Anyone can claim to be a leader, but the question is whether one is an effective leader. There's a huge difference between having a leadership position and being considered one, as well as having people follow your orders simply because they have to. Fortunately for all of us, effective leadership is a skill that can be learned - it just requires commitment and hard work from those determined to achieve it.
In this article, we will share 10 great tips that can help you become a better, effective leader.
What is effective leadership?
Apart from just holding a leadership title at work, being an effective leader means to lead with decisiveness, confidence, emotional intelligence, great communication skills, and inspiration. There is no strict formula for what makes an effective leader, since every team and organization are unique in their strengths and weaknesses.
Generally, to be an effective leader, you need to be able to make quick, difficult decisions with limited information. You also need to be resolute and confident in those decisions, while leading people and managing different types of personalities. Effective leaders also set boundaries and communicate effectively, motivating and inspiring their team in order to achieve their goals.
The importance of effective leadership
Organizational structures are changing, as well as interpersonal dynamics in the workplace. New generations are becoming part of the workforce and the old ways of top-down management are no longer the norm, nor desired. The way employees are managed has changed as well - it's no longer about the manager giving the orders and how to do it, but rather a more collaborative effort between peers.
Effective leadership is a key component of success in business as leaders can create an environment where employees are happy and engaged, which leads to increased productivity and profitability. Leading an ineffective team can be demotivating and demoralizing, which can have a negative impact on business results.
How to become an effective leader with 10 tips
To train qualities desired in an effective leader, consider practising these 10 tips below:
1. Know yourself to know your leadership style, strengths and weaknesses
It all starts with the self. Before thinking about leading others, one should get to know oneself to be more aware of your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, beliefs, and more. Go beyond self-reflection by actively seeking feedback from those around you or work with you, and use it to improve yourself. Leaders should not feel threatened by those who disagree with them; instead, you should value thoughts and opinions where they are due.
When you know yourself better, you will be able to improve on your leadership style and create a vision for the future of your organization that is in line with its core values and vision.
2. Be an effective leader by leading by example
It's always easier to just talk than walk it, and effective leadership is all about letting the actions speak louder than words. Effective leaders set the standards and show their commitment to them by behaving and making decisions that adhere to those standards regardless of the situation.
By doing this, you show your team that you're an honest and reliable leader. If a leader were to only pay lip service to their values and standards, everyone else wouldn't
3. Connect with your team members - build relationships by connecting
Effective leaders build trust with their team members by connecting with them with a personal approach. Being a "more human" leader requires positivity, empathy, compassion, humility and love. This can be done by getting to know each team member's personality and interests, as well as being accessible to them. Show that you care about your team's well-being and success. Being a team player and contributing positively to team discussions is also important for building trust.
Building a personal connection ultimately helps to create a culture of accountability and success. Effective leaders who are able to master personal connections and build good rapport are set for collaborative and satisfied teams.
4. Be honest with your thoughts, expectations and decisions
Honesty is key for leaders in order to be effective. It allows for the building of trust between the leader and their team. This trust encourages team members to come forward with issues and concerns. Furthermore, honest communication is crucial for collaboration and a healthy work environment - instead of the awkward situations that many think it will lead to. Transparency allows employees to feel safe in voicing their opinions and builds a two-way street of respect. Overall, honesty creates an efficient workplace as it eliminates any roadblocks that may come from miscommunication or doubt. A leader's honesty builds trust and credibility in them, paving the way for a productive working environment.
5. Practice effective communication skills
It goes without saying that an effective leader is also an effective communicator. Effective communication is the act of transmitting information from one person to another in a way that is clear and understandable. In order to communicate effectively, leaders must understand their own communication style and listen actively to what the team is saying.
Improve your communication skills as a leader to promote better partnerships between employees. Effective communication starts with listening and paying attention to what other people are saying, and be sure to take on a more conciliatory tone rather than a dismissive approach.
6. Pursue development opportunities to improve performance
Pursuing development opportunities can help with becoming an effective leader. After all, nobody's perfect and even leaders know that they have to continuously develop themselves. Instead of holding a fixed mindset, they are always looking to grow more and improve themselves. They also encourage development opportunities in their team because they know that employees who pursue development opportunities are more likely to be successful in their careers. Development opportunities can help greatly with employee growth and overall work satisfaction. To become an effective leader, never stop learning and encouraging others to do the same.
7. Be open to new ideas to become an effective leader
Effective leaders don't assume that they're the smartest people in the room. They know that everyone has something to offer and that they don't always have the best solution. What makes them effective as a leader is their openness to accept new ideas and change. Instead of insisting on sticking to the status quo or tried-and-tested methods, they welcome new ideas and change. Leaders who are open to new ideas, suggestions, and feedback from others are also more likely to be successful in their endeavors.
Instead of shutting down discussions or ideas, they encourage it and involve people with solutions. This allows innovation to thrive and ultimately investment in the team and organization's success.
8. Learn to give effective feedback
Giving effective feedback could almost be considered an art form. First of all, feedback should be given in a way that is meaningful and will help employees grow. You should be specific when delivering feedback, and ensure that the person receiving it has agreed to receive it in the first place. Giving feedback without asking if the other person would like to hear it is likely to lead to a tense situation. This is because feedback, just like opinions, are mostly subjective unless driven by data.
Encouraging feedback and keeping lines of communication open are key to being an effective leader. Doing so allows for creativity and innovation, as well as ensure that all ideas are heard and considered. Leaders need to be able to encourage feedback among their colleagues in order to ensure that all ideas are heard and considered.
9. Praise with authenticity and cultivate a positive work environment
An effective leader knows that praising others leads to a positive feedback loop where people would feel more motivated to produce good work, thereby generating more praises. Recognizing and rewarding team members for their individual contributions will increase confidence and performance. It allows them to believe that their work is meaningful and has impact, and assures them of the value they bring to the organization. Be sure to genuinely praise, and not give praises for the sake of it.
Praising people regularly is also a great way to connect with them, overall contributing to a positive work environment that everyone is proud to be a part of and full of passion, innovation and positivity.
10. Know when to delegate tasks and action items
Delegating tasks is an important leadership skill. Principally, it allows leaders to focus on more important tasks and helps teammates develop their skills. This lessens the workload of the leader while allowing other people who are better primed for the task to take it on. It's more than okay to delegate tasks when it's not your area of expertise as it's not an admission of weakness.
Ultimately, delegation is an effective way to increase team efficiency and productivity. Not every situation requires delegation - if the task is not important or if it could be better done by yourself, then delegation is not appropriate. It must be done with purpose and not just because you can.
Becoming an effective leader is not easy.
Change cannot be achieved in one night. It takes time to improve, and progress isn't going to be linear. Leadership skills can be trained and effective leadership is certainly achievable for anyone who is determined enough to put in the hard work, planning and dedication to it.
There are no limits when it comes to how effective a leader you can be, and the more you work on your leadership skills, the better leader you will become.
Achieve your leadership goals with us.
At Coaching Go Where, we believe everyone can be great, effective leaders. Unleash the inner superhero with us and our multi-award winning leadership development programmes. Make effective leadership and management a reality for yourself and your team by contacting us here today!