Leadership is a tough job!
You have to be able to motivate people, provide direction, and maintain the balance between your own personal values and those of the company you lead.
And when you're in charge of a team or department at work, it's even more important that you are an effective leader - someone who can communicate both verbally and non-verbally while being authentic with their employees.
But how do you know if you're doing a good job? What qualities should every effective leader possess?
In this blog post, we will talk about 10 qualities for successful leadership at work!
1 - Be a good listener.
If you want to be a good impactful leader, it's important that you are an effective listener. It may seem like the opposite of being good at communicating, but listening is crucial for every aspect of your leadership role.
If you're not careful, people will feel unheard and frustrated when they have something to share with you or make suggestions for change in their department.
Remember: until someone hears what we say on some level (even if they don't understand it), there's no point in trying to get them to do anything differently.
In order to listen well as a leader, first, start by acknowledging that this person has thoughts and feelings - even if those sentiments contradict yours!
Next time they speak up about something bothersome or difficult, don't just start talking over them or turning their ideas on themselves. Instead, be intentionally open-minded and try to understand where they are coming from in order to work through the problem together.
Empathy is a key leadership skill that's often overlooked. It means understanding someone else's feelings and perspectives so you can better meet those needs.
2 - Be an effective communicator.
It is crucial to continuously improve our communications skills to be a more effective leader.
This includes both listening and speaking in a way that allows us to make the person on the receiving end feel valued, understood, and taken care of.
When you communicate with your team, it is important to be explicit about what needs to happen next and make sure everyone understands the expectations for their role in order to achieve success together.
It's also vital that we remember our tone - we want people on our team feeling energized by working with us!
The last thing anyone wants is a boss who yells all day or one whose moodiness makes them feel unsafe at work.
We want employees happy enough that they're excited when they come into work every morning because of how much sense they see themselves making here.
Being an effective communicator starts with being able to maintain eye contact: social psychologist Professor Paul Ekman found that this simple action can help establish trustworthiness.
3 - Set clear expectations and goals for your team members.
The leader who accomplishes the most with their team is able to provide clear expectations and goals for each of their individual team members.
When a goal is attainable, it's far easier to follow through with the steps necessary to achieve that goal.
Expectations are not set in stone: they should change over time as work priorities shift or new challenges present themselves.
The important thing is to be open about what you're looking for from each person on your team so there isn't any confusion!
The leader who doesn't provide their employees with clear direction will find them turning elsewhere for guidance - which can lead to serious consequences if these sources have different agendas than the company does.
4 - Empower your team to make decisions, but provide guidance when necessary.
You can tell the quality of the leader by how many times a team member has to interrupt them for a decision.
The best leaders know that empowering their staff is more effective than trying to micromanage everything.
They understand when it's time to step in and provide guidance, but only after they've laid out expectations, given opportunities for input, and allow individuals on the team to take ownership of tasks themselves as much as possible.
5 - Be a good delegator and empower others to do their work without micromanaging them.
There are two different types of empowerment, which are "delegation" and "empowerment."
Delegating tasks to an individual on the team is empowering that person, but doing so without a personal investment by the leader can come off as disempowering.
With delegation, there may be a system in place where somebody higher up has control over what they're doing.
Empowering people means giving individuals access to more resources or decision-making power so they can make decisions themselves without having to go through other channels for permission all of the time.
When determining if you should empower your staff with decision-making, ask yourself these questions: Can this person handle this responsibility? Do I have enough faith in their judgment? Will someone else need to do something related to this task as well? How much expertise does this person have in this area?
6 - Have empathy for the people you are leading- they have lives outside of work too!
We must keep in mind what motivates those we are leading, and what their needs are.
We must also be aware of the fact that they have lives outside of work, with family obligations and other commitments.
It's important to keep in mind these things when we're deciding how much effort a person might need to put into our business for it to thrive- not just us but them as well.
If someone is overworked or has an overloaded schedule then something else may suffer, like their home life or another commitment.
We should always try to strike a balance between all aspects of people's lives so there can be harmony among one's interests at different points in time."
7 -Provide constructive feedback that is specific and actionable in order to improve performance (avoid vague feedback like "good job"!)
Clear, specific feedback for each person on the team will allow them to know what they're doing well and areas that need improvement.
Some tactics for providing feedback are: rating progress on a scale of one to five, focusing on specific examples or instances from observation, and using "I" statements when giving constructive criticism.
Feedback should be given as soon as possible after setting expectations so it can still have an impact; feedback also needs to be appropriate to each situation.
For example, if someone is already aware of their difficulties with time management then "time management skills could use some work" may not be relevant information because they're already working towards improving those skills while something like "you might want to spend more time prioritizing your tasks before you start executing them".
8 -Show appreciation for hard work by making sure employees know how much they are valued as individuals.
Recognize their unique skillsets and how they contribute to the company's success on a daily basis; don't forget about celebrating accomplishments!
You must balance positive, reaffirming feedback with constructive feedback.
There are many ways to show your appreciation for a job well done, one of the most popular is through praise.
One phrase that has always served me well throughout my management career is to "praise in public".
It's not just important to let the individual know they are appreciated, it's equally important to make sure the team knows how much you value that person and their accomplishment.
9 -Keep an open mind about new ideas, strategies, and techniques.
Remember, you can learn from those around you who may be more experienced than yourself in certain areas of expertise.
I've learned that there are many opportunities and possibilities in the work world. It's important to keep an open mind so I can learn from those who may be more experienced than myself in certain areas of expertise.
Whether it is a new idea, strategy, or technique for doing something better at work, keeping my mind open makes me receptive to learning how other people do things differently.
This has helped me find ways to do what I need to be done with less effort which leaves time for exploring other options available as well!
10 - Give credit where it's due.
Take time out of each day to recognize what went well during the day
You can't accomplish great things without a team and taking the time to recognize not only the individuals but the team as a whole for a job well done makes all the difference in keeping morale high.
In his presentation: The Importance of Employee Recognition with Tony Tran, Sr. Director at Barracuda Networks Tony shared how important it is to recognize employees and team members not only for great work but also for any small accomplishment that goes unnoticed.
It's these moments of recognition that help keep people engaged when they are feeling discouraged or frustrated about their current situation.
"Employees want to feel valued," says Tony, so if you take the time out of your day to notice them then they will never forget what an impactful statement this can be!
In conclusion work on developing these key qualities in yourself as well as those leaders you are developing for key roles in the future.