It does not matter whether you are in charge of a group of five people or 500, becoming a better leader is something everyone should strive to achieve. Being a good leader isn’t something that comes naturally. Admittedly, some people may be naturally better at it than others, but it is something that requires a lot of work too. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to start being a better leader today.
Address the hardest leadership challenges first – It can be very tempting to deal with the easiest tasks first in any job. After all, it’s nicer to get things off your desk and look like you are achieving more. However, when it comes to leadership, this is a big error. No matter whether it is a big tax change or you have noticed a troublemaker on your team, you need to deal with the hardest leadership challenges first.
Study other leaders – One of the best ways to become a better leader is to study other leaders. This does not need to be someone that operates in your industry. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a leader in the business sense. There are so many leaders we can draw upon for inspiration, from navy leaders, such as Leif Larsen, the most highly decorated allied naval officer of the Second World War, to royal leaders, for example, the ruler of the UAE Emirate Ras Al Khaimah, which is his Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qassimi. By studying prominent leaders, you can find out what approaches they used to achieve their results, and this is something you can adopt and modify to suit your own leadership style.
Reward creativity – One of the best qualities you can have as a leader is recognising hard work. This does not mean that you should reward mindless task completion, which is often the case. You should reward creativity. You should be rewarding your employees for working outside of the box, finishing early, thinking creatively, and finding workarounds. If you simply reward them for completing a task on time, this indicates that you don’t expect them to finish projects to the deadlines you have set.
Embrace project failures – It can be very easy to fly off the handle when a project failure occurs. The blame game begins, and you start letting everyone know how much they have messed up. Instead, what you should do is approach a project failure with a calm demeanour. Find out where you and your team have gone wrong, make sure everyone is aware of this, and put steps in place to avoid this from happening in the future. This is a much more productive approach to project failure. The last thing you want to do is create an environment whereby the only thing your team is worried about is failing.
Understand what your team members are doing – How do you expect to train others if you do not know the topic? How do you expect to pass criticism when you don’t really understand what your team members are doing? This does not mean you need to be an expert in everything, but you do need to have a decent understanding of what is entailed.
Adapt how you give negative feedback based on the person in question – Getting to know your team is so important if you are to be an effective leader. This is especially the case when it comes to delivering negative feedback. People take bad comments differently. Some people need stern words so that they can refocus on be better. For others, this is the worst thing you can do; you need to be supportive and encourage them to be better. This highlights why you should never rush into giving negative feedback. You need to have a careful and considered approach. Take some time to think about it.
If you follow the steps that have been provided above, there is no doubt about it: you will be well on your way to becoming a better leader. As mentioned in the introduction, this is something that you continuously need to work on. A good leader is not someone that remains stagnant in his or her position. They are always looking for ways to improve and better themselves.