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Lead The Way!
5 tips to help you become a better leader!
We always talk about being a good leader, but what does it actually mean?
Being a leader isn’t just about giving orders, or getting compliance, and not even about building one-on-one relationships with employees. It’s also not something you’re born with: Warren Bennis, a pioneer of contemporary leadership studies once said: “the most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
So how do you become a leader? We’ve collected a couple of tips and tools that will improve your leadership skills and help keep the employees and team members – well – around you, Not because they have to, but because they want to .
1. Understand your Leadership style
What type of leader do you think you can be? According to psychologists’ researches starting way back in 1939 (Lewin 1993; Hersey and Blanchard 1969; Bass & Bass 1990), five major styles of leadership can be defined:
(1) Authoritarian – or autocratic – leader, providing expectations of what, how and when.
(2) Participative – or democratic – leader, offering guidance from above, but also joining the group effort.
(3) Delegative – those offering little to no guidance and leaving everything up to their group’s decision.
(4) Transformational – emotionally intelligent and energetic, these leaders are committed to help; and
(5) Transactional – your classis “employer”, defining clear roles and focuses on their followers/employees completing their requirements.
Not all styles are for every leader and every group, and deciding what type of leader you’re going to be is subject to your nature, to your group/team’s characteristics and the tasks at hand. It’s important to try and adjust your style according to the relevant situation – each style has its own benefits and effects. Note: there’s no right and wrong – but be real, and try figuring which communication mode will be better for your team members.
2. Listen to others
A great leader will know to listen. Using either your team members or customers’ insights will help you improve productivity and performance.
Listening to your consumers will have a huge effect on your solution and efficiency; it will help you find the good and the bad of the solution you’re providing, as well as understand their (as well as the market’s) needs.
Listening to your team members on the other hand, will help you become a better leader: receiving feedback on your leadership and management will of course result in you being a great leader (if implemented appropriately). Implementing team feedback will also make them feel heard and trusted, which in turn increases motivation.
As appeared in BusinessNewsDaily, Good leaders have the emotional intelligence to understand and accept that change is inevitable. Instead of trying to maintain a status quo just for the sake of consistency, embrace change and innovation.
3. Communication is key
If you’re taking one thing from this article – this is the one; communication is the key to any effective leadership. Creating a safe, open line between you and your team members will result in an honest and transparent relationship. Your team will follow the example you set: showing transparency and honesty will build trust and improve morale.
Once you’ve established the trust in the team, you’ll be able to build real and personal connections with your teammates. This will help develop autonomy in the team and let your employees feel responsible and confident.
There are plenty of ways to encourage communication in the team – whether if by round tables or reviews, quick kitchen talks or drink nights, look for those opportunities to communicate with your team members or employees. Ask if they’re ok (or struggling), see if there are ways to help. Hear them out, and they will thrive.
4. Encourage growth & Creativity
It’s easy to forget to encourage others – the unfortunate truth is that, usually, everything is pretty much taken for granted. It’s crucial however to remember that most times you will see the good in others that they don’t usually see in themselves: it’s your job as a good leader to encourage that and remind it.
Helping people grow is a slow process but seeing the potential in people and helping them unlock it is a priceless. Be your team’s number one cheerleader! Make them feel their success and growth is yours as well. Don’t be afraid of neglected tasks or deadlines – invested, happy employee will take care of those – and encourage freedom and creativity.
Remember: everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, and that is something to take advantage of. Encourage your team to be creative and come up with new ideas. “thinking outside of the box” is not just a buzz word – and expressing creativity will get you far.
Try doing this by setting up challenges and exercises with reachable goals that will help your team members stretch their “creative muscle”. Reward curiosity and idea proposals, embrace and encourage taking risks. Brainstorm new ideas together with the team and use challenges to grow.
5. Lead by example
Getting your hands dirty is the best way to get your team on board. When leading by example you show what’s possible – if you can do it, so can they. Make it easy for your employees to follow.
As a leader, you’re expected to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and the company – to greatness. To do this, you must show them the way by walking the walk (and, well, talking the talk).
Good leaders push their people forward with excitement and trust. Give them the reason to trust you by leading the way – be a leader, not a manager, and your team will flourish.
As an Early-stage VC we get to meet different types of leaders; we do our best to invest in those we see have the potential to lead their team and company to greatness. It’s no wonder one of the first things we’re looking for are good leadership and team.
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