Whether you’re new to being the boss, or have managed your company and team for a long time, we cannot underestimate the value of being a good leader. How you manage yourself has a direct effect on how others learn and follow you. This is why it’s critical to always grow and adapt, and constantly strive to become a better leader than before. As we close out 2014 and look ahead to our goals for the New Year, learning to become a better leader should be on the top of our lists.
Here are 7 simple steps to help you achieve becoming a better leader:
- Choose Your Words Wisely: In order to be a good leader, or more importantly, become a better leader, mastering how you communicate is key. Be direct when you speak, and try to avoid words or sayings that have a negative connotation, even while being critical. Make sure you inspire when you communicate, and don’t try to complicate tasks by over explaining them.
- Dress for Success, But Don’t Overdo It: Part of becoming a better leader is to make others feel like they can relate to you. And in the business world, how you dress says a lot. Stay professional, but don’t try to constantly out-dress your team. If you dress like your team does for work, they will feel more comfortable around you, and will trust you more. Relating to someone builds trust, and trust helps to build leadership.
- Don’t Wear Your Emotions on Your Sleeve: It’s OK to get stressed out. It’s ok to be emotional. But if you want to become a better leader, you need to keep a positive attitude even in the worst of times. If you look like you’ve got it under control, the people around you will feel like they do as well, even if it’s not the case. Remember, people look to you for inspiration, and if you’ve got a smile and confident disposition, this will rub off on them.
- Set Time Parameters and Stick to Them: No one likes a middle-of-the-night e-mail from their boss, and if you want to become a better leader, you’ll learn why. If you’re running your own business, you’re working hard, and so are the people around you. But setting parameters for work time and free time will help your team, and you, truly focus on task. Obviously there are times when after-hours works is unavoidable, but try your best to keep a strict time frame and stick to it.
- Don’t be Cheap: Sometimes, it’s the little things that really make people feel wanted, and part of a team. Celebrate your successes with generosity. Make sure your workplace has what it needs, and don’t cut corners. Buy your team lunch, regularly. In other words, don’t be afraid to use some cash to help build moral. Trust us, it goes a lot further than you think.
- Volunteer: In the business world, it’s easy to get caught up in work and money, but you should always make time to volunteer to help those in need. A good leader gives more than he/she receives, and it shows a lot of strength and good will to make sacrifices for others. It also shows your team that you’re not selfish, and willing to do what it takes for the greater good. You can even make donations on behalf of your company, but doing the work in person is truly the most valuable asset you’ll have.
- Be Yourself: It sounds cliché, but it’s very easy to forget when you’re caught in the moment or managing a high-pressure situation. Don’t sell out to what you think you should be. On the contrary, just be you. Chances are, you got to where you are today by being yourself, and to be a better leader, you’ll need to continue to do so. People respect honesty, and there’s no better way to convey this than being yourself.