How To Be a Successful Leader
Leaders are everywhere. From religious leaders to the heads of families, there will always be somebody who we look to for direction and guidance. For many of us, this leadership comes in the everyday form of a boss, but how many of us can say that we actually look up to our superiors in our workplace? Are the company leaders of today inspiring us or simply boring us? At StemX, we think that being a strong leader is essential – no matter who you are or what you do. So, we have put together our top tips on how to be the best leader you can possibly be.
Confidence over arrogance
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and this line is a dangerous one to cross. Crossing this line can significantly alter how someone perceives you; not many people look up to the leader who is arrogant, but confidence is an attribute that people can actually admire.
Being confident comes in many forms, from being strong-minded in the way that you hold/present yourself to having courage in your convictions. A confident leader is approachable, wants the best in their employees and sees potential in other people or situations. An arrogant person is not approachable, they are, instead, a little standoffish, which people struggle to confide in. Arrogant people fail to see potential or understanding in others, resulting in them becoming more self-involved than they probably should be. So, it goes without saying that no real leader should be arrogant.
A confident leader looks out for their own. An arrogant leader only has their own interests in mind. Being a good leader requires looking further than your own benefits to go out of your way to help others; a leader has to be a people kind of person. Who can really look up to the leader who enjoys belittling others rather than building them to be the best they can be? It’s a no-brainer.
Being inspiring and motivating
Part of being a good leader is having the ability to inspire and motivate others, no matter what. It’s being able to do this at all times, not just when it suits you. It’s having the capacity to inspire and motivate others despite what’s going on in your personal or work life – even if your workload is piling on top of you, it’s imperative that you are able to put personal issues aside to observe the bigger picture.
Inspiring others is easier than it may seem. It starts with enthusiasm and a genuine adoration for what you do and it ends by involving each team member in the process to achieve the end, collective goal. Employees need to feel inspired to be able to feel motivated, but motivation can always be helped with little nudges along the way. For example, congratulate your team when they’re doing well, and do this enough that they actually feel valued. Make them feel invaluable so that they feel they have a purpose in the workplace. Many companies are introducing schemes where staff get a ‘bonus’ in the form of a mini holiday, vouchers, outings and so on in return for excelled performances. If this is a little out of budget, introduce cake Friday (or even a cake Monday… what a revelation).
Having communication and listening skills
This one should be obvious, but it’s often these obvious factors which are easily overlooked. A strong leader needs their team to be able to confide in them – it’s all part of the process of growing together. For tasks to be completed accurately and efficiently, a leader has to be excellent at communicating. It doesn’t matter whether this is a one-on-one conversation or a whole office meeting, communication – along with confidence – are essential attributes of leadership.
Communication, however, isn’t just a verbal skill. It’s having strengths in written communication, too. Setting briefs, compiling presentations or even emails to clients demands high levels of communication so that everything flows and everything is understood. It’s the most simple form of connecting with other people, and when it comes to employees or a team, connecting is a must.
Equally, a good leader needs to be a strong listener. Listening to the ideas, the requirements or even the concerns of your team help to build a healthier environment and stronger relationships. Communicating and listening efficiently can help you and your team overcome conflicts and strive forwards together.
Being a team leader but also a team player
You might be the leader of a team, but this also makes you part of the team. In a way, this ties into the point of being confident over being arrogant. To lead your team in the best way possible, you have to open your mind to the bigger picture and focus on collective goals over personal goals. Allow your team to have their say, contribute ideas and even offer constructive criticism.
Being able to make rational decisions
People hope to look up to leaders in times of need. Hopefully, these needs in a workplace will never be that severe, however, it certainly helps to know that there is someone who is capable of making quick and rational decisions on the behalf of others. A good leader is headstrong with a determined mindset of where they want themselves, their team or their company to go. Sometimes, in order to get there, this will require some easy (or hard) but always imperative decision making.
Utilising delegation for the right reasons
The best leaders are those who can delegate efficiently. Delegating is when you pass over some work (and the paired responsibility that comes with it) to another member of your team (usually one who is less superior than you). There is, naturally, a right and a wrong way of delegating work, and it mainly lies in the reasoning behind it. If you delegate work because you are lazy or can’t be bothered, that makes you a poor leader. On the other hand, if you delegate work to better the completion of a project or to give another member of your team some added responsibility to help them grow and develop, you are a much stronger leader.
Wanting the best for your team
Following on from the last point, a good leader will want to better their team. This could be delegating work which can help broaden their knowledge and skill sets or it could even be holding weekly meetings where the team can throw around different ideas. It’s sensing potential in people and acting on it rather than dismissing it; it’s recognising individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and guiding them to improve on both. Wanting better for your team will help keep you all motivated to strive for better.