What does it mean to be a leader? Anyone who wants to become someone who can motivate and influence others, frequently asks themselves this question. Whilst giving out orders may be a difficult yet manageable task, becoming a great leader who inspires others and achieves goals requires more effort.
So, how can you become a great leader?
What is Leadership?
Leadership can be defined as the task of motivating others to achieve a common goal. A leader comes in many different forms, from the manager in charge of a team to a teacher in a classroom full of students. An effective leader can put forth a clear vision, motivate and inspire their team/students, manage the delivery of that shared purpose and then coach and improve that team in order to do even better next time.
Thinking of yourself as a leader is the first step towards becoming one. Research shows that those who identify as leaders are often evaluated as having greater leadership potential by others. Understand the different leadership styles (autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, and transformational) and how they apply to you, then use them as a foundation to identify and work on your strengths and weaknesses.
Whichever style you identify with the most, we think these are the 6 pillars that will help you on your path to great leadership…
6 Ways to Be a Great Leader
- Communication – Good leadership is being able to express yourself in a calm, yet firm manner. It is essential to keep open lines of communication between yourself and those on your team. Communication is considered to be a core leadership function, with evidence suggesting that those who show they can communicate exceptionally being more frequently recommended for leadership positions.
- Support – Ensure that the people on your team feel supported at all times. You can help your team achieve their goals by providing them with advice and all the resources you can. Research shows that employees who feel supported believe that they will be rewarded for hard work and high performance, which in turn boosts job satisfaction and mood, and decreases the likelihood of turnover.
- Empowerment – Delegate tasks to give responsibility to those on your team. Giving them authority will make them feel valued and contribute positively to their development. In a study measuring employee engagement along with empowerment, the findings showed that employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement in the 24th percentile, whereas those who felt more empowered were at the 79th
- Listen – Success is often the result of teamwork. A good leader will listen to everyone on the team and work alongside others to come up with the best strategies. A recent study found that more than one-third of the workforce believed that leadership did not listen to their ideas. To combat this issue, leaders need to be willing to hear the good and the bad and be prepared to take action. Follow-up with your team to make sure they know that they have been heard and that their feedback is important.
- Relationships – Strong relationships with the people on your team are important. This will help you work well together and assist each other in achieving goals. Leaders who develop positive relationships are much more likely to succeed, especially when they need to collaborate or deal with conflict. Research shows that high-quality working relationships have many positive effects, from lower levels of stress to higher commitment.
- Motivate – As a leader, it is crucial that you keep your team motivated. This is one of the most powerful incentives for them to work productively and efficiently. Leaders can motivate the people on their team in various ways. Evidence suggests that the best ways to motivate those on your team is by recognising and praising their work, offering rewards, and including them in the decision-making process.
Leadership is a learning process and there is always room for improvement. How you act as a leader will contribute to the success of your team. Building strong relationships and communicating effectively are just a few ways you can enhance your leadership role. Anyone can become a great leader; you just need some patience and the willingness to learn!
If you’re looking for further reading to help you develop those skills, here are some of our best tips:
- 8 ways to be a better listener
- 5 ways to motivate others
- Building a good team around you
- Feedback v feedforward