How To Be More Effective As A leader
Leadership skills have now been universally recognized as a key ingredient – some would say the key ingredient – in management but how do you become an effective leader? Is it possible to develop your own abilities as a leader? Let me answer that last question with a resounding YES. Here are some tips for anyone who is about to take up a team leadership role in any organization. But I hope that it will be equally useful for those already in such roles who wish to improve their basic leadership skills.
It is fundamental to successful leadership. It is a leader’s ability to define what he or she wants to create, and then dedicate energy and time to making it happen. Clear focus helps everyone get and stay on track. Prioritizing is an expression of clear focus. It is also about answering the question why as well as what. A boss may tell you what to do in a specific way, but a leader will explain or convey to you why as a first and important step on the road to your free and willing cooperation – the hallmark of all true leadership.
One way or another, leaders of winning teams must be able to effectively share their directives, insights, and feedback with the team. To communicate effectively one must first listen and understand. Basketball great Bill Russell has said, “Listening is an essential component of success. A team, whether it’s a sport team, a business, or a family, cannot function effectively unless everyone is prepared to drop the filters that get in the way of effective listening.”
Attention to Detail
Successful leaders demand an attention to detail. Thinking it over, a leader’s motivation to achieve a standard of excellence is what drives their attention to detail. Effective leaders want it done right. Effective leader insist that the way we do anything is the way we do everything, a practical and exacting leadership philosophy that nurtures both awareness and consistency.
Related post: How to improve attention to details at work
The Ability to Motivate
If communication is sister to leadership, then motivation is its brother. ‘Motivation’ comes from the Latin verb for ‘to move’. There is, of course, a variety of ways to move people: you can threaten them with punishments of one form or another, or induce them with financial rewards. Although motivating others in this way does fall within the compass of leadership as well as management, it is not characteristic of it.
Key principles for motivating others
- Be motivated yourself. If you are not fully committed and enthusiastic, how can you expect others to be?
- Select people who are highly motivated. It is not easy to motivate the unwilling. Choose those who have the seeds of high motivation within them.
- Set realistic and challenging targets. The better the team and its individual members, the more they will respond to objectives that stretch them, providing these are realistic.
- Remember that progress motivates. If you never give people feedback on how they are progressing, you will soon demotivate them.
- Provide fair rewards. Not easy. Do you reward the whole team, or each individual, or both? Either way, the perception of unfair rewards certainly works against motivation.
- Give recognition. This costs you nothing, but praise and recognition based upon performance are the oxygen of the human spirit.