Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of Resume Library lists his top tips for being a successful leader.
Being a successful leader isn’t easy. It requires you to stay focused on strategic business goals and steer your team accordingly. However, when combined with challenging team dynamics and constantly shifting priorities, successful leadership can feel like an impossible task.
As we approach 2020, being a successful leader won’t get any easier. With an election on the horizon and key economic policies subject to change; it will take strong leadership to keep your business afloat. With this in mind, here are some top tips to improve your leadership skills in the new year.
Communication is Key
When it comes to being a successful leader, nothing is more important than good communication. A business can’t move forward without a vision and set goals; and a team can’t deliver on those ambitions if they aren’t properly communicated. As a leader, you must ensure you can do this quickly and effectively.
The first step is ensuring your employees know how these long-term business goals affect them. Start by clearly laying out how their day-to-day efforts move the business towards these objectives; and why it’s important that they keep these in mind when planning any upcoming projects. This will enable your team to understand the bigger picture and be passionate about the work they’re doing.
However, a successful leader should also be able to communicate instructions clearly and efficiently. When passing on a task, be sure to cover the following:
A detailed explanation for what is required
A clear deadline for when the job needs to be completed
Any supporting documents that may be needed to carry out the task; or directions for finding them
Giving this information when delegating work enables your employees to do the task correctly – on the first try. Ultimately, this will improve productivity as staff can complete projects quickly and efficiently.
Don’t Forget to Delegate
A must-have for any successful leader is the ability to delegate. As a manager, your time will be taken up by forward planning and managing your team. This will mean you are responsible prioritising projects and allocating tasks accordingly.
While it might be tempting to take on the lion’s share of the work; it isn’t a productive way to operate. Rather than doing it all yourself, split a project up task by task. A successful leader will take the time to identify which tasks would be better suited to certain team members; considering any skills, interests and experience. This will free up time and enable you to keep tabs on the progress of the project; while supporting your team in developing their skills.
However, be careful not to micromanage. If you find yourself trying to excessively control or monitor your team, it is important you try to take a step back. Micromanaging can be detrimental to morale and can seriously reduce productivity. Be sure to check in on the progress of a task and offer assistance or support where needed; without being overly controlling or needlessly negative.
Trust is important in any relationship – including between a manager and their team. The first step to building trust is being transparent with your employees. Be honest about your mistakes; upfront about your expectations; and give clear feedback, both when giving praise and offering constructive criticism. This will allow employees to see things from your perspective and understand your decisions.
In addition, a successful leader will insist that team members respect each other and will encourage supportive behavior. Lead by example and make time to listen to their ideas, recognize their opinions and be respectful of their time. This will encourage a positive working environment and help employees to feel comfortable under your leadership.
Transparency and respect will result in a strong level of trust in any team. It means employees can see that you’re a fair boss, open to new ideas and that you understand everyone makes mistakes. This improves productivity and stimulates creativity, collaboration and innovation – the hallmarks of successful leadership.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Finally, it’s important to remember that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to leadership and management; every individual will have different needs. Some will respond to a more involved management style, while others might prefer a hands-off approach.
Either way, being a successful leader means you’ll be able to adjust accordingly and provide a supportive environment for development and learning.
Take the time to listen to your employees and figure out what they need to succeed. Whether it’s a firm hand, or the freedom to manage their own time – listening is key. Managing team members effectively helps to strengthen trust and makes employees feel valued; setting you apart as a successful leader.
Being a Successful Leader in 2020
Being a successful leader takes hard work and commitment but is worth the effort. Creating a team where trust, creativity and respect are paramount is the key to successful leadership and to a successful business.
It will improve your quality of work, create a safe space to be innovative; and give your business the edge over any competitors.
No matter how you look at it, being a successful leader will pay dividends in the long run and set you up for a brilliant year in business.
For more information on business topics in the United States, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief USA.