhere in the middle of micromanaging and being hands off. Let’s face it, no one wants to feel like their boss is constantly hovering, monitoring, and watching their every move like a hawk. But being totally hands off isn’t much better. Employees can be left feeling a great deal of uncertainty and like they are in the dark about objectives and their performance. Make sure to find a good balance between having faith in your team to work independently and letting them know that you are available to support them in their tasks. And always remember to give your employees regular feedback (see tip #3).
Applying these tips will help you improve your leadership skills, but remember that becoming and remaining a good leader is an ongoing process. Stay open-minded, dedicated, and willing to improve, and you’ll be able to lead your team to continuing success.
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