Leadership does not need to be a mysterious process, nor does its successful practice have to rely on charisma. Integrating the following habits into your leadership style will help you become the best leader you can be.
Become a True Team
Our society emphasizes individuality. It is not a surprise, then, that most organizations manage their staff by assigning goals and giving feedback on an individual, one-on-one basis. This can be a handicap, however. One of the greatest goals of an organization should be synergy, creating a system where the sum is greater than its parts. And because organizations succeed or fail together, it is critical to pay attention to collective performance, not just the individual.
The key to developing a genuine sense of “we” among your employees is open and effective communication, and not in the sense of endless meetings. Instead, remain open to suggestions and concerns, ask thoughtful questions, and offer support to every person on your team. Share credit and express gratitude for the difference they are making.
To promote teamwork, establish team values and goals, and offer feedback on overall team performance. If you train your team members to understand and appreciate how each role promotes the team goals, they will be more likely to make decisions that benefit the organization as a whole rather than their individual department.
Earning loyalty with authenticity
Loyalty is most readily inspired when leaders spurn superficiality in favor of authenticity. Pursue goals that have integrity, practice solid values, create respectful relationships, and ensure that success involves positive outcomes for all participants.
Save Time for Big-Picture Thinking
Successful leaders have both an inspiring vision and a clear vision for how to get there. But even if you have taken the time at the outset to think these steps through, it’s easy for a leader’s attention to be diverted by a million small, operational details that demand his or her attention. To stay on track and relevant in today’s changing business environment, it is important not to forget to step back and take stock — not once but over and over. Always take the time to consider alternatives, understand the underlying principles involved, ask yourself the critical, higher-level questions, and determine the best course of action. If you often find there are simply too many other things to do, try setting aside a regular time in your schedule just for thinking. For even better results. write down your thoughts or bounce them off someone else!
Keep Up the Energy
At the end of the day, many employees are only prepared to put in a certain amount of work. To inspire their very best effort, a leader must capture their hearts with a shared vision. When the going gets tough, a good leader energizes his team to overcome any feelings of self-doubt and anxiety by involving them in a larger vision.
Pay Attention to Failure
Harvard Business Review author, R.M Kanter wrote, “The difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.” No matter what, you will sometimes fail, just like all the best leaders have. The trick is to recognize failure early, then reflect on the causes without blaming yourself or your team. Take the energy from anger or frustration and re-tool, re-direct, apologize where necessary and move on with confidence to be stronger than ever.
Most importantly, never stop learning how to be a better leader! Here’s another resource on good leadership practices.