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9 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader

By Ian Klaes

In any working environment in the world, team members look to their leader for guidance. Leaders are charged with helping the team achieve their goals and navigate difficult situations. But good leadership goes beyond hitting benchmarks. It also means earning the respect of your peers, being a positive influence, and helping others become great leaders, too.

And for this to be possible, leaders have to develop the right skills and qualities. Here are some practical leadership tips you can adapt to become an effective leader in your organization.

1. Be a good role model

Effective leaders exemplify the characteristics and behaviors that they encourage in their followers. They are a effective role models. They continually work to build a good and credible image for themselves and the entire organization.

To be a positive role model, identify admirable and inspirational qualities. Strive to exemplify those traits and encourage your team members to do the same. More importantly, avoid creating discrepancies that can cast doubt on your honesty as a leader. For example, don't preach work/life balance and set targets that seem to force employees to work long hours. 

2. Listen and communicate effectively 

Leaders should communicate effectively with team members. When a leader is able to communicate their vision clearly, then team members can more effectively execute that vision. They can also feel more motivated and ready to play their part in the organization.

But leaders should also be good listeners. They should listen to the team's problems, concerns, criticism. Leaders should be approachable and keep the lines of communication open. This open dialogue can help team members feel like they are in a safe space to share their ideas and input.

3. Exhibit a positive attitude 

Having a positive attitude even in times of hardships goes a long way in instilling optimism in your team members. Conversely, appearing apathetic or discouraged can cause others to feel deflated, negatively impacting productivity and morale.

Keeping a positive attitude does not mean looking at things through rose-colored glasses. It means being a source of hope when things don't look so good. It means offering fresh ideas and perspectives to overcome a challenge.

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4. Encourage creativity  

Leaders should encourage creativity in their organization to help team members stretch their limits. For instance, you could encourage a team member to take on a project that is outside of their comfort zone. Providing professional development opportunities can help inspire creativity. You could also host team brainstorming sessions or do team-building exercises.

A big part of helping others maintain creativity is making sure they have the tools and resources to succeed. They should also feel like its okay to make mistakes as part of the learning process.

5. Be passionate 

A good leader should strive to show passion and compassion. People will naturally respond positively to someone who has deep passion for what they are doing and compassion for their team. You can show this quality by being the first to show appreciation for your team and enthusiasm for projects you are working on.

Avoid being a leader who is only there to see that projects are carried over the finish line. Play an active role and be collaborative in your approach to issues pertaining to group members. No one should feel like they are inferior to you.

6. Motivate your followers 

Team members who are motivated are more likely to push themselves to achieve organizational goals. As a leader, raise the morale of your team. This requires you to know your team members and understand what their drive is.

For example, someone could be motivated by earning more money while another is motivated by being able to impact the community. One team member could respond well to group feedback while another prefers private, 1:1 feedback.

As you learn how to motivate each team member, you can help everyone become more passionate about their goals and appreciated for their work.

7. Encourage people to make contributions 

Leaders who encourage their team members to actively contribute ideas and solutions tend to achieve success at a higher rate than those who suppress contributions from others. Research shows that a democratic approach in an organization leads to greater commitment, better problem-solving skills, and improved productivity. 

A good leader seeks the opinions of the junior team members to make more informed decisions. This helps everyone feel like their input matters. However, if you choose not to follow a team member's advice, help them understand why. Otherwise, your asking for input can be viewed as a hollow gesture.

8. Assess yourself regularly  

Leadership is a constant learning process. You have to keep refining your management style, skills, and your influence on the people you lead.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself to assess your leadership skills:

• Do you provide the best example in terms of your character and demeanor? 

• Do you do your best to help your team members achieve personal and organizational goals? 

• Do you delegate tasks accordingly? 

• Do you allow others to make and learn from their mistakes? 

Conducting a self-assessment provides an opportunity to gauge your progress and capabilities. Then, you can make adjustments to help improve your leadership style.  

9. Keep trying new things

To be an effective leader, you will naturally have to try out a lot of different approaches. There's no one-size-fits-all leadership approach. Each situation will be unique and require different action.

As you implement different leadership techniques, try to observe how they were received. Did they yield positive results? Think of ways that you could improve for next time and then try it out! Don't be afraid to try something new if you think it could have a positive effect on your team.

Leadership Pitfalls

Being in a leadership position comes with numerous challenges that can greatly inhibit your success. Here are a few pitfalls to be aware of and avoid:

  • Avoid micromanaging your followers. Instead, provide guidance and help them develop their skills.
  • Avoid abusing the power of your position. Instead, coach your team members.
  • Avoid being ambiguous when communicating expectations. Instead, provide direction for execution.
  • Avoid making decisions that employees should be making. Instead, encourage employees to use their own autonomy.
  • Avoid withholding performance feedback. Instead, provide constant constructive feedback.

Ultimately, there is no one "right" way to becoming a good leader. In fact, many successful leaders create their own style of coaching and fine-tune it as circumstances change. But you can use these tips to guide you and adapt to your team's needs.

At Caring Senior Service, one of our primary goals is to help people become successful leaders in their capacities. Contact us to learn how you can improve your leadership qualities.  

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Tags: Franchise Ownership, Leadership