Whether you are the head of a team of three people or a group of thirty, you’re a leader. People in your organization look to you for guidance and as a role model. Being an effective leader helps set the tone for the whole team and organization.
An effective leader typically combines widely-accepted leadership qualities, such as empathy, vision, and creativity. The most effective leaders are those who can use their qualities in different situations while bringing out the best in their teams.
Here are several steps you can take to become a more effective leader:
1. Set clear goals and objectives
To ensure that your team is successful, it’s important to establish clear, measurable goals. This will help everyone understand what is expected of them and help them work towards achieving those goals. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to communicate these goals and guide your team towards success.
2. Open to giving and receiving feedback
An effective leader gives constructive criticism and is also open to receiving feedback. Constructive criticism is not constantly telling your team members what they did wrong. It’s about telling them what they did right and how they can improve other areas that need correction. The same goes for receiving feedback. No one is perfect, and everyone can improve themselves, including leaders. A good leader must be open to hearing feedback and suggestions and willing to change when needed.
3. Be transparent with your team members
No one wants to be kept in the dark when working with a team. You should promote open and honest communication with your team members, whether you share good or bad news. Being transparent with them encourages them to approach you and let you know when any issues arise. If you have to tell them that another department is shutting down and the stability of your department is uncertain, tell them! They’ll appreciate hearing news from you, no matter how difficult, compared to rumors and unverified claims.
4. Encourage individual growth
As a leader, it is important to provide your team members with opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. When your team succeeds, you succeed as well. Encouraging and allowing your team to attend classes, seminars, and workshops can help them develop professionally and personally. By offering these growth opportunities, your team members will appreciate your leadership and view you as an effective leader.
5. Demonstrate empathy
Leaders with empathy understand the needs of their team members and can put themselves in their members’ shoes. This is why empathy is always listed as an essential leadership quality. If a leader cannot see the perspective of another person, they won’t have the ability to recognize the value that each member’s thoughts and opinions brings to the table. A leader with empathy is well-respected by their team, which helps motivate their team members to do their best.
6. Be objective
An effective leader is objective and does not take sides. They can understand different sides of a discussion and determine the best way to reach a set goal. For example, if two team members have differing opinions on how to market a product, an effective leader objectively listens to both sides and determines the best course to take based on facts and data. When a leader is consistently objective, team members know that all decisions are fair and not based on a leader’s personal opinions.
7. Show integrity and honesty
In order to be a successful leader, your team must respect you. This respect can be achieved by demonstrating your integrity and making decisions based on your values and beliefs. Good leaders believe in the principles of right and wrong and consistently follow what they believe to be right. They also keep their commitments, communicate openly, and are sincere when interacting with others.
8. Lead by example
To gain the trust and respect of your team as a leader, it’s important to lead by example. Show your team how you want them to behave. For example, if you expect them to work on weekends when necessary, do the same. Don’t expect them to come in for a few additional hours on Saturday when you’re busy playing golf. When your words and actions align, your team will trust you as a leader and follow your example.
Becoming an effective leader requires time and intentional effort. Simply being promoted to a team leader position does not automatically make you an effective leader. You must put in the work to demonstrate the traits we mentioned earlier and adjust your leadership style to fit the culture of your company and the dynamic of your team. No matter what kind of leadership role you are in, following the tips above can help you improve and become a better leader.