Effective leadership is about harnessing the power of the people within your organization. In order to do so, you must build trust and facilitate teamwork among them. It’s an ongoing task that requires patience, humility and understanding, along with a willingness to break down the silos that often keep leaders from attaining a fully engaged workforce.
In my experience of working with a variety of leaders and leadership styles over the years, I’ve seen a range of actions and characteristics that most often define those whom I’d call “effective.” Here are some tips based on what I’ve observed and helped many CEOs to implement.
Empower your employees. It’s tempting to want to tell others how to do their jobs, especially if you have more experience in certain areas than the people who work for you. However, as stated before, effective leadership is about harnessing the power of those inside your organization, to encourage them make the decisions that are necessary to keep your business moving forward. When your employees start showing signs of growth and becoming leaders themselves, it’s evidence of effective leadership on your part.
Help them understand the “why.” This is part of empowering them to make decisions. Communicate a clear vision and mission that they can embrace and own. When your people understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and how their efforts fit into the larger organizational picture, they’ll be a lot more motivated to keep doing it.
Play to the strengths of your people. First, you must know what strengths they already possess. Once you know what they’re good at, you can facilitate further growth in those specific areas by encouraging them to keep exercising their strengths. Certain people will be strong where others are weak. Understanding the strengths of every individual will enable you to create teams that work more effectively together.
Encourage innovation. It’s a big buzzword in today’s corporate world. In another post, we’ll be further exploring the true meaning of “innovation,” but for now, we’ll simplify its definition as “to be encouraging of change.” In order to avoid being stagnant, you must be willing to embrace new ideas, methods and technologies.
Always be constructive. Particularly when it comes to providing feedback. Take care to frame negative remarks with positive encouragement. Explain what was done well—giving analysis rather than opinion; follow with what needs improvement and how it can be improved; and end with a reminder of a job well done.
Own up to your mistakes. Yes, even the best of leaders are wrong sometimes! Show your employees that it’s okay to make mistakes by admitting when you do. And most importantly, encourage them to learn from every error made.
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