Popular leadership books often use the phrase “born leader” to describe those who possess a natural ability to lead others. But leadership can be learned too. If you are willing to put in the time and do the work, anyone can be an effective leader.
I won’t get into the details on leadership styles as to be honest there’s far too many; coaching, visionary, servant, autocratic, laissez-faire to name a few. Fundamentally, everyone has their own leadership style – all of which we can learn something from.
Below we have complied a list of 10 general leadership tips for succeeding all around:
1. Lead by example. Behave as you would want your team to behave. Whilst understanding that your role is different from that of the team, show them the standards that are expected by setting the example. If you strive for the best, so will your team.
2. Muck in if you need too If you’re leading a team the chances are you’ve been there and done their job. Often your team will be overworked. Identify this, and dip in to help them every so often. It shows you don’t see yourself as “above” them.
3. Say Thank You. Countless studies have shown that a simple “thank you” and verbal recognition is more valued by employees than monetary or physical rewards. If they’ve done a good job, tell them!! Think back to when you were feeling proud of yourself and no one said anything – you felt undervalued and unappreciated.
4. Build on strengths. Everyone focuses on improving weaknesses and to a degree that is fine. However, you can distinguish yourself by paying particular attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the greatest return for your investment.
5. Move forward by looking backward. Many leaders succeed in spite of poor management skills. Now, imagine the levels of success they could have achieved if those who were in charge had great leadership skills. Gather feedback about your management style and adjust accordingly. Ask your team what they need from you. Communication should we two way, not top-down.
6. It’s better to be respected than loved. As human beings, we have a natural tendency to want to be loved. But what happens when your desire to be loved interferes with your ability to lead? Effective leaders recognise it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. Don’t try to be everyone’s best friend, try to be their friendly colleague.
7. Your success depends on the success of your team. To succeed as a manager, you will need to shift your focus from “me” to “we.” Going forward, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Your success is elevated by having a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all for you.
8. Don’t play the blame game. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. You have the power to inspire your team to exceed expectations, but you also have the power to demotivate your team into a lacklustre work ethic. What you don’t get to do is blame everyone else for your team’s failure to perform.
9. Cut your losses early. Mismatches happen, no matter how good you are at interviewing. Take action quickly to avoid having the rest of the team distracted by a poor hire.
10. Find a coach or a mentor. You are ultimately responsible for your own success. If you are lucky, you may get approval to attend a training session this year. It’s a start, however training isn’t going to ultimately get you where you want to go. Find a coach or a mentor who can swiftly guide you through the landmines that exist in every organisation.
It’s time to try something new if what you’ve been doing all along isn’t getting you the results you are seeking. Don’t try and implement all the above tips at once – take one or two which you feel are most beneficial and run with it. Before long, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a natural leader who is succeeding all around.