Most of us strive to be a strong leader that constantly improves and drives results.
If you’re in a leadership role, you can share the same goal; however, it’s important to keep in mind that you should strive to be a driven team leader that helps everyone achieve specific goals.
Your leadership style sets the tone of the company, and your team’s future success relies heavily on how you interact with your employees.
Employees are more than cogs in the company machine; they are also results-focused leaders of their respective roles, seeking to collaborate and create relationships with others. You cannot produce results without incorporating your employees or instilling leadership qualities in them as well.
Follow these four leadership practices to improve your leadership skills and to be the type of leader that helps everyone achieve results.
1. Employ Effective Communication
As a team leader, you should be clear with your direction and strategy from day one. Leaders who do not communicate clearly risk confused and dissatisfied employees. If your employees understand and follow your strategies, you will have a much more engaged team.
In the same vein, you should be able to communicate your goals and opinions clearly across any medium – whether it’s in a one-on-one meeting, a team meeting, or over email. Regardless of the medium, you want your team to be able to resonate with your message and act on it.
“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
– Gilbert Amelio, President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp
2. Be Open to Personal Growth
If a leader does not accept feedback, employees will not speak up, and problems will arise.
Employees value leaders who give and receive advice. In fact, 65% of employees want more feedback. A leader should be coachable and let their employees know their voice is heard.
Your employees will respect you, stand by your decisions, and warn you if you are about to make a mistake.
“The biggest distinction of a leader who serves others versus themselves is the ability to listen. When you listen, you hear people’s objections, anxieties, and fears — and you also hear the solutions.”
– Cheryl Bachelder, Former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
3. Demonstrate Interest in Others
Take time out of your day to build meaningful relationships. Demonstrate interest in your employees, your customers, and others in your industry.
Small gestures are more meaningful than one may think. A simple five-minute conversation may not have a huge significance on yourself, but it could give someone else the confidence or inspiration he or she needed.
If you work together to build new skills within your company and give your employees the right resources, you will create a more positive, successful work environment.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
– Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric
4. Be Vulnerable and Inspire Trust
Vulnerability is often implied to be a weakness; however, it is the first step to building trust. Leaders and employees with a foundation of trust will learn each other’s faults and failures, which will further promote a productive culture.
A leader who is trusted will not have to worry about drama or stress because employees will not question intention or feel manipulated.
“I always tell our people that they’re entitled to get answers to every question they have. … That doesn’t mean they’re going to like the answers. But it’s going to be truthful, and I know they can deal with the truth. This might create additional questions, but we’ll get through them. And we do.”
– Ray Davis, CEO of Umpqua Bank
The ability to produce results starts at the top, but it is impossible without your employees.
An effective leader can drive change while also building a company culture entrenched in meaningful relationships.
Remember that you are the leader of a team and each member is integral. As a leader, keep your team engaged and strive to turn each of them into leaders, and you will find it a lot easier to reach your overall goals.