Whether you are the CEO of your company or simply taking charge of one objective in a new business project, being a sound leader is critical. Leadership doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but thankfully, it doesn’t have to. One great example is in Author, Director, and Management Consultant, Peter Gasca. In a piece for The Entrepreneur, Peter admits his lack of natural leadership but credits his mentors and his ambition for new challenges as the root of his leadership growth. Being an introvert doesn’t make you a pushover or incapable of leadership. In fact, introverts are often better listeners than extroverts, which a key characteristic of leadership. Review the four simple priorities Peter recommends every aspiring leader set early in their career.
In this breakdown, we reveal three critical factors to becoming a better leader in the workplace:
If you exhibit an uplifting, optimistic spirit, others will follow suit. If you appear discouraged or disinterested, your team will become concerned and uninspired. Being vulnerable to your team does not make you weak, but rather a leader that employees will want to follow. Admitting when you’re wrong will cultivate respect from your peers and your employees by elevating a sense of accountability.
The most renowned leaders are great listeners who show a genuine interest in workplace conversations. Get ‘in the trenches’ and be a part of the team. When discussing long-term goals and analyzing the bigger picture, allow your employees to feel they are a part of the team as well. Be intentional in constructing a bond with them and occasionally discussing matters outside of work. Consider stepping outside your office and walking amongst your team members or employees, but do not micromanage or talk down to others. Instead, take a mentoring approach and seek out what’s best for their career development.
Trust Your Team
Have confidence in your subordinates, have faith in your peers, and encourage their involvement. As you begin to learn your employees’ skill-sets and strengths, you will know who to trust most in critical situations or with new projects. When you start trusting others, they will start trusting in you. Additionally, you will be offering them opportunities to grow and take on leadership responsibilities themselves.
When you invest in your employees, you will see individuals grow into more productive, engaged, and happy employees. Seek out feedback for new ways to garner motivation, reward employees, and become a more effective leader. Foster creativity in your team by challenging them in areas you believe they will excel. When an issue does arise, or a mistake occurs, always give your team the benefit of the doubt. Get to the root of the problem and do your part in ensuring the problem does not happen again.
“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” – Lisa Cash Hanson
Celebrate Others’ Wins
When you notice somebody is doing a good job, go beyond the ‘pat on the back.’ Acknowledge and honor them publicly. When they take a bold step in sharing a new idea or comment during a meeting, show your appreciation for their contributions. Hearing compliments of their work will not only provide a sense of accomplishment but will increase confidence, provide affirmation, and bring a sense of job security. The happier your employees are, the more productive and passionate they will become. Not much is better than happy and appreciative employees having your back.
Although it is important to celebrate others and have fun, you must also remember to stay assertive and hold your team accountable to gain respect. Don’t let your team get stationary. Your employees are relying on you to help keep their goals a priority. Lastly, when discussing an employee’s room for improvement or growth, do so privately to refrain from publicly embarrassing or belittling them.
What are your preconceived notions of quality leadership? Rid yourself of the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality. It is not about being the loudest in the room, the most-liked, or most recognized. Authentic leadership involves wanting the best out of your team and aspiring to see others grow. The best leaders aim to inspire, entrust, and keep morale high. It is not a quick and easy process, but you can lead your team to success through pure intentions and deliberate planning.