5 Proven Methods to Improve Your Leadership Skills
The old school stereotype of leadership has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Being a good leader is no longer management by fear, but rather leadership by inclusive behavior and emotional intelligence. It’s also no longer just middle aged, middle income white men as managers, but a plethora of diversity and difference as leaders.
These subtle but growing changes are amazing to see, and the end result is a new style of leadership that is making every organisation that is adopting it stronger.
One thing they all share in common though, is they all constantly wish to be more effective leaders. Here are five very effective ways to do just that.
Be authentic with everyone
If you're not some super motivated natural leader, don't pretend to be one. You will come across stiff and unnatural. People can tell this a mile away, so drop the pretense.
You should look at your own personal strengths and personality to refine your personal management style. Do it because it is you, not because it’s something you read in a book. Have a passion for funky cufflinks? You should wear them. Have an interest in social media marketing? Do a team talk about it.
Earn their respect
The worst thing you can do is ask people to respect you, without giving them an actual reason to. The absolute best way to get your team to respect you is to roll your sleeves up and get into the work, and show them you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty.
I once had a boss, a millionaire with shops across the city. Each morning he would come to various shops and empty bins, tidy counters, etc. One morning when we were there, I asked him why he kept doing that, given I or his team could do it for him. His reply was very revealing to me. That is, he believes that every manager needs to lead by example.
“Leaders who are looked upon as not walking their talk are not respected by their subordinates. It’s important to spend time in the trenches.” says Miles Burke, Founder of Australian Software Guide.
One thing that an effective leader does is show their gratitude regularly. A simple thank you goes a long way to making someone feel good about the work that they do.
You can display gratitude in written notes, in a short speech at team meetings, or buying someone lunch once in a while. It doesn’t take much to show gratitude, but it means the world to the recipient.
On the web you will find plenty of articles that demonstrate different ways you can show gratitude that won’t cost you a lot to achieve.
Be firm but fair
I found this out when parenting. That sounds silly, but parenting and managing people is actually a very similar thing. By being firm in your expectations and what will happen when people don’t meet your requirements, then everyone soon understands what they need to do.
Be careful though to not be unreasonable. Say you let half the team come to work late every few days. If you suddenly start shouting at the other half for doing the same, that is not fair at all.
Constantly learn new things
One thing that all effective leaders throughout history have had, is the insatiable desire to improve themselves through education. You should never ever feel like you have learnt it all.
Miles Burke, founder of a service that has a comprehensive guest blogging sites list, regularly talks about lifelong education in his talks to university students. He believes that without constant revision and knowledge gathering, you will fall behind your peers and your brain won’t get the exercise it requires.
To be an effective leader, you need to constantly be evaluating your leadership skills and look at ways to demonstrate your leadership and improve your interpersonal relationships.
Using the five proven methods I have listed above, you are on your way to greater success. Those new leadership methods again, are;
I recommend that you work on a different method each few weeks or months, throughout the new year (and new decade!) to get some focus on the new leadership skills. I wish you all the best with improving your leadership know-how, and creating a more productive and cohesive team.