Being in a leadership position can be challenging on many levels. Dealing with the responsibilities of being in charge, managing teams of people, delivering on time and on budget whilst inspiring those around you – it’s a big job for even the most natural born leaders.
When asked what makes a good leader, here are the qualities most often quoted by staff:
Being honest with your staff about their roles, the business, their performance and your own, can reap many rewards in terms of ensuring loyalty. There will always be times where difficult conversations have to be had, or targets and tasks may be given from someone in authority above you, but by being discreet and having integrity your staff will appreciate you being as transparent as possible with them in their working lives.
Confidence breeds confidence. If your staff see you performing at your best, being self-assured whilst being measured (you can be over-confident) you will project to them that you are good at your job, someone to value and look up to and you can lead by example, encouraging them to have confidence in themselves too.
The best leaders are dedicated managers who truly understand their business and can relate to what their staff are going through in their day-to-day working lives. If your staff are all working late, don’t swan out of the office early. Show you’re as committed to getting the job done as they are, and you’ll earn your respect. Be the first in the office in the morning whenever you can, look the part, face challenges head-on and your staff will think all the more of you for it.
It is hard to be ever the optimist in our working lives, but showing positivity towards all situations helps your staff to do the same. There will always be challenges, but facing them with a positive outlook will inspire others to do the same. It’s fine to say, ‘this is going to be hard but we can do it’ but not so admirable to say, ‘this is going to be too hard’. Help your staff to lift their spirits and keep moral high. You’ll come across as approachable and solution based, rather than critical.
Aim high; encourage ideas; have fun and make crazy suggestions sometimes. Invite others to bring their creativity to the table and share yours. Don’t stick to a hierarchical structure as sometimes the best ideas come from the youngest, newest or freshest members of your team. Looking at what’s happening in your business areas in the press and media, encouraging forums and contributions from all areas will encourage your staff to feel inspired by what they achieve. Be the leader they want you to be.
In our busy lives it is easy to forget to say thank you. From the smallest gestures, someone making you tea or helping with your schedule, to the biggest projects being delivered; showing your staff how much you appreciate them is vital to their wellbeing at work and how much they like working for you. Whether you show it with praise, a team lunch or outing, letting them go home early on a Friday or giving a gift to show your appreciation, make sure your staff know how much they are valued. Investing in a reward scheme for your staff, or a system of gift cards to say thank you for key milestones or achievements can give your staff a real boost.