Being in a position to lead is a great place to be, but it comes with challenges. Sometimes, it’s difficult to manage our days, let alone an entire team's schedules.
Nevertheless, you keep pushing forward hoping your leadership is effective for your team. If you’re in need of a leadership refresher or are simply seeking some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of nine best practices to become the best leader you can be.
1) Build a solid relationship with your team members. Dare to get to know your employees for who they are, not just what they bring to the professional table. Be genuinely interested in getting to know them; find out about their hobbies, their family, and their life outside the office. When you develop healthy relationships, even friendships, with your team members, they will trust, respect, and be loyal to you.
2) Don’t be a control freak. Nobody likes to be micro-managed. You’ve selected your employees for a reason, so let them do their job. Sometimes, you just need to learn when to let go and hold your employees accountable. More than likely, you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
3) Disrupt the norm. Think outside-the-box and don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’re innovative and inventive, your team will be too. Take risks and try ideas that might not work, this is a great principle to instill in your team. Treat every mistake and failure as an opportunity to grow. Be a disruptive leader!
4) Create a collaborative culture. Encourage your team to put their heads together and collaborate often. Not only is collaboration a great way to learn, but also it’s important to generate a support system for your team members. When each member contributes and helps each other to work toward mutual goals, it makes leading the team easier because it functions better.
5) Advocate for ongoing learning. Training and learning should be strongly encouraged throughout every employee’s career. Promote ongoing training and professional development not only for your team but yourself. Nobody knows everything, which is why it’s important to integrate ongoing learning into your team’s collective goals.
6) Be transparent. Being open, honest, and direct with your team members is the best way to earn their trust and respect. Create an environment of open communication, in which your employees can feel free to express concerns, share ideas, or even disagree with you. The more comfortable your work environment, the more innovation, and creativity exudes from your team.
7) Be compassionate and respectful. You’ve heard the golden rule for many years, and it still applies today. Treat others the way you want to be treated! Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you can be disrespectful or arrogant. Be empathetic, understanding, and respectful of your employees, and they’ll be the same for their coworkers. Somewhere between an arrogant boss and a pushover lives a strong and supportive leader.
8) Adapt to change. The only certainty in life is uncertainty; we’ve all heard it. Change is inevitable. Learn how to cope with it and keep a strong demeanor for your employees. Be adaptable, think on your feet, and use your outside-the-box thinking from bullet #3 to seamlessly deal with change.
9) Be confident to lead any employee. If you’re a young leader working with an older team or an older leader working with some young professionals, don’t be intimidated. You’re the leader for a reason, so be confident to lead no matter who your team members are. It’s important to make an attempt to understand the point of view of your team members to relate better to them.
Your employees will be more loyal, more productive and easier to get along with when they have a passionate, confident leader.
"20 Leadership Experts Share Their Best Leadership Tip" by John Brandon, Inc.com; "Leadership is About Emotion" by Meghan Biro, forbes.com; "10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader" by Carly Okyle, entrepreneur.com.