It can be difficult being an effective leader when you have to juggle being connected with your team as well as the more natural focus on running processes, achieving outcomes and making things happen. Being an effective leader means thinking and behaving in a different way, especially when interacting with other people. However, if you work on this, it will become an unconscious habit that will substantially improve your personal leadership style.
These three tips, adapted from an excellent Inc article by Gordon Tredgold, will help you become an effective leader.
1: Build authentic relationships with your team
Not building authentic relationships with your team is an attractive option for many business leaders. After all authentic relationships take time and mental energy to build and then make managing with discipline much harder.
However, whilst there might be some truth to that, avoiding authentic relationships will definitely hurt your business in other ways.
In fact the most important thing you can do is get to know your people better. The closer you get and the more you build a common mission, vision, and friendship, the more you can accomplish great things together and harness the power of momentum.
On the other hand, if you don’t build meaningful relationships with your team, it increases the chance of them becoming disengaged which lessens morale and productivity and potentially increases the dislocation of people leaving.
The key here is the care factor –you don’t have to or indeed want to be best friends with your team but you do have to care about them and show that you care.
2: Have greater expectations for yourself than your team
If you want to run an exceptional business, you need exceptional people and the first step in employing exceptional people is helping your current employees become the best they can be.
This means you empower them, enable them and keep them accountable to achieving and surpassing their learning goals and output.
However that accountability loses credibility and respect pretty quickly if you’re not holding yourself to similar standards.
Espousing ‘Do what I say not do what I do’ doesn’t work in the modern world.
The worst habit a leader can have is not recognizing that your company can only grow as much as you — the leader — grows. If your company is growing financially and you’re bringing on more employees, but you haven’t invested in your own growth as a leader, then the company will sooner or later outgrow your leadership abilities.
Ignoring your own growth as a leader can kill your company, pollute your culture, and drive away your best team members
Of course, you need to challenge your employees to new standards of excellence, but only so far as you do the same to yourself.
Nothing will create a bitter taste in your company’s culture — or completely destroy your business — faster than asking your employees to go somewhere that you’re not willing to go.
3: Connect with other leaders inside and outside your organization
When performance ratings come knocking, when bonuses are being considered, or when your business expands to new areas, ducking down with your team on the front line is absolutely necessary.
Successful leaders know they can’t choose to be alone or make decisions in isolation. However this happens often in larger organizations where the leaders break off into silos and work independently of each other. This creates a work culture where teams are compartmentalized and one department has no idea what the other department is doing. On the other hand, when teams and leaders are lifting each other up together, it drives change, differentiation, and massive growth within an organization.
There’s a time to duck your head and focus on production. But for the better part of the year, you should be strategizing with other team leaders to create synergy around the same goal and company mission.
Similarly network with leaders from other organizations and learn from their experiences challenges and opportunities. This leads on from Point 2 that as a leader it is vital to continue learning and growing.
For more on being an effective leader contact Mental Toughness Partners.