Leadership is more than giving orders and delegating responsibility. To be a great leader, you not only have to guide your team, but also bring out the best in them
. This involves building their confidence, helping them grow and making sure they reach their potential as future business leaders. Being a leader that people want to follow also means inspiring loyalty, fostering engagement, and establishing open lines of communications. If you’re still not sure how to be a leader people want to follow, try implementing the following leadership tips:
Lead By Example
We hate to break it to you, but being in a position of authority doesn’t necessarily make you a leader worth following. But, if you show integrity in your daily life, do what you say you’ll do, listen to what your employees are saying, and lead by example, your team will take notice. You’ll not only earn their confidence, trust, and respect, but you'll also encourage them to show the same integrity.
Take The Initiative
Think back to when you were just starting out. Were you intimidated by your team leaders? People often are, and that intimidation is only intensified when the leader doesn’t reach out and attempt to create a nurturing atmosphere. Sure, an open door policy may
sound like a solution, but if your team is still intimidated or they don’t trust you to value their opinions, they’ll hesitate to take you up on it.
A great leader takes the initiative and makes contact, instead of making people come to him or her. This can be done with team meetings, but—for maximum success—make one-on-one time for your team members. Get to know them as individuals and really listen to what they have to say. Show them you actually care and try to understand their opinions not from your own point of reference, but from theirs. Make an effort to understand what makes your employees tick, what motivates them, and what’s important to them.
Ask For Feedback
Reaching out to your team lets them know you value and respect their opinions. Take this one step further by asking them to evaluate your performance and give feedback on the team’s direction. Let them know that you want to serve the team to the best of your ability, but you can’t do that without their help.
After all, they’re uniquely positioned to identify inefficiencies in the process. Plus, if there’s something you’re doing to hinder their progress, you need to know so you can make the adjustment. Beware—the truth may hurt, especially if you’re just learning how to be a great leader, but the feedback you’ll receive will be invaluable.
Put Success And Failure Into Perspective
Success should be celebrated, whether it’s an individual accomplishment or a win for the entire team. Even an occasional email acknowledging the completion of everyday tasks shows your team that you appreciate their work. Of course, larger successes should be brought to the attention of the entire team, maybe during the weekly meeting. You may even want to take the specific employee out for a celebratory lunch as kudos for a job well done.
Remember, the occasional failure is inevitable, and how you react to such failures is often more important than how you react to success. A pat on the back when you do something right is nice, but receiving genuine support in times of failure is even more comforting. Instead of getting angry or lecturing the team or individual, honor a hard-fought effort and use the failure as a teachable moment.
Look To The Future
Investing time and effort into providing training and support, actively listening and gathering feedback from your team, and assigning tasks designed to help them realize their potential and broaden their horizons. These just barely scratch the surface of how emerging managers can become the kind of leaders people want to follow. Got a leadership tip you want to share? Leave a comment below and let’s get the conversation going!