Leadership is never easy, and even for the few natural-born leaders out there, the pressure can be incredibly nerve wracking. When people look to you for direction, whether it’s one person or hundreds, the power you wield can make or break a business. That is why it is important to consider what it takes to be a great leader. It’s your job to encourage, inspire, and motivate your employees, so what’s the best way to do that? Below are a few tips you can use to take the first steps to becoming a great leader.
1. Set Clear Goals
Failing to communicate your expectations with your employees is a recipe for disaster. Sure, we all want to hire employees who are proficient self-starters, but even the most independent employees out there need to have a clear road-map. Without one, you create confusion for all parties involved. Leaders are put in place to guide their team toward a common goal and keep everyone on track. Be sure your goals are clearly defined and that every employee knows exactly what is expected of them. Once you have these goals in place, meet with your team periodically to ensure everyone is always on the same page.
2. Celebrate Success
Take the time to congratulate your team when they reach their goals. There is no better feeling than being acknowledged for your hard work. Simply assuming your employees know they are appreciated doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want your employees to feel valued, then you need to take the initiative. All it takes is a quick shout-out highlighting what the person did and how it positively impacted the business. Set up an Employee of the Month nomination, or else offer a pizza party for each department that reaches their quarterly goals. Recognition can be the difference between your employees staying at your company or looking to relocate somewhere they feel more valued.
3. Encourage Teamwork
Teamwork is essential for any successful business for a number of reasons. Not only does it encourage innovative thinking and develop employee relationships, but it also challenges the status quo. Allowing your staff to work together strengthens employee bonds and can greatly benefit the workplace dynamic.
4. Respect and Value Team Members
In order to gain respect you must first give it. What better way to build up trust and respect than communication? Listening to your team and making an honest effort to understand and rectify their issues is a great way to show that value them. At the end of the day we all want to be recognized for our success.
5. Be an Open Resource
To be the best leader you can be, it is extremely important for your staff to know they have someone they can turn to should they need a question answered. By definition, being a leader means you’re busy. You have a lot on your plate, and sometimes an open-door policy doesn’t give you the time you need to get your own work done. However, that doesn’t mean you should simply cut yourself off from your subordinates. Make a point to speak with them as much as possible. Hold regular meetings with everyone on your team. Being approachable opens the lines of communication and gives your team the opportunity to seek clarification and guidance.
Being an effective leader is all about taking the initiative to get to know your team and creating a solid foundation of trust. Once you have that relationship, you can modify your approach to find what works best for your people.