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How to become a better leader

26th January 2016 Print

What makes a good leader? Is it someone who demonstrates enthusiasm, confidence and insightfulness? Undoubtedly, and we also appreciate leaders who are steadfast, assertive and amenable to our suggestions. But what other tips and tricks do the best leaders already know? Here’s what might be missing from your leadership approach...

Know your strengths and weaknesses

First, start by understanding your own leadership style. A leadership quiz will prompt you to consider what your dominant characteristics are, highlighting your possible strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you’re already practising a great approach, but it’s worth checking that you’re not too aggressive or controlling when leading a team. What could do with some improvement? What qualities are you missing altogether? 

Give people your time and attention

A second way to become a better leader is to give members of your group your full attention. If you’re leading, it’s likely you’re juggling a lot – you’ll be focussed on the big goals and vision whilst having to keep an eye on the small, but important, details. Why not use HR software to free yourself from tasks that could be automated? Investing in technology could help you to use your time more wisely, meaning that you can be more available to your group to give them the input they require.

Be a positive role model

A significantly important part of being a good leader is being a positive role model. You can do this by exemplifying the characteristics you want to see in the people you’re leading, as well as maintaining a positive attitude, manner and tone. This doesn’t mean seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses, but it’s important not to underestimate the power of thinking positively: especially when things are going wrong! Remain confident, optimistic and unflustered, and you’ll find that your team will follow suit.

Another way to become a better leader is to make sure you’re demonstrating enthusiasm for the work you’re all doing. Ask yourself: would you look to someone for leadership and guidance if you didn’t truly believe they’re cared about the group or your goals? Of course not! Inspiring and motivating others starts with you demonstrating passion and commitment.

Share success

While leaders are responsible for the success and failures of a group, be careful not to ‘hog all the glory’ when things are going well. Instead, celebrate shared successes and individual victories, and offer rewards and recognition to team members whose actions are worthy of praise.

Practice good communication

Finally, keep the channels of communication open and make sure your team members feel comfortable approaching you. There are verbal and non verbal ways to express sincere interest, care and concern for group members. The best way to do this is to learn the skill of active listening (don’t just hear – consciously listen and remain non-judgemental) and be mindful that people could be embarrassed or reluctant to voice their opinions. Make it very clear that you value and encourage contributions from your group – it will make you a better leader!