How To Be A Great Leader
The best leaders inspire us, empower us, and roll up their sleeves to be beside their team when times get tough. Leadership comes naturally to some, but it's also a behaviour that can be learned, and always a skill that can be improved. Take a look at our top tips on becoming a great leader.
Understand Your Leadership Style
To understand your team, you first have to understand yourself. Recognising your own leadership style can help you learn about what you're doing well, and where you can improve. Every style of leadership has its strengths and weaknesses, but the better you know yourself and how you behave as a manager, the easier it will be to lead people as you gage their responses to you. There are a number of leadership style quizzes online that you can take to find out exactly which category you sit in.
Encourage Everyone's Voice
Picking favourites is a dangerous game, and whilst you might be more aligned with some members of your team than others, encouraging diverse thinking and giving everyone a platform to speak can propel you all to a successful end goal. Being able to recognise that some people are quieter than others, and finding environments that make them comfortable enough to speak up is key. Understanding that there is no one fixed way to behave can take you from a good manager, to a great one.
Listen & Communicate
Although precise delegation is necessary for leadership, so is the other side of the same coin. Taking the time to listen, process, and then communicate your thoughts in response to others can help you get to know your team better, create room for innovation, and make your colleagues feel heard and respected.
Rather than keeping to one way of working, encouraging creative thinking within your team can work wonders for your colleagues to feel like an integral part of the company. If someone comes to you with a project they'd like to try out, say yes as long as they are able to complete their day-to-day in the mean time.
Lead By Example
The worst leaders adopt an attitude of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. The problem with telling your team you expect one kind of behaviour but showcasing the opposite yourself is two-fold. One; it gives the impression that the behaviour isn't important and two; it generates a sense of superiority in which certain people are perceived to have special treatment. For instance if you demand project delivery on time, but always fail to deliver prompt feedback yourself, you set the precedent that time-management is not as important as you initially made out, or that your time is somehow more precious than others.
Provide Continuous Feedback
Setting up regular 1:1s with your team enables you to understand how they feel they are progressing, where they need support, as well as giving you the opportunity to provide constructive praise and criticism. Take it one step further by setting goals with your team members so not only do they have regular communication about their performance, but are able to measure it too.
Asking your team for help is no sign of weakness; in fact the best leaders understand that they aren't perfect, and that their decisions can be helped by a team that understands them as well as the business goals from a different perspective. Not only will your colleagues feel recognised for their input, but you may also gain precious insight you didn't have access to before.
Invest In Your Team
Whether that's training, pay-rises, promotions, or days out to reward your colleagues, investing in them will make their hard work feel recognised. Recognition is one of the best ways to motivate people, and even a simple thank you can be enough to help make someone's day.
Be Open To Adaptation
Knowing what doesn't work is just as important to knowing what does. Even though you're the boss, being open to adapting a way of thinking, a process that's been in place for years, or even your leadership style can show your team that you're not just doing things for the sake of it. Changing when it's necessary to change can help build a better, stronger team, and increase your colleagues' trust in you as their leader.
There are plenty of traits & habits that can be honed that lead to good leadership. We'd love to hear from you and understand what you think makes a great leader. Email us at email@example.com