Do you manage a team of employees? Being in a position of authority, management or leadership comes with a lot of responsibility. You are ultimately accountable for the performance, efficiency, success and morale of your team. It is easy to be “in charge”, but it takes a lot to be a good leader. So here are 12 ways that you can be a better leader in your position – starting today.
12 Ways to Become a Better Leader
1. Listen More, Speak Less
First and foremost, your team wants to know that their ideas and opinions are heard and valued. The more you listen, the more you will find that your team listens when you speak.
2. Know Potential When You See It
In a leadership role, it’s fairly safe to assume that you’re also in the hiring position. Therefore, pay attention to your employees’ potential. Don’t just scan the resume looking for a needed set of skills. Build a team that can grow, encourage growth, and you’ll see so much more engagement.
3. Be Liberal with Positive Feedback, Frugal with Criticism
In this great article, the author writes, “It sounds corny, and maybe you can overdo this one, but I honestly believe many employees in young companies need constant encouragement. We live in complex, competitive times and people are inundated with too many tasks and not enough time. Technology and business life can be overwhelming, so it’s important to point out any “wins” no matter how small. And, if you do have to criticize, think seriously about the impact first.”
4. Avoid Gossip
You would think that we wouldn’t need to put this one on the list, but you would be amazed at how many managers end up venting about members of their team to other members of their team. This must stop if you want to be considered a voice of positivity. Here is what gossiping does: it shows your employees that you are not trustworthy. It shows your employees that you show favoritism. And it also shows your employees that you cannot deal with confrontation face-to-face.
5. It’s OK to Say “I Don’t Know”
Be confident in not knowing everything. You show your team that learning is encouraged. And you also encourage your team to reach out for help when they don’t know something, either.
6. Celebrate Success, Evaluate Failure
In an upper-management position, it’s important to have the right attitude about success and failure. Knowing what success requires – patience, efficiency, productivity and more – will help you see what went wrong when failure does occur. Both success and failure require one very important key: humility. Humbly celebrate success, and accept where things went wrong when failure occurs.
7. Let Your Team Know You’re a Human
One thing you can be certain of: you and every member of your team has a life outside of their job (we hope). Take the time to get to know your team on a more personal level, and let them know who you are, too. There’s definitely a line you should draw in the sand about how personal you get with your employees, but letting them in on a little bit of who you are makes you more approachable.
8. Be Flexible with How Each Employee Works
Be patient! Every single person has a different set of needs which will enable them to work to their full potential. It’s important that your employees know they can be trusted to work efficiently and independently. Micro-management has never worked for anyone, so don’t burden yourself with the task! Showing employees that you’re confident in their skills makes them feel confident, too.
9. Make Yourself Approachable
When your employees feel overwhelmed, overloaded or out of their depth, make sure they know it’s ok to reach out for help! It’s never ok to suffer alone silently – you’re a team! Another very important part of being approachable is to watch your tone. How you say something is every bit as important as what you say.
10. Control Your Emotions
This is probably a lifelong practice. We’re not saying you’re not allowed to ever be upset, here. But set the example – when your employees see that you keep your emotions in check, it will encourage them to do the same.
11. Apologize When You Need To
There is not enough time for all the effort it takes to hide all your weaknesses. Leadership does not include pretending there was a misunderstanding or finding someone or something else at fault. It looks much worse when you try to insulate yourself from admitting mistakes. Don’t hesitate to apologize! It’s honest, and it’s humble, and those are two things that can never fail.
12. Recognize and Reward Ingenuity
If someone on your team comes up with a great idea that leads to positive change, give them credit! It takes guts to share new ideas, find workarounds, and think outside the box. Reveling a little bit in a team member’s smart thinking will help them push even harder on their next project!
Celebrate Your Team with Awesome Business Gifts
If you’re a leader, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?