The best leaders create leaders, not followers.
While each person’s leadership style is distinct, true leaders stand by their own sincere, clearly defined sense of purpose.
Becoming and staying a sound leader doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice and determination. Check your leadership habits against the following ten key points:
1. Lead by example
People look to you for guidance and strength, especially in difficult times. Your values, commitment, energy and attitude are contagious, just make sure that’s a good thing. When you stand by your principles, your team will, too.
Effective communication is leadership. Talking is not the same as communicating. When your employees come to you with an idea or issue, make sure you actively listen to them and think before you react. Be authentic, be credible, be trustworthy.
Look for opportunities to get other people involved in projects at work. Bring new employees together to get new results. There is immense value in bringing your team together. Collaboration challenges people to think and articulate their visions, often generating new approaches and richer ideas.
Leaders don’t try to be everywhere at once. Let your employees take on new things and free up space on your desk so you can focus on the tasks only a leader can do. It also shows trust and confidence in other people’s abilities.
5. Never stop learning
Knowledge is power. Aside from keeping things fresh to sustain your professional creativity and passion, learning also keeps you relevant in our dynamic and ever-changing world. Leaders ask questions and they listen everywhere, bringing each person’s unique perspective to the table.
6. Build trust
Show your employees that you have their back. Demonstrate that you have the competence and the character to be trusted. As Covey says, ‘business moves at the speed of trust.’
7. Be passionate
Passion constantly inspires others and is a trait you can’t fake. Talk about why the work has meaning. Put the purpose before your personality. People want their work to contribute to something meaningful. Show them what that is.
8. Know your limits
We all want to succeed, so we push our limits. But strong leaders know their limits and in honouring them, give others permission to do the same. As a leader, if you’re burning yourself out, you’re probably burning others out, too.
Motivation has three components, mastery, autonomy and purpose. Help people become masters at their trade. As they do, give them the authority to make appropriate decisions and apply this to meaningful work. If you get this right, they will rush into work in the morning.
10. Prioritize your immediate team
Invest one-on-one time with your employees to build individual relationships and make sure they feel heard and understood. Your people are your responsibility, and their success is your success. Remember, leaders get the employees they deserve.
In the end, successful leaders achieve because they understand themselves and others. True leadership is not about perfection, it’s about credibility, character, communication, consistency and purpose.