Everyone wants to be a leader, but the truth is that it’s not a position that suits everyone automatically. However, we believe that almost anyone can become a strong leader if they have the right approach. That’s where some leadership tips can come in handy!
Here are not only some tips that you improve general leadership skills, but ways that you can actually implement them in the workplace!
Let’s take a look!
This is something that many lists like these include, but what does it actually mean and how can you practice it in a constructive way in the workplace?
For one, it means taking into account everyone and everything on a human level. Of course, the people who you work with and for are humans, and not simply machines which produce favorable outputs.
Almost everyone has had the experience of working in a place where their basic humanity was not recognized. Most high performers do not stay at jobs like that for very long.
This can lead to high turnover, an expensive issue for many companies, especially during a time period which has been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation.’
Empathy is simply being realistic about both the limits and potential of those that you lead and relating to them on a genuine level. As you are also a human being who experiences both success and struggle as a part of life, empathy is extending that awareness to those around you.
In practice, what does this look like? It involves listening to employees about their concerns, for example. This will not only help to build loyalty and make your team feel valued, but it can help you avoid large problems down the road.
Often, if small issues are left unadressed over long periods of time, things can snowball.
If your employees are too intimidated by you to be honest, or feel that you will not take their concerns seriously, you may miss out on critical opportunities to do damage control before things escalate.
Empathy is more than just ‘being nice’ or ‘being friends’ with everyone. It is understanding where people are coming from so you can respond in an effective manner that gets results.
Embrace Change In An Intelligent Way
Whether we like it or not, the only future certainty is change. The world itself is constantly evolving. Consumers, employees, and all of our material conditions are constantly in flux.
In fact: a study found that the main leadership challenge among 1,000 senior executives was managing change and innovation.
So, as a leader, what does it mean exactly to manage change in a strategic way? One key mark of a good leader is that they can separate short-lived trends from genuine innovations regarding what will best serve their clients, customers, team, and business.
It is true that there seems to be a new hyped-up thing every month. Every new tool, platform, or concept that comes out promises to change the world forever.
For years people have been saying that 5G, Web3, Blockchain, Automation, the Internet of Things, and more will radically change everything about how we do everything tomorrow.
While changes are developing, the truth is that most change develops over time. Another big truth is that which of these things you need largely depends on what your business does and what your consumers want.
The Blockchain Example
For example, while Blockchain has definite uses, and many far beyond the cryptocurrency it is famously associated with, its very nature means that it is not a fit for all businesses.
Think of blockchain as a public ledger. Blockchain has already been applied to the healthcare system in Estonia with success.
However, its transparency may not be as good in banking, where individuals have private accounts and might not want all users to be able to see every transaction they complete.
Do you need to rush to make your business web3 compliant because of hype, when web3 definitions are incredibly vague and many people are not sure of what it even is right now?
Most likely, no. It depends on what your business does.
On top of recognizing larger changes in the world, this also means being able to recognize changes within your business.
For example, if a lot of employees quit at once, that is a change that also needs to be understood and responded to strategically.
This comes back to knowing your people and understanding your people. However, there are some elements of taking into account the basics of human nature.
Most human beings are innately social and deeply want to be a part of a group and build fulfilling relationships within that group.
Think about it, how often have we heard joking terms like ‘work husband’ and ‘work wife’ thrown around? Many people work in tough environments, such as firefighters, but find the teamwork and camaraderie of their coworkers invaluable.
The simple fact is, most people are happier, more effective, and more productive when they have the opportunity to build relationships and truly feel like they are part of a team.
As a leader, you want to acknowledge this and create a constructive environment. You can approach this by hosting team-building exercises and upholding a culture that prioritizes an equitable team-based atmosphere.
Avoid the appearance of playing favorites. Also, cultivate a professional relationship with your team. While you want to have a respectful and empathetic approach, you do not want to fall into the trap of being ‘everyone’s friend.’
At the end of the day, you want to build a relationship with your team of a capable boss and their employees. Don’t lose sight of that.
One of the Most Important Leadership Tips: Respond, Don’t React
The ability to think critically under pressure is one of the keys to building a solid foundation as a capable leader.
Depending on the scale of your business, every day you may be putting out fires. If you cannot respond appropriately, it may be the end of your business.
For example, in the modern age of social media marketing, where owners and CEOS can respond to consumer criticism and publish their thoughts at the click of a button or tap of a finger, many high-profile figures have gotten in trouble for tweeting first and thinking later.
Possibly the most famous case is that of Elon Musk. Some do not want to be associated with his brands at all because of his social media presence.
However, it must also be said that he has a loyal following due to that exact same polarizing social media presence.
Regardless, those in positions of power have countless decisions to make everyday. The ability to think critically is key for the future success of your enterprise.
When difficult decisions need to be made, it is a chance for true leaders to shine. Approach these trials as opportunities to build your leadership skills. The better of a critical thinker you are, the better of a leader you can be.
Prioritize Clear Communication
Unfortunately, almost all of us have had an experience exactly like this:
You have a specific question for someone on your team. You need information to complete a project. As a result, you sit through a whole meeting with them, an hour or more. After the hour meeting concludes, you still do not have the answer to that question.
Or, while some people are great at communicating in person, their writing skills are not that strong. In the new world of work, where remote and hybrid work is far more common, this can be highly stressful.
No one wants to exchange Slack messages or emails with a coworker all day and be no closer to solving the morning’s problem.
As a leader, it is critial to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a communicator. This way, you can harness your strengths appropriately and work on improving your weaknesses.
For example, say you are great at motivating people. You are a compelling speaker. This is an invaluable skill for a leader to have.
In order to do this effectively, you utilize empathy and listening skills: because you need to understand why someone is feeling down and what would improve their motivation. This will be different for different people.
However, perhaps you are not used to the world of digital work, and you feel like you lose focus trying to do the same virtually. Perhaps you cannot communicate as clearly via writing.
However, especially if you want to build influence, the ability to communicate clearly in your own voice via writing is a valuable skill. Whether you want to write a book, blog posts, tweets, or simply write an email, it can be invaluable.
In day-to-day internal communications, things will go a lot more smoothly if your team can understand your written communications.
This may be something to focus on.
Final Thoughts on Key Leadership Tips
Hopefully, these leadership tips can help you grow into the leader that you want to be! Remember, every person has their natural strengths and weaknesses.
The key is to use those critical thinking skills to take an objective look at what comes naturally to you and where you can improve.
For example, maybe you are naturally a gifted listener, but you lack assertiveness. In this case, you are poised to deeply understand your team, but you may not be prepared to set the boundaries necessary to lead them.
Or, maybe you have incredible passion and vision, but struggle to keep up with the grind of the daily little tasks that make a grand vision a reality. In this case, you may be unlikely to lead a team to accomplish the big goals.
Often, successful leadership is associated purely with ego and bravado. The truth is, a successful leader can objectively look at what they can and cannot do and make critical decisions to either improve these weaknesses or delegate the corresponding tasks.
If someone decides that they can do everything alone and need no one else, burnout is inevitable. If a business will scale, this is simply not sustainable.
Leaders work with others and guide them to get positive results. This is not easy to do!
What do you think? Comment below.
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