Top tips to becoming a great leader
By: Claire, redwigwam
Is there such a thing as a perfect leader? Certainly, there are good leaders – they are usually well-balanced people who demonstrate appropriate, mindful behaviour. Being a great leader is hard work – perhaps a balancing act in getting the best out of your team and business.
So we thought we’d explore some top tips on going from a ‘good’ leader to a ‘great’ one!
There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM
Being a great leader means you are always thinking about your team – which means there’s no place to be selfish. When you are leading or supervising a small group, each action you take will affect everyone in the team – which is a big responsibility to have. A great leader has everyone’s best interests at heart – and will always think about what is best for the whole team, and the wider business.
Being a good listener is an essential leadership skill. Good ideas can come from anywhere in the business, so it’s important to allow your team to speak out – and listen when they do so.
If a member of your team has a suggestion which could generate better results or an idea to try something new, you should be open to the idea, share with the rest of the team, allow them to develop further, and take a genuine interest in the results.
Communication is key
Good communication skills are essential on all levels, but absolutely essential in a leadership role. You need to be able to communicate openly and honestly (another important trait!) with your team, and let them know they can do the same.
Creating a work environment which encourages your team to communicate with each other will help overcome any obstacles and problems. Good communication needs to be consistent too. Your team need to know what they can expect from you.
Being able to take responsibility for your own actions is another personal quality in a great leader. Everyone makes mistakes – and if you do, own up to it. By admitting your weaknesses, you can ask for help and work on them – and it will encourage your team to do the same. You will find your team have much more respect for you if you own your actions every time.
Be decisive & fair
There is nothing worse than a leader who won’t make a decision. Actions carried out by your team are largely at your say so, so you need to be decisive and firm. It’s important to think things through logically and thoroughly, thus allowing you to make an informed decision. Nobody will feel confident working under someone who dodges making important decisions or lacks confidence in what they have decided. Of course, it’s always OK to change your mind if something isn’t working out, and there’s a good business reason for it – but again you need to be clear and decisive on the reasons why.
To be a great leader, you also need to be fair. Which means no favourites within the team, no being dismissive of certain colleagues, and always treating every team member with equal respect.
Give credit where credit is due, and acknowledge a job well done amongst the team.
To be a great leader, you absolutely need to be passionate about what you do. You can’t turn up to work with no enthusiasm, no motivation and a genuine disinterest in your job. Your emotions will impact the rest of the team – demotivating them, or making them wish you weren’t there at all. Positivity breeds positivity, so if you demonstrate a sincere passion for what you’re setting out to do, your workplace will be a more pleasant environment and your team will be focused, driven and happy.
These qualities are by no means the only qualities it takes to become a great leader, but they are important ones.
Nobody becomes a great leader overnight, and nobody is born to be a leader. It takes years to perfect – years of commitment, determination, and practise.