We’ve all heard the phrase “born leader.” While some professionals seem to possess an effortless charisma that makes those around them fall in line with their decisions, the truth is that great leadership skills are more learned than innate.
Great leaders tend to have certain characteristics in common, but they were not born into them. Developing the ability to be a successful leader involves the creation of effective habits. The more these habits are practiced, the more automatic they become, which eventually results in leading with confidence and ease.
Whether you’re at the helm of a large, successful business, or struggling with managing a small team, chances are good that you would like to improve you leadership skills.
So, what habits can be cultivated by leaders at all levels, in order to make themselves more effective?
Define Your Mission
Great leaders have a purpose that transcends the bottom line. Once a leader’s true mission is defined, they will be able to communicate it confidently, clearly, and effectively, to all parties involved. When employees know that their work contributes to a big-picture goal, and can see how their role fits into the master plan, they will work much harder in order to make that concept a reality.
Know Your Employees
Effective leaders take the time to get to know their employees. Employees who know that their leader cares for their well-being are far more committed to that leader’s success. Not only that, but getting to know one’s employees personally allows management to spot potential personnel issues before they spiral out of control.
Organizations in which front-line employees never have a chance to get to know the management and their vision suffer from a disconnect that causes low morale, as employees feel undervalued. This general malaise is contagious, and as employees spread it to customers, the company’s bottom line is bound to suffer.
Open the Lines of Communication
Employees are often intimidated by their superiors. The most effective leaders create an environment in which others feel confident to share their opinions, regardless of their position in the company. One never knows where a brilliant idea will come from. Effective leaders harness the know-how of employees at every level, in order to shape an organization that is streamlined, efficient, and dynamic.
Set Clear Goals
For a business organization to be successful, the rank and file employees need to have goals, attitudes, and ethics that are aligned with the company vision. Most successful businesses are those in which everyone is working toward a common goal, and has an understanding of how their individual work contributes to the big picture.
If those in the workforce do not have a clear understanding of their objectives, or how their work contributes to a greater whole, the result will be fragmentation and a lack of focus. Effective leaders know the importance of setting clear, measurable, goals, and ensuring that their employees know why these goals are important.