It goes without saying that good leadership is crucial to any successful business. But, what makes a good leader and how can someone develop themselves into a good leader if they already lack leadership attributes?
The answer does not lie in one specific attribute or skill. You see, there are multiple factors which contribute to good leadership and whether someone is naturally a good leader or not, anyone can train themselves to become a valuable leader.
Get To Talking
One of those factors contributing to good leadership is communication. Communication is one of the most crucial elements of leadership. Good communication skills need to be learned to effectively become an efficient leader or manager. When communication occurs, as a leader, you will be able to accurately convey your ideas and thoughts to those who work for you. In fact, simply being able to convey these things in the first place, much less accurately, puts you in the right direction for leadership. If employees have no idea what is on your mind, your leadership is going to falter. Employees are not typically mind readers.
If there is a problem a certain employee is experiencing, good communication can filter the problem out. You, as a leader, can dissect the problem and offer solutions in various ways.
Likewise, when good communication is present, helpful feedback on ideas given to employee can help you come up with new ideas which is overall beneficial to the company.
Get Something Moving
Motivation is another key variable that plays into good leadership. Employees tend to stagnate when motivation decreases and it will decrease, without proper motivation. Many leaders try to motivate the old-fashioned way through fear. (Do what I say or something bad will happen) This is not advisable, since it tends to only deliver short-term results and in most cases causes even less competent work due to resentment stemming from your fear tactics.
Instead, try adding challenges for employees. A fresh challenge always adds excitement and spawns creativity. Challenge your employees with tasks that may be slightly out of their range and let them at it! This increases motivation.
If they run into a snag, guide them towards a solution but don't offer the actual solution outright. Coach them into discovering the solution themselves. Once they have, their self-esteem will rise, thereby raising their motivation level.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Teamwork is always something to consider when striving to become a good leader. This means not only teaching your employees to work together but to become part of the team yourself.
Use others potential. Many times, an employee’s potential is wasted. A good leader recognizes his or her employees are more than just employees, they are people too. These people have lives outside of work where they have to make decisions on a daily basis, from how to deal with house payments, to car bills, to raising children, to uncountable tasks in everyday lives. Yet, at work, their decision making skills are not trusted enough to choose what type of toner needs to be ordered for a set of printers.
The point here is that employees need to be trusted to do more. A good leader doesn't manage every single detail. Use others potential to your benefit. You will find you have become a better leader as a result.
Back to School
As always, increasing your education and knowledge is definitely a good thing when trying to improve your leadership skills, but the school that really needs to be brought to attention here is the kind of school that you don't get a degree from.
Take the time to learn as much about your position of being a leader as possible. Take advantage of leadership training material to help develop your professional skills. Do some reading at the nearest bookstore. Attend seminars, workshops, webinars and other professional development events. Watch online videos by top leadership experts on YouTube and other sites. Talk to other leaders and see how they do things; exchange ideas.
The more you evaluate yourself, while continuously learning as much information on leadership as possible, the more influential and effective you will become.
Zachary T. Brown