Leadership is a skill, and although it’s argued that some are born with this innate ability, anyone can develop the art of leading with effectiveness and confidence. Whether you are a natural or are learning how to manage others from the ground up, developing these skills is a process that requires time, desire and understanding. Arming yourself with the right knowledge and applying it appropriately is key to helping individuals and organizations be their best.
- Be brave: Leadership takes courage. Effectively managing teams does not always earn popularity points and can often involve dealing with uncomfortable situations. To be effective, a great leader must be able to recognize potential problems and deal with them immediately and with self-assurance. Hesitancy in decision-making can compromise the level of trust your employees have in your ability to pilot the ship.
- Be humble: While it is vital to act assertive, it is equally important to be flexible and open. Acting humble means accepting your mistakes and learning from them, as well as being open to other’s contributions. A great leader recognizes their own faults and uses the strengths of those around them, making sure to give credit where credit is due.
- Be fair: Fairness means administering the same principles and values consistently in all aspects of management. Treat all employees equally. Apply the same rewards and disciplinary actions whenever possible. Let your team know they are on the same level so they can be confident in your expectations.
- Be honest: Be straightforward when dealing with staff. Don’t try to manipulate or hide information that could potentially empower the team. Reveal enough about yourself so that your staff can relate to you. Being human in your team’s eyes can be a powerful tool for earning respect and trust.
- Be genuine: Integrity is essential to respect. Know the values of your organization and be intimately familiar with your own moral code so that you can act in accordance with this. Always be true to who you are and allow space for individuals to express themselves in the same honest way. A workplace that fosters authenticity gives team members the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way, leading to more effective and efficient work.
- Be open: Having a plan is important, but always be adaptable and flexible when it comes to management. Don’t get too stuck on your own ideas and listen with open ears to any contributions from your team. Keep the lines of communication open so that your staff knows they can come to you with issues and ideas.
- Be trusting: Give your staff the benefit of the doubt whenever you can. Micromanaging and hovering over projects gives teams the sense that there isn’t confidence in their abilities. Autonomy and trust motivates individuals to pursue goals and feel that their efforts are appreciated and recognized.
- Be a mentor: Offer guidance, instruction and knowledge whenever possible. Not only will this arm your team with tools needed to be more effective workers, but it positions you as an authority, earning credibility and appreciation.
- Be inspiring: Be enthusiastic and positive in the workplace and it will catch on like wildfire. Teams want to be inspired, excited by their work and driven to a common goal. Communicate your organization’s vision with passion and encourage eagerness, enjoyment and positive energy.
Skill development takes practice, dedication and desire. Commit to these principles in your management practices and you’ll see what a team that’s happy, engaged, and driven looks like. And an effective team is the only way to achieve true organizational success.
Interested in more on leadership? Check out these amazing TED talks.