Having the courage to lead a team of individuals is a large feat in itself. Not only do you have the pressure of producing good work, but you also have to successfully manage a team at the same time. While there are a few simple things you can do to be a better leader, there are skills you can use to not only improve yourself, but help improve the team as well.
I'm very grateful that I've had the opportunity to work for such amazing companies during my career. I've been surrounded by bosses that I've appreciated and taken note of so I could replicate their traits throughout my roles. While each may not personally know this, I consider every boss that I've ever had to be a mentor to me. I've always asked for feedback and thrived off their ideas of how a company should be handled. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to take these traits that I've learned and apply them to my own leadership position. But just like the good qualities I've look admire, there are bad qualities I've taken notice of and will hopefully never repeat. Just like an employee, no boss is perfect, but it's best to strive to be the best leader you can be by acknowledging your faults and learning how to grow in a positive way. If you're about to be in a leadership position, or just want to work out some kinks, here are six qualities that every person should try to have to be a better leader.
1. Be Humble
Being in charge doesn't just mean making sure the work is pumping out; it also means making sure the environment your employees are working in is nurturing and comfortable. According to Fast Company, Rob Nielsen, leadership expert and coauthor of Leading with Humility, said, "Team performance is typically much higher when team members believe their leaders are truly looking out for their best interests." Having a boss that sincerely cares about their employees really does make a huge difference in a work environment. It can push the employee's performance to be greater and can make them feel safe enough to be more open with their communication as well.
2. Get To Know Them
In addition to making sure that you're producing good work, it's important to get to know your employees by showing how much you care about them. Your employees may appreciate that you're taking the time to get to know them on a personal level instead of just viewing them as objects to get work done. According to Entrepreneur, try to ask about their families and how they're doing personally. Doing this can show your team that you truly care about them and may even encourage them to produce better work.
3. Don't Take Things Personally
It can be really frustrating to deal with a boss who gets defensive every time an employee makes a comment about something because they take it personally. Being a strong leader means you have to deal with the good and the bad while not feeling like every mistake or discussion is an attack on you. According to The Huffington Post, health coach Catherine Chen, Ph.D., said, "Defensiveness rises from assumptions about the unknown that are believed to be true." It's best not to jump to conclusions. Instead, try to ask questions to clarify what that person is talking about. "Effective leading requires the fullest of presence and getting defensive takes away that from that. By acknowledging another's perspective, not assuming what you don't know, and seeking to understand will help build a presence that will draw both people and opportunities of growth to you," Chen continued.
4. Communicate Effectively
Learning how to communicate effectively with your employees is a vital part of being a great leader. The majority of problems in the workplace are sometimes due to how the boss communicates and makes the employees feel based on what they have said. One of the best ways to avoid a misunderstanding is by being careful with your words and how to express yourself. According to INC., be careful with what you say around your team. While actions do speak louder than words, sometimes words are more valid in the workforce because they can have a direct impact on the morale of a person. To be a better leader, alway be mindful when you communicate with your employees. You always want to be honest and concise with your directions and don't argue when it comes to miscommunication.
5. Lead By Example
As a leader, you're hoping that your employees will follow your strong work ethic, but they may only mimic you if you lead by your own example. It's really hard to follow a leader and to respect their wishes when they don't follow their own rules. According to Entrepreneur, establish a standard of excellence that can model the expected behavior for your employees. Your actions can influence how others will weigh the expectations of excellence. Showcase how you want your employees to work by working just as hard. They may respect you and want to prove to you how hard of a worker they truly can be.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Feedback
People in leadership positions sometimes believe that they should know it all and never have to ask for feedback, but the opposite is actually true. According to Business News Daily, Terry "Starbucker" St. Marie, a leadership writer and consultant, said, "Talking to friends and peers often brings needed perspective on your leadership approach and style." A good leader can always benefit from asking the tough questions to help make an overall better work place. Your employees may appreciate the humble approach because you're being vulnerable and you're not afraid to look at the core of a problem from an outsider's point of view to help improve a problematic area.
Being a better leader doesn't mean that you have to be absolutely perfect — there is really no such thing. But as time goes on, you can start to realize what faults you have and how you can improve. Hopefully these six suggestions may make you be a better boss to your employees and help your work environment produce the best work you have ever seen.
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