Four Things That Will Make You A Better Leader
Telling people to think or behave in a certain way doesn't mean they will. As a manager, your daily balancing act probably includes doing what’s necessary to meet organizational expectations and keep stakeholders happy, while getting the best out of your people in a challenging environment.
From author Ashira Prossack's point of view, anyone in a management or supervisory role is a leader, but not everyone in those positions exhibits true leadership. The best leaders take their expert management skills and combine them with people skills to become well rounded and highly successful. In an insightful Forbes article, she notes the difference between being a good leader and a great one is in the relationships you build with your team. Regardless of where you are on your path to leadership, here are four things you can do to accelerate your effectiveness and your impact as a leader.
- Coach others. A great leader is a teacher and a coach, not a dictator. Great leaders help their teams develop and grow. They provide training opportunities, including coaching and mentoring. A great leader understands when to nurture their teams, and when they need to push them. A great coach understands that everyone has different needs and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Learn how your team members work best, and tailor your coaching to match their work style.
- Be agile. Great leaders are prepared for change to happen at any time. They’re able to think and make decisions quickly, and they know how to rally their teams to make results happen. One day that could mean giving the team free reign to come up with ideas for a project and a deadline that they need to meet. The next day, the deadline could get moved up, and the leader would have to assign tasks and provide more structure. As a leader, you have to pay attention to everything that’s happening both from a process standpoint and a people standpoint. By ensuring your team is performing to the best of their abilities, you’ll be better able to keep the process on track. Ignore one and the other will suffer.
- Respect your people. Respect is a two-way street, and it must be given to be had in return. Great leaders understand this, and show their team respect through trust. When an employee is micromanaged, it indicates to them you don't trust their abilities enough to let them take risks and expand their expertise. If you don’t trust your employees, they won't trust you. A sure sign of a respected and trusted leader is when employees are comfortable coming to them with questions. The best leaders aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and jump in to help the team when necessary. Your own personal leadership style will dictate how often you do this, as will the nature of your work. The key is to step in and help the team when it’s necessary.
- Be a master communicator. Great leaders can tailor their communication style to meet the needs of any situation. Leaders must be excellent listeners, and they understand that different situations call for different communication styles. Without high level communication skills, no leader will truly be successful.To master the art of communication, you simply need to practice. You should be familiar with these six key communication skills—listening, advising, directing, motivating, teaching, and coaching. Each one is appropriate in its own place and time, and they are most effective when combined. Being adept in your communication methods means you're able to clearly express yourself and lead with greater clarity.
“No matter what your title, you can become a leader. Practice these skills, and you'll be on the path to great leadership.”
Accelerate your leadership journey with Executive Forum’s development offerings. From frontline to C-suite, we can help you and your team build the skills needed to achieve real behavior change and deliver measurable results. Our next Step-Up to Leading Others workshop begins soon. Call us to reserve your space today.