A good leader is able to motivate and encourage employees to consistently deliver their best effort. The way you handle challenges yourself, how you interact with your team, and the behaviour you demonstrate on a daily basis will all shape how well your employees respect you as their leader.
A good leader inspires rather than commands
Leadership is very different from authority, and successfully leading a workplace team doesn’t involve commanding your employees. You can only become a good leader when you live up to the qualities you would like to see in your employees. If you can personally display a positive outlook, enthusiasm, and a tireless passion for your role, your team members are more likely to emulate these behaviours. If you aim to be inclusive, so that your staff feel their input is truly valued, they are much more likely to make a genuine effort to achieve company goals.
Understand your employees as individuals
Success in business is about more than numbers. Your people are your company’s best asset, and you need to spend time getting to know and understand your employees to recognise what matters to them. It’s an important starting point to determine the most effective ways to motivate, encourage and reward your team. Conversely, when your staff see that you genuinely care about them, they are more likely to regard you as their leader and not just a boss.
Open communication is critical
A good leader knows how to bring a group of people together to work as a cohesive team. Your ability to do this can hinge on how you communicate with your employees both one-on-one and as a group. By keeping lines of communication open, and listening to what your staff say, you encourage people to share ideas, explain any challenges they may be facing, and give them the confidence to suggest innovations that could enhance productivity.
Own your decisions
Decisiveness is a key quality of a good leader, and you need to be able to make decisions – and stand by them, even if they may be unpopular with your team. There may be times when you make mistakes but a good leader takes responsibility for their actions. Admit when you are wrong rather than trying to lay the blame elsewhere, and give credit where it is due when others achieve success.
Acknowledge and reward achievements
Inspiring employees isn’t always easy, but there are ways to galvanise your team that don’t involve giving motivational speeches. As human beings we all respond to praise and recognition, and it can be tremendously motivating for your staff when their accomplishments are recognised. Don’t just reward big achievements such as winning a new customer. Acknowledge small contributions too, such as a staff member who has worked back late to help a colleague. This will demonstrate to your team that you are aware of the contribution being made by each individual, and your employees will feel far more appreciated.
A good leader is on a continuous path of self-improvement. If you can commit to setting a good example and keeping your team informed, and if you understand that your team looks up to you as a positive role model, you will be on your way to developing the foundations of strong leadership.