Leadership is an extremely important skill to have. Knowing how to be a good leader, benefits you in all aspects of your life, from your studies to your career and even down to your friendships. Especially in the workspace, sometimes you are given the opportunity to be a leader and not knowing how to be a good leader can make this chance end in a disaster. So here are 10 easy ways you can become a much better leader!
1. Be confident in yourself as a person
When you are leading a group of people, confidence is by far your most useful asset. When you lead other people, you are making decisions and taking responsibility for the outcome. Which is why it is so important to be confident in yourself as a person.
By being confident in yourself, it shows you trust yourself and your decisions which encourages everyone you are leading to trust you too. After all, if you can’t even be confident in your own abilities, how can your team be confident in them? So you have to trust yourself and your abilities.
If you struggle with low confidence and insecurity, you can have a read of our article on 9 steps to not being insecure anymore.
2. Learn to communicate effectively
A key quality of a good leader is being a good communicator. As a leader, you will constantly be working with and amongst other people and not knowing how to effectively talk to them to get your point across, will be extremely detrimental.
Knowing how to communicate effectively especially in tense situations will make sure that your team feels not only heard but also validated. It reduces any built up bitterness or hard feelings from lack of proper communication and a more united team is a more effective team.
If you want to know more about communication have a read of our in depth guide with 9 steps to become a much better communicator.
3. Be a good listener
Some people think that being a leader is all about barking orders and standing over people to make sure things get done. And while giving orders and monitoring is one aspect of the job, it is far from the only aspect. In fact, being a leader is less about telling people things and more about listening to people. Your team should trust you enough to come to you and communicate their opinions of feelings.
By listening to your team, you can make sure that everyone is comfortable with the roles they have been assigned and there isn’t tension in your team. Listening to people will enlighten you on problems within your team/project that you weren’t aware existed. It will help you find better solutions and get more insight from multiple parties.
Being a leader doesn’t make you above your team, you’re still part of the same team, so take the time to learn to listen to your team.
Need some more help with listening? Have a read of our article on 9 ways you can become a much better listener.
4. Validate people’s opinions
When you’re the leader of a group of people, those people should feel respected and trusted by you. The most important quality of a good team is trust. Each team member should feel like they are a valuable part of the team. But as a leader, when it comes to making decisions you get the final say. However that doesn’t mean you don’t need to hear out all of the options presented to you by your team.
Even if someone on your team offers an opinion on something that you think is ridiculous, it is your job as a leader to at least validate that opinion and input. That doesn’t mean you have to agree or run with that decision, leaders provide their teams with confidence and make them feel validated.
5. Offer appreciation and praise
An effective and dedicated team is made with respect and appreciation. As a leader, your team will look up to you. And because of this, they will value your opinion and your input as well as appreciation. To have dedicated team members, people need to feel as if they are valued in their team. Which is why it is so important for a leader to offer appreciation and praise where it is deserved.
Tell your team they did a good job, applaud each individual on their achievements, make your team feel valued and respected.
6. Be assertive when needed
While listening and communicating are all very important qualities of a good leader, so is assertiveness. At the end of the day, you are the decision maker with the responsibility of your team and the outcome your team will produce. And sometimes, a good outcome can only come with assertiveness.
For example, if you need to be assertive about an important deadline and one your team members isn’t stepping up, instead of saying: “Can you get me this done by Monday?”, be assertive and say “I need this done by Monday.”
Here are a few tips on being assertive:
- Speak in short and stern sentences
- Don’t waffle around or beat around the bush – get to the point
- Use finitive and definite words like “need” and “must”
- Don’t give options, give instructions (example: “This has to be done by Monday”)
7. Trust in your own desicions
It is human nature to disagree. There will be times people won’t agree with each other and you’re responsible for the final decision. Sometimes not all the team members will agree with your final decision either but you must trust in yourself and be confident in your own decisions and abilities.
You absolutely cannot doubt yourself especially when the stakes are high. Remember, your confidence fuels the confidence of your team. Think carefully and wisely before making a decision but after you make it – stick to it.
8. Body language and tone
Body language is an important part of human communication and sends off various impressions. For leaders especially, there are some certain points of body language to watch out for:
- Have a good posture – straight back, shoulders back, chin slightly up
- Walk with confidence
- Avoid mumbling/rambling – speak with purpose
- Make eye contact when communicating
- Don’t be scared to take up space – your presence should be large and acknowledged
- Speak in a clear and loud tone (not screaming just easy to hear)
- Use hand gestures when appropriate (presenting something/during a speech/explaining something)
- Be approachable and friendly – smile and be welcoming
9. Be direct and clear with instructions
Good leaders know what they want. But they also know how to tell someone what they want. Being a leader sometimes means allocating roles and tasks. Be direct and clear when giving instructions to others. Be detailed and precise and if something needs to be done a specific way, make sure to be assertive about that.
However, if something doesn’t need to be done a specific way, give your team creative freedom. This not just shows that you trust them but also that you value their ideas and contribution.
Instead of saying “I want it like this” try to say “We need it done like this.” By changing the wording of instruction, now your team feels more connected to the task and feels it is a personal contribution. They will give more into the task as they feel it is a personal achievement.
10. Hands-on Leader
Good leaders care about their team and their success before everything else. That means being hands on helping out with everything. If someone needs extra help, as their leader its your job to make sure they get that help from either you or someone else.
Being a leader isn’t about sitting on a throne above your team and having them carry you to your destination. You’re LEADING them, which means you’re right in the front lines giving the absolute most and working harder than anyone else to ensure the success of your team.