Leadership is not an easy job. Many aspiring leaders tend to go on to become a dictator instead of becoming a leader who is revered by all. Anyone can be a leader — whatever their position or role — if they display leadership characteristics and take leader-like actions.
Listed below are some tips that can help an aspiring leader be better at her job.
No need to customise your management style for everyone
We all know that in leadership, one size doesn’t fit all. But that does not mean that a leader has to customise her leadership skills for everyone.
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Some people assume that an “open door policy” is essential for a leader to personally manage each person on his or her team, but constant disruptions can detract from your own work. Instead, make yourself available to your direct reports when it’s also convenient for you by setting parameters — whether it’s regular “office hours” or a standing weekly one-on-one where each member of your team can share what’s on his or her mind and solicit feedback from you.
Being a star performer is just one facet of being a leader
It is important a leader be good at her job so that it is easier to understand the job’s functional problems. However, being good at the work of your job is just one part of leading others: To succeed as a leader, you have to develop people management skills, such as adaptability, communication, negotiation and a willingness to collaborate.
If soft skills are not your strong suit, seek out coaching and training to help you on this front.
Communicate your preferences clearly to your employees
It’s never too late to share with your team nuances such as whether you prefer longer or shorter emails, or daily or weekly updates. The important thing is to teach people how to report to you. Smart leaders also know this can be a two-way street: Finding out your employees’ communication and work style preferences can enhance your working relationship all around.
Being honest about your tough times
You’ll be more approachable as a leader if you’re willing to share your tough times -i.e., your human-ness – with your team. Your employees will relate to you more and might even consider your struggle against all odds as an inspiration for them.
Mentoring is not always necessary
Busy professionals often find it challenging to create time for “traditional” mentoring, where you regularly take a mentee to coffee or lunch to help with the younger colleague’s career. However, one can opt for “reverse mentoring” or “reciprocal mentoring,” where a junior person gains professional etiquette insights from his more experienced counterpart. Leaders are always learning, even when they are providing advice to others.
Not being an effective leader might cost you talented and good people and this might, in turn, affect your business. Thus, it is important to brush up on the leadership skills and strive to become someone everyone looks up to.
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