Leadership is one of the most important qualities a manager can have. It means that your team will follow orders. It means you can develop new policies and procedures, and know they’ll be followed. It means your team will respect you.
But leadership isn’t always easy. It has to be constantly developed, just like everything else. Here are 5 strategies to make you a better leader:
1. Be a positive role model
Be a positive role model by having the same behaviors you’re asking of your team. Work hard if you want them to work hard. (And make sure they see you working hard.) If you want them to get to work on time, set the tone from above. Make sure you are always early, and there when they arrive. Know your job well, of course. Be fair and respectful in your dealings with workers.
2. Know your people
Employees will follow people they know and trust. If you don’t know your team at all, it will be almost impossible to lead them. You won’t know what motivates them or how they approach issues. Make a point to know about their lives. Do they like football, soccer, or basketball, for example? What are their favorite teams? Things like this can establish a ground for informal chat, which can lead to better rapport.
3. Communicate effectively
Communicate effectively. Follow up when you give instructions, for example. This will alert you to bottlenecks due to lack of understanding. Be friendly and approachable. At the same time, don’t be overly friendly. Part of managerial communication has to be that you are the manager. That’s why informal chat can be so important; it’s not about work.
4. Train people
To become a better leader, it helps to be seen as an authority. It’s natural to see people who train other folks as an authority. So be the person who trains people when they come in or the one who trains them to do a certain thing.
Training has another leadership benefit. It allows you to get a closer view of the caliber of people being recruited and of any genuine challenges the system may present to them. Once you know that, you have the information needed to brainstorm improvements.
5. Hire and fire effectively
When you hire, be sure to get people who have experience and aptitude for the job. With a bad hire, everyone suffers.
If someone is not performing well at all, give them a fair shot to become better with an improvement plan. But if they don’t improve during that period, make plans to terminate them. Ultimately, the company and group suffer from a person who can’t cut it. Show leadership by doing what needs to be done.
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