There is a common myth that people are simply born to be leaders: either they have it or don’t. That couldn’t be more untrue.
Some characteristics that come to mind when we think of a leader are extroverted, magnetic, passionate, and personable; however, there’s more to what makes a leader than what meets the eye. While these natural traits can help someone become more comfortable in a leadership role, that doesn’t mean that they are any better for the position than someone who doesn’t overtly have these traits.
The ultimate goal of a leader is to inspire others to reach a common goal. It is worth noting that being a leader doesn’t exactly mean you’re superior. We can always improve and always become better: being a great leader comes down to your mindset and willingness to continue learning.
So what actually makes a leader? And how can you become a better one? In this post, we’ve highlighted some key tactics and tips on how to become an effective leader.
Identify and Evaluate your Leadership Style
The beauty of leadership is this: there is no right or wrong way to lead. The way one person leads a team may be entirely different from somebody else. One important aspect of being a leader is to find a leadership style and strategy that works best for you, your goals, and most importantly, your team.
Maybe your team will thrive with a project-based, more independent approach. Or, perhaps they would benefit from a more hands-on management style. Are you more of a warm, friendly type of leader? Or would you prefer a more business-minded, serious attitude? When you’re in a leadership position, it’s essential to try out different styles not only to find what fits you but your team as a whole. Whenever you try out these tactics, be sure to analyze how they work with your team, and continue improving your leadership style.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with leadership styles: you never know what will stick!
Set an example
A team is only as good as its leader. That’s why it’s so important to set a great precedent for your team to follow. Leading by example is paramount when it comes to a leadership position: it shows your team the necessary traits and skills that it takes to succeed. After all, a team is a reflection of their leader, so what you put out is what you get in return.
Doing this is easy: listen closely to the feedback you receive, don’t be afraid to do the hard work, take responsibility, and always treat your team with respect. In a Pew Research Center survey, team members identified seven traits that encompass leadership and that are essential for a leader to possess. These traits matter in a leadership position, so be sure to personally develop them, recognize, and apply them to your leadership style!
Collaboration is key
There is a saying that “no man is an island.” And in the world of leadership, this couldn’t be more true. While there’s a common misconception that leaders are expected to carry the team on their back, it is of the utmost importance for a leader to encourage collaboration with their team. Working in tandem with your fellow team members will not only benefit them but will also benefit you as well. Remember, even as a leader, it’s important to continue learning, especially from your team.
When leading a team, it’s paramount to encourage collaboration between team members. However, it’s even more essential to encourage their collaboration with you! Fostering an environment of equity and equality between you and your team will only continue to benefit you in pursuit of your goal. Provide a great experience for your team by continuing to include and collaborate with them throughout the duration of your project.
Another way to become a better leader is to focus on meaningful communication with your team members. By scheduling one-on-one time with group members, you’re showing your team that you care about their personal development and feedback.
Not only is communication key for maintaining a successful team, but it’s also important for your personal growth as well. From receiving feedback from your group members, you’ll have a chance to better grow your business or project. By keeping communication open, you’ll foster a better relationship with your team and a great environment for them to thrive in. Remember that your team always comes first!
Finally, staying positive is an essential part of being a leader. If a leader is apathetic, pessimistic, and discouraged, this will rub off on your team and create a negative space. It is important for a leader to always move forward with positivity, even when things are bleak and hard.
This is especially important with how you handle failure. Instead of being discouraged and blaming your failure on others, use it as a tool to better yourself and your team. In the face of adversity and negativity, stay optimistic, positive, and focused. Your team will thank you for it!
By Guest Author: Chi Whitley is a Content Marketer and Creator based in Austin, TX. He writes SEO-optimized articles for both B2B and B2C clients. When not brainstorming or writing content, you can find Chi in the Texas hill country camping or on the lake.