Great leaders are not made overnight. Developing leaders is not dependent on skills or natural charisma or both. Neither is it all about authority nor responsibility. The length of time invested is not a guarantee nor is youth a disability. A great leader is not measured by age, experience, position, scope of authority, or popularity. It takes so much more.
One leadership survey conducted among team members showed that the ability to connect with the team and a high emotional quotient are the most important competencies a leader must-have. Innovative leaders who come up with ideas or skilled leaders who have a solution for every problem are not the most desired of leaders. The study showed that leaders who motivate their team are the favorite. In short, leaders who make more leaders (not more followers) are ideal. Leaders and good mentors are essential for career growth. Team members need leaders and mentors who can drive their team to be better at what they do and make them better persons as well.
But it takes more than just a moving speech to motivate a team. It takes more than just constant mentoring to be considered a good leader. No, the highest academic degree does not have “leader” written all over it. Understand that it takes the right intentions — genuine concern for the team members, drive to win, and consistency — to become a good team leader. While there is no formula, there are ways that you can start doing today to become a better leader.
Listen and engage
Actively listening is crucial in every work environment, more so with leaders. Among the first steps to being a good leader is to realize that no one wants to hear you preach every day. You have to listen. Don’t just listen when a team member talks to you during a forum or a meeting. Go out of your way to actually understand what everyone thinks. Pull them to one side or talk about their insights over a cup of coffee to make the environment less intimidating. Talking and listening to your employees and team members will make them feel more valued. An open and collaborative discussion will also help build a level of trust, not to mention earn you valuable insights about the operations and the company as a whole.
Tell them your story
People want to know where you are coming from. Tell them your own story. Stories are relatable, interesting, and personal. When introducing yourself, try using a narrative to illustrate your style of leadership and management. When presenting the team goals and objectives, get their attention and keep them interested by telling a story. It could be your own story, someone else’s story, or a hypothetical one to show how to address problems and come up with solutions. Use storytelling to present daunting and complex projects and objectives in a simple and personal way. Storytelling will not only make team members care more, but it will also improve your conversational and problem-solving skills as a leader.
Be a mentor
No two employees are the same. Needs and dreams vary. Mentoring employees can help you become a good leader because you dare to be more precise, direct, and personal. You have to work with each one of the team members more internally. Give honest feedback regularly, get their insights, show them how to do things better, and constantly work with them. Mentoring shows that you are accessible and genuinely care about their personal and professional growth.
Be creative and try something new
There is some comfort in the consistent and the familiar. However, do not lose sight of new things and opportunities. Integrate new ideas in the way you work, in the team’s processes, and in your strategies. This shows that you are open to new ideas and will inspire team members to think, pitch, and be involved. Do this during one of your meetings and you will be surprised at the amount of creativity that your team actually has.
About the author
Anna Rodriguez is a manager and a passionate writer. She also has a varied background in real estate brokerage, investing, online marketing, and social media management. She owns Homey Guide Blog. Follow her at @annrodriguez021