Don’t manage, lead. There’s a big difference between a manager and a leader. Managers maximize productivity and work on the day to day. Leaders inspire and raise the company up with vision. It’s big picture stuff. If you spend too much time managing, you’ll never be able to show yourself as a leader to your company.
Great leaders should always strive to set a good example. If you want your employees to be honest, you must be honest as well. If you want your employees to show respect to each other, you must respect them. When people see you acting a certain way in a leadership role, it helps them to better understand how and why those characteristics are important to the organization.
Leadership does mean creating mindless followers. It instead means fostering an environment where people can cultivate their own strengths, then use them for the greater good. As a leader, you do not want your team members to be dependent on you for their strength or their inspiration. You want them to bring those things to the table and allow them to be guided by your leadership skills.
As a leader it is your responsibility to identify the highest performing workers and ensure that the company retains their valuable talents. Look for ways to reward their performance. This can take the form of additional compensation, a bonus, special recognition or additional freedom or responsibilities in their daily work.
As a leader, you must have confidence. This will, in turn, instill confidence in your team. If your team sees you doubt yourself, they will begin to doubt you too. Always act deliberately and do not waver, but do not be afraid to change your mind. A good leader is flexible.
When trying to be a good leader, it’s important to be truthful about the situation. If something isn’t working out as planned, let your team know. If you need to change something, tell them. Your team needs to know what is going on, whether it be good news or bad.
Get to know the truly talented performers underneath you. Great employees are hard to come by, and harder to keep. Learn what their personal ambitions are in life. The more you are able to synergize their dreams with your business’ goals, the longer you can retain them and their productivity.
Get to know each of your employees one-on-one within the business environment. Find out what they like about their job, what they don’t like and the things they would change. Try to check in with every employee periodically. These one-on-one meetings should be informal and you should not be threatening when you spend this time with your employees.
Business is changing constantly so be open to new ideas. Even though something has always worked well in the past, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to get the job done. Be open to innovative ideas. You can try new methods on a small scale before implementing them company wide.
If you must give criticism, do so constructively and in private. Every member of the staff doesn’t need to know about every mistake that is made. Being singled out in a crowd in this way is embarrassing. On the other hand, give compliments publicly. This not only build individual confidence, it lets others see that hard work is appreciated and rewarded.