Do you know someone in your life who is a excellent leader? Do you feel like excellent leaders are naturals, that they are made and not born? Are you having trouble figuring out if you are an excellent leader?
Well, not to worry! This article covers the main characteristics of what makes a excellent leader and hopefully, in-turn, help you become a excellent leader as well!
If you are reading this article, there’s a chance that you are currently in a leadership position or soon to be in a leadership position and you want to improve your leadership skills.
Leader vs. Manager
It’s important to know that there’s a big difference between a leader and a manager.
Managers set goals, deadlines, and demand performance quotas from team members.
Leaders inspire team members to want to do better, they encourage them and support them by investing time and training into their team. By doing this, they gain trust and love, as opposed to fear and loathing.
It is my experience that you can and will surpass the regulatory criteria that managers are adept to hold their team to by leaps and bounds. This can be done simply by changing your mindset from being a manager to being a leader.
“Unfortunately, most leaders are promoted because they are excellent at their job, not based on their leadership skills. To further complicate things they are often not trained to be a leader in their role. Instead of being responsible for completing the job, they are responsible for the people who do the job they used to do.” – Simon Sinek
That’s why there are so many managers and so few leaders. They micromanage their team because they think they are better trained to do their old job because that is why they got promoted. Do you know someone in this position? Are they stuck in manager mode? How did it feel to work with them?
A excellent Leader Actively Builds excellent Habits
In reality, leaders need to think of their previous job differently. Just because someone might be able to do it better doesn’t mean they should neglect the people trying to do it now. Saying you can do it better doesn’t change the fact that the job isn’t getting done correctly. Here are 5 steps you can do to improve your leadership skills and motivate your team. As you build these positive habits, I promise that you will find a change in yourself and your team.
Have Empathy and Perspective
Top companies understand they are competing against themselves not their competitors. If you treat your employees well, they will produce excellent work which will help your company succeed. Instead of treating your team based solely on their output which makes them feel insignificant, focus on how to help them thrive at your company.
Ask them what they need to succeed and take the time to listen to their problems and concerns so you can all grow together as a team.
This does not mean hand-holding your team members, however, it does mean being there to teach them to grow on their own.
The goal isn’t to make your team members dependent on your input, rather to give them the tools to figure it out on their own. At Elevare, we teach people at all skill levels how to research and how to figure out the best solution for our clients. Then, every team member becomes equipped to handle whatever comes their way. If they fail, our leaders are here not to punish, but to help them fix the issues and create a positive outcome.
Build Meaningful Connections
This leads us to the second point: Building meaningful connections. You might say this is the communication segment of being a leader.
How will you know what your team needs if you don’t know anything about them?
excellent leaders need to put in the time and effort in creating real and meaningful connections. It is said that Millennial team members in particular like to feel valued and appreciated. We believe all team members want to feel and should feel valued and appreciated.
In order to gain confidence and trust from your team, don’t just give them orders. Ask them for their input and work with them instead of above them. Learning about their personal lives, work history, and business goals will help you understand what motivates them and make you both feel more connected as a team.
You might discover you have a excellent leader in your team that will help launch your company to success! How will you know unless you get to know your team?
Motivate More Than You Delegate
A leader needs to take off the nametag of supervisor and envision themselves as a coach motivating their team to the finish line.
This is where the time you spend focusing on each of your team members one on one comes in handy. Now you can work with each member individually to design a career path based on their strengths, goals, and weaknesses.
You will also be able to ensure your team succeeds by pairing teammates together with varied skill sets so they can help and learn from each other.
In every person you hire, you have an opportunity to learn from them, just as they learn from you. Motivating people stimulates learning and collaboration at a much higher degree than demanding and punishing them.
This is not to say that deadlines are not important. They are called deadlines for a reason. I’ve found that a excellent leader meets deadlines more often by motivation than by fear of consequence.
Excellent Leaders Practice Accountability
Doing what they say they will and accepting responsibility for the team’s direction and success. Saying you could have done it better will get you and your team nowhere. Communicating accountability and hiring people who are responsible is also very important. Make sure to interview your potential team members well and establish ground rules and examples for accountability in your organization.
Leadership skills are just like any other skill, you have to learn and practice it every day to become excellent leader. It won’t be an overnight switch. It takes time and dedication.
This is where empathy and prospective come into play. Instead of yelling or blaming employees for mistakes, a good manager will step up and lead the team to the desired goal.
If your team is struggling to finish a project on time, or in the way you expected, work with them. Teach them. Most of all, get in the trenches with them if you know a project isn’t going the right way and show them what you are looking for. This will lead the project to a better path and help them understand future expectations.
Build Trust With Your Peers
Your team needs to trust you and in their job security in order to reach their full potential. It’s hard to expect expect your team to perform to their fullest potential when they are in constant fear of being laid off when they don’t meet an arbitrary goal.
A excellent leader realizes their team needs to feel safe in order to be vulnerable and admit they need help or communicate when they made a mistake. Only then can they learn how to fix the problem and grow from the experience.
Would you like going to work every day if you felt like at any moment, you would be on the chopping block?
People are inspired by leaders. Even leaders are inspired by other leaders. We were inspired to write this blog by Simon Sinek, one of the most compassionate leaders of our time. Watch his video below to learn more about what it takes to be a better leader.
Now that you’ve learned 5 steps of being a excellent leader, it’s time to put these tips into practice. Your team will perform better under a leader that they trust and feel comfortable working with. Practice empathy and perspective. Put in the time to learn more about your team and take accountability when mistakes are made. Be an active team player and support your team whenever they need.
Finally, remember this: Being a leader does not always mean you are the boss, it means that you are a role model in guiding your peers in a positive direction. You are part of the team, not better than the rest. Leaders are a very important part of building success within a company. They can affect culture, employee retention and fulfillment, company revenues and processes, client retention and more! Take it one step at a time, build excellent habits, and go make a positive difference in the lives of those around you!