It can be hard to be an effective leader. This fact can be seen in the data that showed American companies put about $15.5 billion towards leadership development in 2013. There is even a song in the hit Broadway musical about this. King George sings to the colonists after they win the resolution, “What comes next?
You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?” Being a leader is a difficult business. The upside is that there are things you can do to get better at it.
- “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That is a quote that is most often attributed to Gandhi but woks well here, too. Your staff and colleagues should look to you for an example of how they should act. One of the first things you need to do is make sure you are on time to meetings and functions. If you want the people around you to behave professionally, you need to be professional.
- Be humble. That is not the easiest thing to do for a lot of people, even if they have taken leadership development training. There are people who just never seem to want to let anyone else get any credit. That is too bad because the best bosses know when to let the people who work for them shine. Hire people who know more about something and let them do what they are good at. When you start to see your workforce as a team, you can perform better yourself. You will end up with more respect in the end.
- Be an effective communicator. That does not mean that you should just be articulate and make sense, though you should, it should also mean that you listen. It has been said that at least 45% of communication is listening. Remember, communicating is not lecturing. You want a dialogue between yourself and your colleagues.
- Make sure your company events are as productive as possible. Whether you are putting together company retreat events, organizational trainings or a meeting retreat, you need to keep your team on point and focused. It can be very easy to go off on tangents and time wasting conversations in meetings. That does more than make for a boring afternoon, it makes you and your team less effective. One thing that some bosses do during these events is try to micromanage the people around them. You do not need to tell your workers how to do their jobs, that helps no one.
- Be aware of your limits. This can be one of the best things bosses learn during leadership development training. You have to know what your limits are, make them known to the people who work with you and then stick to them yourself. If you do not keep to your own rules, you cannot expect anyone else to. Making sure everything is clear and everyone is on the same page will cut down on confusion and save you a lot of time.
- Learn from your mistakes. You are human. Like all other humans, you are going to make mistakes. The problem does not lie in making a mistake, the problem comes when you do not learn from it and do it again. When you make a mistake, look at what you did and why. See what you can learn from that experience and think about how it can be prevented in the future. Help your workers do the same. Berating someone for making a mistake will not prevent it from happening again but it may get them looking for a new job.
- Look for some you can get advice from. The best leaders have someone they can think of as a mentor.
Someone they can look to for advice and help. If you attend a leadership development session, you may find someone there who can fit this role for you. Good leaders never stop trying to do better and this is a great way to do it. You cannot rely on your workers and staff to tell you how to do better at your job.
It takes time to develop leadership skills but it is possible to learn to be a better boss and great leader.