Running a company is no small feat.
Your life is constantly filled with a myriad of human idiosyncrasies and this shows itself daily. You try your best everyday to juggle between your employees and business decisions, while at the same time ensuring clients and stakeholders are getting what they’re promised.
It’s essentially a huge responsibility for you, but sometimes the most effective and efficient leaders are those who have the acumen to cultivate and build a conducive and open work environment for employees to grow.
Building such an environment requires embracing different work cultures and work ethics within your company. Shunning and shaming a particular employee for differences in their work ethic is not the way to go as this creates resentment hindering growth. Instead, encourage relationship-building in your everyday work life as you never know who you need to count on next. Have positive assumptions of people and you’ll see that people, too, will reciprocate.
Being a leader has its challenges and struggles. It isn’t always rosy. Therefore, if you find yourself facing difficulties or aspiring to be a better leader, here’re 7 qualities to inject into your leadership style.
1) Great Leaders Are Trustworthy
As a leader, you want your employees to trust you. And you want to trust your employees.
Trustworthy leaders believe in their employees. They give people space to succeed rather than breathing down their necks every minute. Employees are not afraid to make mistakes because of an approachable and supportive work environment. This leadership quality is an essential ingredient.
Trustworthy leaders are also known to be firm and fair in their management style. This allows them to stay true to their convictions.
Most of the time, employees are happy to reciprocate trust and this creates a honest and open working culture within your team. This, in turn builds upon your team spirit and team motivation, and we know that motivated people have a greater sense of ownership in the work they create.
2) Great Leaders Empower Employees
This probably happened to you.
You gave an employee a task and expect it to be done in the next 2 hours. However, this employee repeatedly comes to you to get permission on every minor detail that could be decided on his own. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Why is that so? This could be because of past experience where the employee caused a mistake without seeking your approval, or are restricted by certain factors. It’s your duty as a leader to communicate clearly your expectations and empower employees in their tasks.
Delegating work to employees with clear directions and instructions with minimal supervision allows them to have space to handle and execute the task responsibly.
Employees might make mistakes every now and then, big ones and small ones alike; but that is how they learn and grow. If you never allow them to step out into the blue, they will never know how to face new challenges next time. They find themselves constantly stuck in one place and that’s not good for either of you. If you don’t give them chances to take risks, they can’t and won’t improve.
3) Great Leaders Often Adopt An Open Door Policy
Picture this: You aren’t aware of what’s happening with your employees and the issues and problems with their work. Problems that could’ve been solved start building up over the years and then you find yourself in a huge mess. You wouldn’t want employees quitting unexpectedly when you have upcoming projects that require their skills.
Setting aside time to reach out, communicate, and listen can pay dividends in the long term. A harmonious work culture require openness and transparency with employees.
Adopting an open door policy indicates to employees your accessibility and encourages instant access of communication. It’s okay to close your doors sometimes when you need to fully concentrate on a certain project or are speaking to someone about sensitive matters.
If you’re new to the open door policy, there’s no harm in trying it out. Be welcoming when employees look for you. Take time to talk to employees and ensure their well-being on the job. Ask questions of the people in your life. Establish a connection and learn the details of how your company runs.
4) Great Leaders Have Clear and Concise Communication
Have clear and concise communication in your decisions and actions with teams. Leaders should possess first-rate communication skills. It helps provides employees a clear pathway in doing their jobs properly.
Stop and think about it. No matter how efficient an employee is, it can be difficult for him if you keep changing your mind about the instructions of a task. Vague instructions often lead to confusion. And this in turn cost you more time, effort, and money to get it right.
As a leader, you need to ensure your employees know what to do. Ask them if they have any questions. Welcome questions. Answer them in detail and with patience. The best leaders use communication to motivate and inspire employees. It’s better to clear things up from the start than to say something, assume the employee understands, and then walk away, only to find out later that he has no clue what to do.
5) Great Leaders Possess A Good Sense of Direction
“Everyone needs to know where they’re going,” says David Scholz, CEO of Leger Marketing, a Canadian-owned research and strategic marketing firm with over 600 employees, “If no one is telling you, you’ll set your own direction; the result is 100 staff members going in 100 different directions.”
Alongside clear and concise communication, a leader who demonstrates that he or she knows the way ahead allows followers to gain confidence. With the pace of change accelerating, practically every leader must be capable of articulating the direction of the enterprise. Successful leaders can paint a compelling and inspiring picture of what that future will look like. David Scholz asserts that establishing a coherent future direction for an enterprise is essential. “If I don’t articulate in a clear way, each person can interpret the message differently.”
When employees are confused or start having doubts, it hinders their progress. That’s where your directness as a leader can reduce their speculation and reassure them of what’s expected.
6) Great Leaders Are Passionate
If you lack passion, you have nothing.
Passionate leaders produce energy, drive vision, and raise influence among employees. When you’re inspired, motivated, and pumped up for the day’s activities can have a positive impact on your team’s morale.
How do you expect others to be under your leadership when you lack passion and energy? Passionate leaders make things happen. They want to make their vision and goals a reality. As a result, it influences and drives productivity within teams. Employees want to be a part of something that they can trust and believe in.
7) Great Leaders Have Strong Willpower
As employees are often taking cues from their leaders, another great way to excel as a leader is to show that you have strong willpower.
Displaying a strong will to strive ahead, accomplish tasks, and achieve goals in the face of challenges sets a great example to employees to be self-driven, motivated, and have initiative in their tasks. Whereas, showing weakness is an absolute no-no; if employees feel that their leader is weak, they are more likely to cave when faced with difficulties, or worse, step over the boss and try and wrestle control. However, not to mistake weakness with struggling during difficult times. That is a sign of perseverance and strength.
Being a leader or a mentor is not a piece of cake, and few people come close to becoming visionary leaders. The one most important take away from this article is to treat employees like your people. Value each one of them. Empower them. At the end of the day, we’re all human and someone’s loved one after all, and having more authority does not make you more superior than others. Respect is earned, not given, and even less an entitlement.
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