Every team could benefit from having a good leader. They set a great tone for the team and help everyone see things clearly. They are skilled at using resources creatively and help everyone do their jobs effectively. If you are the leader of a team and you are trying to be a good one, here are six tips to help improve yourself.
1. Understand Your Style of Leadership
In order to improve your skill, you need to have a rapier-like understanding of how you manifest that skill in the workplace. Your style of leadership refers to the ways by which you direct your team, keep them motivated and execute your plans. No two leaders have the exact same style and understanding, yours will take a fair amount of self-reflection and input from external parties. You need to know what your typical demeanor is like at work, how much praise you give versus how many critiques you typically offer, how open you are with your team, and more. Doing this helps you find out what your strengths are and where improvement is needed.
2. Strengthen Your Weaknesses
Having understood your style of leading, the next step you want to take is to improve upon the weaknesses you identified in the previous step. For instance, you may be great at creating plans but have challenges when it comes to managing the team to successfully follow through on them. Or you might be proficient at speaking to the team as a group but struggle with written communications. Whatever the weakness, you can read helpful material or take online courses in leadership to help you become a much better leader.
3. Become a Better Communicator
In some ways, leadership is a never-ending series of conversations between the leader and the team. If you cannot communicate properly, there is no way you will be able to effectively take your team in the direction it needs to go. Do you have excellent report writing skills but find it hard to speak out during the team meetings? Or do you do well in personal conversations but find it challenging to send an appropriate email? This is definitely one gap that you need to correct immediately. Fortunately, there are lots of courses in communication that you can register for at once.
4. Set Clear Goals and Work Towards Them
To become successful as a leader, you must have a goal that you have oriented your team towards and successfully overcome odds to achieve. Choose a worthwhile goal for your team to aim at and formulate a solid plan that your team will execute to meet the goal. Set meaningful benchmarks so that you can always check in to be sure that you are making adequate progress and can correct any errors that come about as quickly as possible. Create a methodology for tacking new challenges so that you can reduce the process to a repeatable system. Once you have reached a goal, aim at another one, continuously pushing forward to achieve meaningful goals that will give you and your employees a sense of pride.
5. Get Better at Making Decisions
Any team working towards a goal will encounter spots in the journey where decisions must be made. For these, they will usually look to the team-leader – you. As a leader, you will find that decision-making is a burden that must be carried properly and that the cost of making poor decisions is high. Your ability to make good-quality decisions under tough circumstances must constantly be sharpened so as to steer your team in the correct direction and avoid business catastrophes ahead.
6. Accept Failures and Learn From Them
No matter how skilled you become as a leader, you will never be immune to making mistakes. However, a true leader is not afraid of making mistakes. They recognize their errors and talk about them openly. They learn from those mistakes and work to collect them. They are willing to say to their team members, “I made this mistake and it caused this effect. How can I avoid repeating this mistake, going forward?” Being able to open up and learn from your mistakes conveys a powerful message to your team; it tells them that you are a leader that can constantly improve and encourages them to do the same. Of course, in order for you to actually accept failures, you must acknowledge the places where you are weak and need improvement. This ability to properly identify your weaknesses as a leader is adequately covered in one of the paragraphs above.
Leadership skill is something that can be learned and is not a talent that one must be born with. If you are willing to assess yourself, improve your weaknesses, learn to communicate and make better decisions, you will definitely become a more skilled leader.
Andrej Kovačević is a digital marketing expert, editor at TechLoot, and a contributing writer for a variety of other technology-focused online publications. He has covered the intersection of marketing and technology for several years and is pursuing an ongoing mission to share his expertise with business leaders and marketing professionals everywhere. Follow him on Twitter.