There is a common misconception that people are born leaders or are naturally proficient at leadership. While that may hold some truth, we must keep in mind that leadership is ultimately a skill and can be honed through meticulous focus and conscious efforts to inculcate desirable values. We will be looking at some of these values and how they can mould you into a more effective leader and thereby improving your workplace.
Lead To Serve, Not To Rule
Most new leaders are under the misconception that their position lends them supreme authority over their subordinates. This could not be more wrong, and this notion often creates “bad leaders”. The correct approach to leadership should not be to rule but to serve. A leader’s primary goal is to make work for the productive units in a team as conducive and efficient as possible, so it only makes sense that servitude of these units is the fastest way to get there. Listening to your employees is an essential aspect of becoming a servant leader. Your team members will have a LOT to tell you, provided you are willing to listen. This style of leadership fosters an environment in which team members are encouraged to learn and grow as they feel secure and empowered by a leader who would go to great lengths for them.
Having a strategy is very important when it comes to high-stakes management. Good leaders should always keep the future in mind while making decisions. It is your duty as a leader to foster innovation within your team by asking for feedback, ideas and areas of improvement. Over time, you will develop new norms through these innovative methods. These norms will help your team outperform its previous maximum potential. Another focus for leaders should be learning and skill development. You should do this to gain new insights into what can be improved and which parts of your team are lacking. Your skills and observations will trickle down to your team members and improve their efficiency as well. Think of it as leading by example, people who see their leader putting in active effort to learn more are far more likely to upskill themselves. And lastly, set ambitious but achievable goals to ensure that all the additional productivity translates into concrete results.
This ties in directly with the previous point but differs significantly. While being proactive is about ensuring that productivity and innovation are constantly improving, this is about having a larger vision for your company that you want to achieve. Everything you do should be aimed at achieving that vision. Having this vision will also give you a structure for your management ethos, and your new hires should align with this vision or set of values to be a good fit for the company. Thinking big often involves taking risks and trying new things. Good leaders understand that taking calculated risks is necessary for growth and development, and they are willing to embrace the uncertainty that comes with it. When leaders think big, they create a sense of purpose and drive among employees, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity.
Be Generous with Praise, Gratitude and Reward
When leaders praise and reward employees for their good work, it reinforces positive behaviour and productivity and encourages employees to continue performing at their highest possible level. This can help create a positive feedback loop where employees are motivated to maintain or improve their performance. Successful execution of this practice will create a positive feedback and productivity loop. This offers an exponential return on whatever little the manager has to give in terms of rewards. Humans being the social animals that they are, often do not even require monetary reward. Gratitude and praise alone can do a lot to create this positive loop. Managers can also foster deeper relationships between team members and a feeling of unity and shared purpose by recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts and team accomplishments.
Compassion Goes a Long Way
Compassion is a crucial trait in a leader because it promotes deeper connections, trust, and a more productive and happy work environment. Within a managerial context, compassion refers to a leader’s capacity to comprehend and empathise with their team members’ needs, concerns, and emotions. Compassion adds a certain degree of humanity to the workplace that is sorely needed in the modern corporate grind and it shows your employees that you care about their well-being beyond the walls of your workplace. This directly leads to higher employee retention and engagement through the trust and loyalty it fosters. When a leader takes the initiative to foster compassion within the company, it creates a culture of kindness, empathy and support which should ultimately be the standard all leaders should strive for.
Focus On Your Community
This last behaviour refers to building a community that not only produces results but is one that you can be proud of. Your community is a by-product of your employees but is also something that can be actively managed and moulded to your liking. You can promote and propagate your desired workplace culture by making hires that fit the culture you want. You can also set up leadership workshops and conferences. The end goal, as always, is to have a company culture in which people feel welcomed, included, and respected. A stressful culture is bound to have high employee turnover and burnout, regardless of pay. Remember, people leave managers, not companies.
To conclude, good leadership is about taking care of your people, making sure they perform well and that they feel good while doing it. Creating a positive and uplifting work environment is a laborious task but one which has immense return. Keep these rules in mind while carrying out your role and you’re on the right track to being an effective leader. Ultimately, leadership is about creating positive change and making a meaningful difference in the world around us.