In any organization or institution, the junior members look up to the senior management to provide leadership and guidance to help advance and reach the ultimate goals of the organization. And for this to be possible, the leaders have to possess the right skills and leadership qualities, including assertiveness, adaptability, intelligence, conscientiousness, to name a few.
Certainly, anybody can be a leader, but being a transformational leader requires you to have the ability not only to understand but also encapsulate a particular set of values, attitudes and practices both in the workplace and in personal life. In any case, you have an obligation to set a compelling example that can inspire everybody around you.
While there are no pre-formulated ways of being a better leader, there are practical leadership tips you can adapt to become an effective leader in your organization:
Be a role model
Transformational leaders exemplify characteristics and behaviors they encourage in their followers. Ideally, good role models practice what they preach and continually work to build a good and credible image for themselves and the entire organization. To be a good role model, begin by adopting admirable and inspirational qualities and encourage your juniors to emulate them.
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.
Listen and communicate effectively
Leaders should know how to communicate effectively with group members; besides making sure you are heard and understood, learn to listen and provide positive criticism where necessary. When a leader is able to communicate their vision clearly, followers tend to feel motivated and ready to play their part in the organization.
Facilitating communication requires a leader to keep the lines of communication open at all times. They should also encourage members to make contributions that can help push the organization to the next level.
Exhibit a positive attitude
Having a positive attitude even in times of hardships goes a long way in instilling optimism in your followers. Conversely, appearing apathetic or discouraged in your approach to challenges can make your followers feel uninspired, which can take a toll on their productivity and, ultimately the success of the organization.
Keeping a positive attitude does not mean looking at things through rose-colored glasses; it only means being a source of hope when things don't look so good.
Leaders should encourage creativity in their organization to help their followers stretch their limits. There are several ways you can do this; for instance, you can offer new challenges and provide the necessary resources to help tackle them. Providing opportunities for growth is sure to bring out the creativity of the group members, which can work for individual as well as institutional benefit.
While encouraging creativity, be sure to offer support so that the followers are not discouraged by barriers that can inhibit the ability to reach their goals.
A good leader should strive to show passion and compassion; obviously, people want to look up to a leader who shows concern for the group and is always there to help them deal with complex issues. For example, be the first to compliment a good deed from one of your followers to let them know you appreciate their contributions.
In other words, avoid being a leader who is only there to see that tasks are completed on time; play an active role and be enthusiastic in your approach to issues pertaining to group members.
Motivate your followers
Followers who are motivated are more likely to push themselves to achieve organizational goals. As a leader, you should be able to raise the morale of your followers and encourage them to get into action by being passionate about goals, providing support to help them reach their goals, and offering recognition and rewards for accomplishments made. Without motivation, people lack the desire to work toward personal as well as organizational goals.
Encourage people to make contributions
Leaders who encourage their followers to actively contribute ideas and solutions tend to achieve success at a higher rate than those who suppress their juniors' contribution. In any case, research shows that using a democratic approach in an organization leads to greater commitment, an improvement in problem-solving skills, and improved productivity.
A good leader is able to seek the opinion of the junior members of the group to make more informed decisions as well as show them that their input matters and is valued.
Assess yourself regularly
For sure, leadership is an ever-changing process of learning, which means you have to keep refining your management style, skills, and your influence on the people you lead. Key questions to ask yourself to help make a self-assessment include:
• Do you provide the best example in terms of your character and demeanor?
• Do you do your best to help your followers 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 and consequently make adjustments to help improve your leadership qualities.
Keep trying new things
Being an effective leader is all about being attentive to the approaches that have yielded positive results in the past, while trying new things to bring fresh and viable ideas to the organization. It is important to learn from the past to help identify the areas you need to work on to ensure you can inspire and motivate your followers as their leader.
Leadership pitfalls to avoid
Being in a leadership position comes with numerous challenges that can greatly inhibit your success. Here are a few you need to take note of and avoid at all costs:
• Avoid micromanaging your followers; rather, provide guidance and help them develop
• Avoid using the power of your position; instead, provide coaching
• Avoid being ambiguous when communicating expectations
• Avoid making decisions that employees should be making
• Avoid withholding performance feedback
Ultimately, there is no pre-determined way to becoming a good leader. In fact, many successful leaders create their own style of coaching and fine-tune it as circumstances change. Create a template that suits you and your organization and one that allows you to adapt to situations.
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.