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What makes a great leader?

Posted by Melinda Vaelioja

Last updated on August 21, 2017

Everyone always talks about "born leaders" - those people who naturally know how to lead a team to success. While natural leaders can easily bring a team together to work towards greatness, can great leadership be learned by others as well?

Leadership skills are taught in many businesses and work environments, in order to create leaders who can support their team while also pushing them to grow. Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made. Here are some of our tips on becoming a great leader.

Red paper coloured boat leading 4 other paper boats

What To Do 

To become a great leader, it's important you do these 5 things.

Listen to your team

Listen to your team's thoughts, ideas and suggestions. You've hired your team members for their knowledge and experience. Use it to your advantage and make sure your team knows they’re being listened to.

Communicate effectively

When you are communicating with your team, don’t talk at them. Instead, talk with them to discuss options. No one enjoys being talked at and it does not encourage an environment where everyone feels appreciated. A team where everyone has an equal voice is more likely to work well together.

Research everything

Be sure to research everything you mean to do, to make sure you have a greater understanding of what your goals are and how to go about achieving them. Don't create tasks on a whim - research your ideas and work out how to track their success.

Ground everything in data

Don’t make decisions based on a gut feeling. Use the data from your research to guide your decisions. Using data gives you proof and logical reasoning to back up your decisions and helps your team understand why they're doing what they’re doing.

Give feedback

Give your team positive and constructive feedback. Feedback, if given in the right way, will help your team grow and develop. Given in the wrong way, it could have a negative effect on the overall productivity and quality of your team members' work.

leadership

How To Act

Great leaders have certain traits and qualities. Here are some of the important ones to think about when being a leader.

Be a role model

Lead by example - work in a way that you would expect your team to work. If your team see you not putting in any effort, they probably won't see the need to put in any effort themselves. If you want your team to work in a certain way, you should be the first person to do so.

Be passionate

If you're passionate about your role, your team members will pick up on that and show the same energy in their work. It’s hard to be around someone who is excited and passionate without it influencing you at least a bit, so use this to increase the passion in your team.

Be consistent

Be consistent with your expectations and processes. Be clear about what you want from your team and don’t change the processes too often. Doing so could confuse and potentially dishearten your team members. Keep things consistent and straightforward.

Be approachable

Make sure you're approachable to your team members. You want your team to know they can talk to you if they have any issues or concerns. Be available to chat with them about anything they may need and treat their concerns with respect.

Be trusting and trustworthy

Trust your employees with their work - don’t hover or micromanage. Let them work towards completing their tasks on their own. If you micromanage them, your team members may feel that you don’t trust that they can do their jobs, which may decrease the amount of effort they're willing to put in.

As well as trusting your staff, your staff should also be able to trust you. If your team members come to you with concerns, don’t make them feel unimportant. Let them know that they can communicate with you honestly without being dismissed.

yellow fish drawin with chalk leading white fish drawn in chalk

What To Know

Great leaders need to know how to get the most out of themselves and their team. Here are some of the top things to be aware of.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Know what you're good at and what you may need to work on. Take advantage of your strengths and work on your weaknesses. By knowing your weaknesses you can also build your team to fill in the gaps in your own knowledge.

Know your boundaries for a good work\life balance

Don’t work yourself too hard. Having a good work\life balance is important for your well-being. By looking after yourself and not overworking, you will have a more positive outlook on what you're doing. If you cause yourself stress by overworking this will have a negative effect on not only you, but your team as well.

Know your team

Make sure you get to know your team. Learn about their interests and hobbies. Show an interest in them and their lives. Not only that, make sure you understand the way each of your team members works. Learn what kind of environment each of your team members needs to thrive and succeed, then try to provide it for them.

Know how to delegate

Don’t keep all the important tasks for yourself. Trust your team members to be able to complete the work that they’re employed to do. Spread the workload across your team so that no one is stuck with all the work.

Know how your employees are feeling

Pay attention to how your team members are feeling. Are they stressed about their work? Is everything going well in their lives? Knowing how your team members are feeling will help you manage them better. One way to do this is to hold a short meeting to check in with them once a week.

By following all these tips, you'll be able to grow into a great leader. You can then help your team strive to increase their productivity and achieve more during their work day.

Want more tips on how your team can increase productivity? We've compared 3 tools you can use to make sure your business is collaborating effectively.

Collaboration tools to increase productivity

 

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