Every company, no matter how large or small, values leadership in its employees. Leaders get the more challenging and rewarding work assignments. They gain exposure that results in salary increases, bonuses, and promotions. Being a leader is a constant growing process. Most of us are not natural born leaders, we have to strive to become a leader. So here are some tips to help:
Plan ahead and be organized
Good leaders think three steps ahead to avoid problems before they arise. When you identify potential problems, be flexible. Adapt to the new situation instead of rigidly moving forward and sticking to your original game plan.
Planning ahead requires organization. You can’t be thinking ahead if your “here and now” is in utter chaos. Be prepared for meetings, presentations, and events. If you have direct reports, make sure they’re prepared too.
Communicate and give feedback
Communicating is more than talking. It’s listening too. Good leaders listen … a lot! Listening allows you to understand the needs and desires of your direct reports, managers, peers, and partners – important information to have when trying to influence others to follow your lead. Ask questions and consider all options to ensure you’re leading in the right direction.
Provide feedback to those with whom you work – not just your direct reports. Feedback is a gift. It’s invaluable information that helps others improve their performance. Don’t confuse feedback with criticism. Criticism is evaluative; feedback is descriptive. Giving and receiving feedback builds solid relationships and keeps the lines of communication open.
“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” ~ Steve Jobs
Build your team
How can you help people develop their skills and prepare for promotion while freeing up time in your own schedule? Delegate! Share responsibilities and empower your people. Then sit back and watch their interest, enthusiasm, and confidence grow.
Being a democratic leader also helps your team grow stronger. Include team members in the decision-making process even though you have the final decision. Inclusion promotes engagement, higher job satisfaction and increased productivity.
Be a moral leader and do what you say
Workers become apathetic, indifferent, and disengaged when they believe their leaders are unethical or immoral. As a leader, your ethics are always on display. Consider how your actions are perceived and remember others might model your behavior.
Part of being a moral leader is doing what you say. Those with whom you work are not your children. “Do as I say, not as I do” has no place at work. When you do what you say you’ll do, you gain respect.
Get to know your staff. Don’t just say, “good morning.” Ask them how their assignments are going. Listen if they want to share stories about life at home. Organize get-together’s outside of work. Take your staff out to lunch. Just be sure not to leave anyone out.
Part of building relationships is treating others with respect. Consistently respecting another’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions will help build their confidence.
Be open-minded and a lifelong learner
Always consider input from your coworkers and direct reports. Be sure to give them credit if you act on their suggestions. Everyone loves to be recognized for their ideas!
To consider input from others in the right light, it’s important to be aware of issues and information within your company. Keep abreast of what’s happening not just within your department but throughout the company.
Good leaders are lifelong learners. They continually keep up-to-date in their fields.
Can you become a leader or a better leader overnight? Absolutely not. It takes time to build your leadership skills. Remember – great leaders never stop growing. Commitment to ongoing self-development is a trait all great leaders share.
Learn more about applied leadership skills in a portfolio management setting with CreditLab: Leadership!