Anybody can delegate tasks but good leadership involves more than that. Effective leaders have a significant impact on their organization’s overall performance in addition to the team members they oversee. Great leaders tend to make their staff members happier, more productive, and more invested in the company, which has a knock-on impact that improves your company’s bottom line.
Regardless of what type of leadership role you’re in, it’s important to know how to be a good leader. That way, you can inspire those around you — and yourself — to achieve great things.
Identify Your Leadership Style
Once you know who you are and what your strengths are, it’s time to figure out how best to use them. For example, if you’re a leader who typically has a better grasp of the big picture, but lacks the ability to see all the small details that need tending along the way, then this might be an opportunity for delegation.
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is trying to do everything themselves instead of delegating responsibilities or giving others opportunities for growth. If your role as a leader involves communicating with stakeholders about strategy and direction—and it probably does—then consider delegating some of your tasks so that less important work can be handed over.
Find Your Expertise
The first step in taking your leadership to the next level is to identify the areas in which you excel. This might sound basic, but it’s important to remember that everyone has strengths and weaknesses—even if they don’t want to admit them.
If you’re not sure what your strengths are or how they would translate into this kind of leadership role, ask yourself:
- What tasks do I love doing?
- Which projects do I feel confident delivering on my own?
- What kinds of people do I enjoy working with most?
Build Your Confidence
One of the most important things you can do when working to become a leader is building your confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself as a leader, why would anyone else? And if they don’t, they won’t follow.
Confidence is also key to communicating with others and making decisions—both crucial leadership skills that make all the difference between being perceived as a leader and just another face in the crowd at work. You have to project confidence if you want people to take your opinions seriously, so it makes sense that leaders need to be confident in order for their teams to trust them and respect their calls.
Hold Yourself Accountable
You are accountable for your actions. If you make a mistake, own it and learn from it. You may even need to apologize if someone else was affected by your mistake. The key is to be honest about what happened, take responsibility for what went wrong, and commit not to repeat the same mistake twice.
Hold yourself accountable in other ways, too:
- Ask others for feedback on how you can improve as a leader
- Review your goals and expectations regularly so that they align with reality (and are achievable)
- Are you being honest with yourself about what you want? Or do you have unrealistic expectations of where things should be right now?
Promote Values Over Tasks
The right leadership style depends on the task at hand. However, it’s important to remember that while values are important, they need to be aligned with the task and its goal. A great example of this is a leader who has a strong sense of purpose and values, but who’s not afraid to get his or her hands dirty when needed. This type of leader will empower others and give them clear direction while showing them how their work contributes to the greater mission at hand.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
As a leader, you will inevitably fail. That’s okay—failure is part of life. Learning from failure and moving on is what makes you stronger as an individual, and it will certainly make you better at leading your team.
If you’re afraid to fail because it may damage your reputation or career path (and therefore stop trying new things), then how can anyone ever learn from their mistakes? If they don’t learn anything from their failures, they’ll never get any better at whatever they’re doing.
Know How To Delegate and Motivate Others
Know the difference between abdication and delegation. The former is when you give someone a task and then let them figure it out on their own, while the latter is when you provide guidance and support throughout the process.
You can delegate tasks that are within your control, but not your expertise—a person who is good at scheduling meetings may be able to coordinate an appointment for you without worrying about the details of what will happen during each part of that meeting.
Delegate to people who have the skill set to do the job well—for example: if an employee has experience working with customers through email but not phone calls, then asking them to make all customer calls would probably result in some unhappy customers!
Motivate employees by giving them clear goals/directions and ensuring they understand how their work impacts those goals/directions.
Be Vulnerable and Authentic
Being vulnerable and authentic is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you trust others enough to share your true self with them, which allows them to truly know and understand you.
The more honest and open we are as leaders, the more trust we build with those we lead. You don’t have to be an expert at any given skill or task in order for your team members to respect your opinion because they know that what matters most is what comes out of your heart—not just what comes out of your mouth.
Being yourself and practicing vulnerability doesn’t mean being self-absorbed or ignoring the needs of others around you; it means listening actively and asking questions in order to connect better with people from all walks of life (regardless of their title).
A successful leader is someone who has influence over the people they lead. They set the bar high, but they also provide the support that helps others reach that bar. They are an inspiration to those around them, even when they don’t realize it.
Leadership is about influence. It’s about setting an example and providing support, being an inspiration and a role model, and ultimately, it’s about becoming a leader worth following.
The best leaders have earned their position by having the respect of the people they lead—and there are many ways to do this.