Efficient leaders are made, not born, and can be defined by a certain set of skills and qualities. Not all leaders are the same and they often have different strengths and personalities, but there are certain overall traits and skills that all leaders have at their core. Developing these qualities and traits takes a long time, but if you start with the fundamental basics outlined below, you’ll grow into your own style of leader in time.
This post contains 8 proven leadership strategies that are working GREAT right now.
Let’s get started!
1. Lead by example
The most important aspect of a leader is to lead by example. People don’t usually tend to respect managers who ask them to do something they’re not willing to do themselves. Another common mistake managers make is asking their employees to come to work early for a meeting and then they themselves show up late. A good leader, on the other hand, sets the example they expect others to follow. You can’t expect your team to be hard workers if you’re not willing to work hard yourself. Managers who have this leadership quality are almost always treated with respect and loyalty by their employees.
2. Have a strategy
Leaders tend to avoid focusing on problems that arise and instead immediately divert their energy toward finding a solution. Leaders will never complain or outwardly worry about a problem because they know that this can affect morale and is a waste of time. When an issue arises, a leader will focus on creating a strategy to address it and will prioritize the work that needs to be done so the most urgent things get fixed first.
At any time, leaders have to remain focused on the overall objectives and avoid getting bogged down in the details and the obstacles. If you can keep your focus on the vision and how to achieve it, obstacles will be easily surmounted, and any big decisions will be easy to take because the big picture is never far from your mind. In addition to having this vision and strategy, leaders need to be able to communicate it in a compelling and motivating way to their team, and this will be explained in the following point.
3. Communication skills
Communication skills are highly important for an effective leader because you need to communicate your vision to others in a persuasive way to be able to motivate others to follow you. However, it doesn’t stop there because a great leader also needs to be able to listen to feedback from others and gather important information with an open mind. An effective leader will practice active listening and ask the right questions to get the information they need. They will also be very assertive without erring into aggressiveness.
Good leaders built a rapport with their followers and peers and have charisma and an energy that makes people want to be around them and listen to them. Their strong relationship-building skills come from positive communication strategies, and any feedback that is given to their subordinates is given in a constructive way. Leaders will be able to argue a point and hold a good, persuasive presentation whether in a formal or informal setting.
Enable real-time feedback between managers & employees with our automated feedback & check-ins tool. Try GroSum for free. Learn more.
4. Be accountable
Leaders need to be able to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable. Fred Johnson, a productivity blogger at Last Minute Writing and Writinity, explains that “an effective leader won’t point fingers at other or blame their team for failures. They will instead take responsibility and figure out where to go next from there, and that will only gain more trust and respect from the team.”
5. Team management and development skills
An effective leader has to be able to manage and develop their team using a mixture of training, coaching, and teaching. A good leader can build people up to make their team better and knows that this will only benefit the team and the organization. Leaders will know every team member’s strengths and weaknesses and will focus on developing the weaker areas to strengthen them, as well as play to the team’s strengths.
Leaders are nobody without a team to follow them, so it’s important that leaders know how to manage their followers both one-on-one and in a group context. A good leader can manage their followers in a way that is motivating and encouraging. This is done in part by focusing on the relationship between leader and team member but also happens when a motivational environment is created.
It’s not enough to simply manage and develop a team though, because this process starts at the building stage. Leaders need to understand how to recruit the right people to their team and make sure the onboarding process is smooth and fully integrative. A good leader knows when to step in for performance management if there are issues and how to manage someone who is performing poorly.
6. Importance of delegation
An effective leader needs to be able to delegate and do it properly. As previously explored, leaders don’t want to be seen to give work that they’re unwilling to do themselves, and they must lead by example. This has to be balanced, however, with delegating work so they can focus on the big picture. The work that is delegated has to be seen to be useful, giving team members added responsibility and making them feel valued and motivated. Good leaders will make sure the workload is balanced and everyone receives similar opportunities.
7. Give credit to the team
Barbara Lee, a marketer at Draft Beyond and Research Papers UK, shares that “effective leaders know how to share the glory and are always happy to give credit for a team’s success to the team itself. Good leaders know that they’re only as good as their team, so the best way to get respect from their followers is to be selfless and share the credit for any achievements earned.
8. Be assertive and confident
A good team leader has to be innovative and often must break new ground, which involves risk and unknown possibilities. An effective leader is courageous enough to face this and is also assertive enough to defend their position and justify the needs of the team. A good leader is able and willing to confront any challenges that come from treading new ground because they believe in what they are doing and they are keeping their ultimate goals in mind.
A good leader must also be confident and project this confidence to others. This is a difficult trait to develop because some people are born with more of an affinity for self-confidence while others need to work harder at it. This self-assurance comes from a feeling of being secure and confident in your own abilities, your desires and values, as well as having faith in your team and your initiatives. Good leaders don’t feel the need for acceptance and love from others and don’t feel that they need to prove themselves. Instead, a leader will treat it as evidence that they have the necessary competencies and skills to lead a team to a goal.
You can always learn to be a more effective leader at any stage of your career. Once you realize that effective leaders are made, not born, you can focus on developing these traits and skills and improve your leadership capabilities. Before you know it, you’ll be viewed as a leader in the workplace.
About the author
Angela J. Bryant, a writer, and editor at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, has found success writing articles and blogs about business management, communication, and leadership. She enjoys helping others achieve their full potential and is always available to provide one-on-one guidance and advice to young professionals.