9 Ways To Be A Better Leader

Do you ever feel that you’re experiencing a mini-mutiny all around you, or perhaps you’d like to see your team a bit happier? Learning new ways to effectively lead people will allow you to not only inspire your team, but it will make the people you are leading more productive. Doing it right will gain you respect that can last for a long time.  Here are some effective ways to be a better leader.

1. Listen

It’s not necessary for leaders to know everything about their business. It is important to seek input from the team. Teams are usually made up of people with varying skill levels and even different levels of intelligence. Always ask your team for input and listen to what they have to say. You may still be required to make any final decisions, but when you get your team involved, they will feel their ideas matter and will feel heard.  This creates a sense of pride in being part of the team.

2. Embrace Tough Decisions

A wise leader once said, “If everyone likes you all the time then you’re not doing your job.” Your team may not like every decision you make. This fact can often stop us in our tracks and prevent us from making the right decisions, or worse, no decisions at all. As long as you have viable reasons for making your decisions, you can use that to back them up if anyone challenges your decision.

3. Delegate Tasks to Team Members

Leaders often make the mistake of believing they have to do all of it themselves or try to manage everything. Sometimes it’s best to find a few members of your team who you can trust to carry out some of your daily or weekly functions. You will need to accept giving up some power, but on the other side you can hold those members accountable.

4. Admit When You’re Wrong

Everyone makes mistakes. Leaders are no different. When you make a mistake, be up front with your team about it and acknowledge it. They will respect this more than trying to cover up your mistake. The key is to use the mistake as a learning opportunity for the entire team.

5. Express Appreciation

When your team members do a good job, make sure you let them know about it. Appreciation goes a long way, and they will appreciate you back for it. You can make it a practice of recognizing a team member in meetings, or even spontaneously out in the open if you notice a team member who is going above and beyond. When you gain your team’s respect by actively showing appreciation, they will rally behind you and increase their productivity.

6. Be Willing to Roll Up Your Sleeves

Just because you are the leader does not mean you can’t lend a hand and pitch in now and then. Sometimes your team may need some extra help or guidance, and you should be ready to offer that to them. This does not mean that you make a habit of doing their work for them, but knowing they can count on you as a backup will make them feel supported.

7. Engage in Mentoring Team Members

Find ways to serve in a mentor role for your team. Helping team members become more successful helps the team as a whole. Offer ideas and techniques that not only support them in their career path but also helps the team achieve business objectives.

8. Socialize Outside of Work

When the team meets up after work for a gathering, be willing to participate if work rules allow. Your team wants to get to know you outside of the office and will want you to get to know about them and their lives as well. When possible, try to get the company to pick up the tab on occasion.  

9. Keep Meetings Short

We’ve all had the experience of losing an hour while attending a meeting that is too long or is sorely lacking an agenda. If you have to have meetings, make sure you keep them as short as you can. Your team is trying to get their work done, and they don’t need to be bogged down in long meetings.  Have an agenda and stick to it.

Steps You Can Take Now

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Attend the next after-work gathering of your team or schedule one yourself. Try to attend at least one per month. Recognize individual members of your team that are doing an excellent job and show appreciation for them. It can be as simple as thanking them for doing a great job. Commit to having your next meeting last no more than ½ hour to 45 minutes. Have an agenda and stick to it. Announce to the team of your intention of holding the meetings short.

 

Further Reading:

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You
Leadership: Theory and Practice
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others
The Leadership Challenge: How To Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

How would you describe your leadership style?  What have you found to work in leading a successful and happy team?  Please share your tips with us below.

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