A great leader is somebody who inspires people to have confidence in themselves, according to Eleanor Roosevelt. However, it’s impossible to say that becoming a great leader is an easy task. While some people are better leaders than others, all the best leaders in the world know that their leadership skills are something that they need to consistently work on and improve in order to continue getting the best results for themselves and the teams that they are in charge of. If you feel that your leadership skills could use some work, the good news is that there are several strategies you can use to improve yourself as a leader with the right dedication and commitment to improving yourself.
If you are a small business owner, manager, or in another leadership position in your place of work, the ability to successfully guide your team through all the ups and downs that they are going to face, while earning their respect and being able to build strong relationships with your team, can be more challenging than you might realize. For business owners in particular, leadership can be one of the main aspects that they overlook, instead getting caught up in areas like developing their service or product, working through financial issues, brand advertisement and promotion, and increasing sales. While all of this is important and even essential, it can fall flat if you don’t dedicate enough time to becoming a better leader to your team and inspiring others to help you guide your business towards success.
The good news is that developing your leadership skills doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to become a better leader in any environment.
Focus on Improving Yourself
A good leader will put their own improvement first and foremost, before they focus on helping their team improve. Improving your own leadership skills means that it’s likely your team will naturally follow as you are able to provide them with better support and advice and generally become a more inspiring leader that instils confidence in his or her team. One good way to improve yourself is to consider boosting your education with an online masters in leadership from SBU. An online degree that focuses on helping you become a better leader is something that you can do alongside running your business or working in a management role, with access to flexible online classes that you can take from home or the office. You’ll learn skills that you can apply to your work in real time, whether you’re focusing on putting together the best team for your start-up or figuring out how to help teams work together more effectively for your employer.
Put the Right Teams Together
Whether you are working to get your startup off the ground or want to improve operations for a business, one of the most important things to focus on is making sure that your team is made up of individuals who are dedicated to improving the business. This is especially true if you are in the process of starting your own company, since the people that work for you will play a large part in how well you can reach your goals and achieve the success that you want. A good business leader is somebody who understands the importance of making the right hiring decisions. When hiring, don’t just think about the needs of your company in the present moment; it’s also important to consider the future and whether or not the people that you are interviewing are going to continue to be a good fit for your business as it grows and develops over time. A good leader also understands that while hiring dedicated and committed employees is crucial to success, they need to give their teams something worthwhile dedicating themselves to. After all, nobody is going to be as dedicated to the business as the owner.
Improve Your Communication Skills
One of the simplest and most effective things that you can do to become a better leader is to work on communicating with others in a more effective way. Even the most skilled, confident and dedicated of business professionals are unlikely to be satisfied and motivated at work if they are dealing with a lack of communication. Failing to communicate well with your team can lead to a huge range of problems including disengagement dissatisfaction, and dwindling productivity, all of which mean it has a larger knock-on effect on the business as a whole than you might realize.
A good leader would rather use overcommunication than risk not communicating well. Along with working to get better at getting your point across clearly and improving your active listening skills, consider communicating with your team as much as possible, in the form of regular updates so that you can share the latest developments with employees, a short get-together each morning before work to ensure that everybody is up to date with their progress, and checking in regularly with team members to see how they are doing and to find out if there is anything that they would like to talk about with you.
When you are running a small business, it can be all too easy to run things based on assumptions. These could be bad or good assumptions, but if they are wrong, they can be damaging. For example, you might assume that your team fully understands the goals and missions of the business, which is great if they do, but if they have misunderstood something that does not get the chance to be corrected, this could lead to serious issues further down the line. Another area where a good leader will avoid making assumptions is when it comes to performance. From time to time, almost all professionals are going to have a bad day, or even a bad week. Assuming that your team member is simply lazy or no longer putting in the effort in is only going to cause a rift between you if they are actually dealing with something in their life that’s causing a drop in focus and productivity at work. This is a situation where your efforts to improve your communication skills and check in with your employees will come in handy. Before you make any assumptions, find out what’s really going on, and work together with your team to improve the situation.
Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
A good leader knows that they are never going to achieve perfection when it comes to every single thing that they do. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses is a sure sign of an effective leader. Teams are more likely to respect somebody who is able to hold up their hands and say that they’re not sure about something as it’s not their strong point. Along with this, knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie can make it much easier for you to make better decisions when it comes to deciding the areas where you might need more help and support. Being honest about your strong points and weak points is especially true for entrepreneurs. When you’re running your own business, it can certainly be tempting to try and do everything yourself, but the truth is that there’s a lot that goes into running a business, and no one person can be good at it all.
Take Care of Yourself Mentally
When you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and burned out, it can be all too easy to end up taking this out on your team, leaving them feeling demotivated and damaging the relationships that you have with them in the process. Leadership positions often mean that you’re bearing the brunt of anything that goes wrong, along with managing processes and operations, ensuring that clients are satisfied and dealing with team problems, so it’s not surprising that for many people, the stress can get on top of them. However, a good leader understands that it’s nobody else’s responsibility to manage their stress levels for them. Reaching out to your team to ask them to support and understand you while you’re going through a stressful experience is good communication, but a good leader understands that they need to be proactive when it comes to taking care of themselves mentally and ensuring that they are always ready to handle the stresses and strains of the job without impacting everybody else.
Believe in Your Team
Finally, a good leader is somebody who believes in and trusts in their team. Micromanagers never make good leaders because they are simply too insecure to create the atmosphere of confidence that is needed for a team to perform together at its best. If you find yourself distrusting members of your team who have never given you a reason to do so, it’s important to ask yourself why you feel that way. The more confidence in your team that you demonstrate, the more confident they will become in themselves.
Whether you’re running a business, managing a department, or working in a leadership role anywhere else, developing better leadership skills will help you inspire your team to get better results.