Whether you’re a natural leader or finding yourself overwhelmed by a new leadership role, there are always ways to improve your leadership and management skills. Ultimately, good leadership takes practice, but there are a few things to consider that will help. Here are Safeguard’s top five tips for becoming a better leader:
1. Be humble.
The biggest turnoff for any supervisor or manager? Hubris. A manager who can’t admit when he or she is wrong, who takes the credit for a team’s work, or who refuses to listen to his or her employees is immediately disliked and discounted. But a manager who’s humble, who admits shortcomings, who shares the credit, and who listens is someone everyone can respect.
2. Find a good mentor.
Most effective leaders have a mentor with whom they meet regularly. A mentor is someone who has more experience and who willingly takes on the role of offering advice and assistance. Finding a mentor can be challenging because any mentor-mentee relationship takes time on both parts. But you cannot beat the value of solid mentorship, someone who can confirm your suspicions, critique your decisions, and offer support during difficult situations.
3. Encourage teamwork and creativity.
The best leaders see the potential in their employees and encourage that potential. This may mean setting aside times for brainstorming sessions, telling an individual employee he or she thrives in some capacity, or simply verbally acknowledging your commitment to teamwork and creative thinking.
4. Be your kind of leader
There are a lot of ideas floating around out there about what it means to be an effective leader. Most often, these ideas involve being someone gregarious and ambitious, someone who’s willing to take on responsibility and has a vision for a project. While this may be true, don’t forget that your greatest strengths are what make you an effective leader. If you aren’t the loudest voice in the room, that doesn’t mean you aren’t a leader. Play to your strengths! You may be the kind of leader who listens well, who enjoys informal meetings, or any number of things. As cliché as it sounds, it’s important to be yourself. Then, your greatest strengths will shine through.
5. Don’t be afraid to take a stand.
That said, one of the responsibilities of every great leader is to willingly take a stand, even when a position seems unpopular. If your staff isn’t working effectively, step in and say something. If a project isn’t going as desired, don’t be afraid to switch jobs around from employee to employee. Be kind and explanatory as you do, but don’t be afraid to shake things up when necessary.
Looking for more ideas?
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