Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a born leader. Leadership skills are something that anyone can learn. However, some people’s life experiences will indeed have prepared them better for leadership than other people. A person who captained a sports team at school, for example, will have learned some of the essential skills needed to lead at an early age.
For those people who have no experiencing of leadership, though, being thrust into a supervisory role can be tricky. An inexperienced leader will need to gain the trust of their team, while at the same time, develop their leadership style. So, if you have suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself being called the boss, read on. Here are ten tips that will make you a better leader.
If you have suddenly found yourself in a leadership role, it will be a bit nerve-wracking at first. But try not to panic because you will get the hang of leading people. You will need to take a different approach to how you deal with your co-workers. And you will not be able to be everyone’s best friend. It will take time for you to develop your own style of management. Look at where your strengths and weaknesses lie, but try not to be too hard on yourself. Remember that leadership is merely a skill that can be learned, but you will not become an expert leader overnight.
Don’t Become a Dictator
It would help if you established your authority over a team. Still, you do not need to adopt a dictatorship style of management to achieve that goal. Indeed, you will not get the best out of your team if you appear to be arrogant and aggressive. Be prepared to accept criticism and to take on board other people’s ideas. You may be the team leader, but you are still a member of the team.
Keep Your Emotions Under Control
No one will want to follow a leader who is riding on an emotional roller coaster. Your team will be looking at you for stability and guidance. They will not want to be wondering what kind of mood you are in before they come to you with a request or in need of advice. So try not ever to lose your temper when you are at work and try to leave any family issues you may be experiencing at home. Learning not to show your emotions can be one of the more challenging aspects of becoming a leader. But once you have mastered the emotional stability trick, you will find that you will gain more respect and trust from your team.
Lead by Example
The best way to get people to follow you is to lead by example. It will be unbelievably difficult for you to reprimand an employee for being late, for instance, if you always turn up late for work yourself. The old saying of “do as I say, not as I do” may work with kids, but it is not going to be helpful when you are supervising staff. Behave in the way you want your team members to behave, and your team members will follow your example.
Listen and Communicate
You will need to brush up on your communication skills if you want to be an effective leader. And you will need to become a good listener, too. Leaders need to communicate with the team as a whole and make the time for one to ones with team members. The people whom you supervise must feel that they come to you with both their grievances and their ideas. If you even appear to be not listening to your subordinates, you will find it challenging to motivate and manage your team. You will also need to learn how to modify how you talk to suit different types of people. While some people will respond well to a gentle approach, others may need to be spoken to in a firmer tone.
Demonstrate Your Passion
If you want people to follow you and help you achieve your goals, you will need to show that you are passionate about achieving those aims. When the team hits or beats a target, be sure to celebrate the achievement with the entire team. If it becomes necessary, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help team members if it looks like you might miss a target.
Encourage Employee Career Development
Whenever there is an opportunity to do so, encourage employees to broaden their skills, and take on new challenges. If you are going the extra mile to help your team members grow in their jobs, they will help you to achieve your goals, too. Training employees and helping them to progress their careers can be one of the most satisfying aspects of being a leader. Your star trainee may move on to another job when they have gone as far as they can go within your team. Even so, that person’s success will help to motivate the other people you supervise.
Be Positive in a Crisis
When things are not going according to plan, you will need to stay positive and lead the team out of the crisis. As a leader, you cannot be the person who puts your head in your hands in despair, even if that is what you feel like doing. Because if you look like you are about to give up, your team will follow suit. Try to stay positive and upbeat and motivate your team through difficulties. When the going gets tough, it’s the inspirational leaders who lead their teams to victory.
There is always something new to learn in any field, and leadership is the same. Keep on assessing your performance as a leader, and keep looking for ways to broaden your knowledge and skills. Reach out to other leaders and ask their advice whenever you feel you need it. As they say, it can be lonely at the top, so having a mentor to discuss things with can be extremely helpful when you are new to leadership.
Feedback from the people who work for you can be invaluable, so encourage feedback for your team on your performance as a leader. You must still retain your authority, so you don’t want to make every day open season on the boss! However, even the best leaders can use a little constructive criticism sometimes to help them grow their leadership skills.
In summary, being a leader in the modern workplace means leading by example and inspiring people to be their best. But no one can become an inspirational leader overnight. Hopefully, the above tips should set you on the right path to developing leadership skills.