Author and speaker Brian Tracy once said,
“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”
That sounds good, but how exactly do you become the sort of leader that others want to follow? Regardless of where you are in your career, everyone can learn how to be a good manager and effective leader. Being a leader is really all about knowing who you are and where you want to go.
Once you have this down you’ll be able to better share your ideas with others and bring out their best qualities. As a manager, knowing what makes a good leader and how to put those traits into practice will be the difference between accomplishing an objective or failing to meet the demands.
Being a good manager and effective leader isn’t always going to be easy. Some of the most successful leaders in business, however, have credited setbacks and frustrations with invaluable learning experiences that made them better leaders in the long run. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos once wrote in a letter to his shareholders that:
“Failure comes part and parcel with invention.”
You may not feel like a born leader, but by working to embrace these traits, you can learn to not just be a good manager, but one who inspires others.
1. Understand the Value of Those Around You
Regardless of whether they’re running a Fortune 500 company or a local diner, a good manager doesn’t take their team for granted. Your employees made a choice to join your team and will be more willing to accept responsibilities and tasks if they know you see them as a valued member.
Effective leaders guide those around them through challenges, because they know a team is at its strongest when everyone is focused and prepared for their particular duty. By showing genuine interest in those around you, you’ll communicate that you care about your employees and their role in the organization.
2. Embrace Collaboration
Few Earth-shaking innovations are the result of a single mind. An effective leader may have the spark for an idea, but they welcome collaboration from others to shape and mold it into a reality.
Successful leaders embrace a collaborative spirit with their employees by sharing their expectations and promoting engagement. This could be anything from group brainstorming sessions to team-building seminars and classes. It’s simply about inviting participation from those around you.
3. Set Your Employees Up for Success.
It’s a sobering truth that around 60 percent of new managers fail within their first 24 months. Often times, not setting your employees up for success plays a major role.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to know the roles of those on your team and what they need to accomplish their duties.
- Do they have the materials needed to perform their job?
- Have they been given clear instructions on their objective?
- Do they know who to turn to if they have a question?
These are all things that help to establish employee confidence and demonstrate strong management traits to those on your team.
4. Don’t Just Dictate – Listen
If there were one single trait that was crucial for an effective leader to have, it would be good communication skills. If all you’re doing is barking orders, then it’s not going to be long before you don’t have anybody to bark orders at, because everyone will walk out the door.
Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson says that a good leader should be listening twice as much as they’re speaking. He realizes that a good idea for solving a problem can come from anybody in his company whether they’re working on the top floor or at the very bottom.
Don’t try to solve every problem yourself, ask others for their opinion, and if somebody comes to you with an idea, give them the respect of listening to what they have to say.
5. Acknowledge Successes
Humans need encouragement and acknowledgment, plain and simple. If somebody does a good job, tell them so. An effective leader doesn’t rejoice in just their own wins, but celebrates the successes of those around them. Founder of Ready Steady Sell, David Sessford, says that the efficiency of his team improved by 35% by offering regular rewards and bonuses for hitting targets.
According to Forbes, 65 percent of employees want more feedback from their managers. There are, of course, a multitude of ways to acknowledge an employee’s success.
- A simple “great job” is always nice.
- Celebratory drinks or meals.
- Promotions and bonuses.
A little bit of recognition for a job well done can go a long way and oftentimes, it only takes a few minutes to show it.
6. Learn to Resolve Conflicts
Conflicts between employees are bound to crop up here and there. How you choose to handle them can be the difference between a productive team and one that unravels.
As a leader, you should listen to both points of view and work to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively in the best way so that the problem doesn’t come up again. The secret to effective conflict resolution is learning to separate the people from the emotions related to the problem. By doing this, you’ll be able to better solve problems in a way that satisfies both parties.
7. Show Confidence, Not Arrogance
Good leaders thrive on adversity and are willing to take chances, as long as their failures provide a valuable learning experience. They’re calm during turbulent times and commit to a course of action. This might sound like blind arrogance, but it actually shows confidence, plus a willingness to challenge the norm and strive for something better.
When you know your values and have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish you’ll feel secure about the work you’re doing.
8. Inspire a Shared Vision
Remember that quote from the top about how a good leader would inspire others to follow even without a title? That’s because they know how to unite those around them toward a common goal or vision. This is done through good communication, confidence, and acknowledging successes.
Effective leaders are passionate about their ideas and actively look for ways to get those around them excited about an idea or goal. By connecting with your employees and helping them understand why their role matters, you’ll encourage them to share your vision.
9. Stay Up to Date With Your Industry
Your team members are going to look to you as the person with the plan. They want to know that you have ideas for capitalizing on the good times as well as weathering the bad times. This means keeping current on what’s going on in your field and continuing to expand your knowledge.
Talk to other leaders in your field and network. Join local professional organizations. By keeping up with the trends and changes in your field, you’ll be that much more confident of a leader for your team.
10. Trust Your Employees to Succeed
Good managers know how to delegate work and aren’t afraid to put trust in their employees to accomplish a task. If you’re always second-guessing your team members you’re creating a fear-based workplace, and likely a lot of resentment.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, employees don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. Well, micromanaging is a surefire way to drive your employees nuts and have them turning in a letter of resignation.
11. Recognize Potential and Foster Innovation
Take the time to get to know those around you, no matter what their position in the organization may be. Each member on your team is going to have their own unique skills and goals — nurture them.
A good manager is growth-oriented, for themselves and others. Strive to recognize opportunities for others to take on new challenges, and support strengths when you see them. Effective leaders groom others to lead.
12. Lead by Example
If you want those around you to be organized, motivated, and working towards a goal, then you should be, as well. Model the behaviors that you want your employees to embrace. It’s easy to simply tell somebody what to do, but it’s going to be far more effective if you set the example with your own behavior.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to be a good manager and effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice and willingness to work on self-improvement. Great leadership is about doing the right thing and inspiring the same in others. Are you ready?
More Leadership Tips
- 13 Management Skills Every Great Manager Has
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com