Leadership is an art and not everyone is a good artist. To be a good leader, it takes skill and a consistent effort to improve those skills. Practice makes a person perfect and doing the same things every day makes them a habit. Here are seven important things successful and effective leaders do every day and how it helps them perform to their full capacity.
They understand the power of effective communication
As a team, each individual is working towards mutual success. It makes no sense to keep important details to yourself and not communicate irrespective of whether the information is good or bad. Invite people to ask questions, allow them to share valuable insights, and be transparent with frequent updates. To be consistent, you have to ensure that each individual feels connected to the business goal. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly set and the same must be communicated to the team.
Show people how they will be benefitted from their efforts and in turn what it will bring to the team at large. “I would attribute effective communication to empathy. It is the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and think of things from their perspective. How would you feel if you didn’t know where your business was headed? Would you like to work in a team if you didn’t know your business’s growth and status in the market? Can you perform well and bring your full potential to the table if your manager didn’t clearly tell you what is expected of you? Think of these things and if they are details you would want to know, then don’t hold them back from your team,” said the design team lead at a digital marketing agency in Chennai.
They always keep the big picture in mind
Effective leaders never focus on getting through a particular day. They are focussed on the long-term results of their team and keep the big picture in mind. Where are you headed and what are you doing to make the process work? Try not to get caught up in petty day-to-day processes and lose sight of the ultimate goal. This focus will help you formulate better decisions and guide your team more effectively.
Outline the strategy your team is going to follow to achieve the business target and connect the success to each member of the team. People work better when they feel empowered and know that their efforts are contributing to consistent progress. It also works to maintain checkpoints throughout the year which you can use to reformulate your strategy. It will help you gauge your performance and understand if your actions are leading you to the big picture you have envisioned. If not, then there is always a scope to change gears.
They don’t hesitate to ask for help
One common trait that all good leaders have is their ability to ask for help. Some people think leaders can do everything on their own and asking for help is a sign of weakness. Leaders are hesitant to ask for help as they fear others would consider them to be incompetent, helpless or unintelligent. In reality, the strongest leaders are those who ask for help when needed. Irrespective of who they are receiving advice or help from, effective leaders are open to feedback that helps them grow. They take constructive criticism in their stride and their ego is not bruised based on who the feedback is coming from.
By asking for help and showing their team that they are not perfect, leaders are creating a culture of give and take where people do not hesitate to ask or offer help.
They embrace their mistakes and grow from them
Following the same note as the previous point, it is okay to make mistakes. Leaders are human too and are prone to make mistakes. What sets them apart and makes them effective is how they grow from the mistakes they made. It takes courage to admit mistakes, but good leaders showcase vulnerability by doing the same and then proceeding to discuss measures to ensure that the same is not repeated again.
“I have embraced the fact that I am not perfect and make mistakes. I also embraced the fact that I must learn from them every day. So, I welcome my peers to share their mistakes and what they have learnt with the team. It shows us the scope of where things go wrong and avoid them. Yes, one person made the mistake. But to ensure that others don’t make the same mistake, you have to create an environment to share such stories without fearing judgement,” said a PR executive from a reputed firm in Bengaluru.
They plan and provide the right resources
An effective leader always focuses on actionable plans so they can allocate tangible results the team can work towards. By understanding the big picture the team is working towards, they can construct a path for people to follow. A leader, as the name suggests, does not dictate – they lead. They stand behind the plan that is envisioned and guide the team to achieve it without getting distracted. They are also able to identify which resources will be required to complete the tasks and how to obtain them.
This could be physical needs like the technology to complete tasks, the office space to assemble the employees, or the reward systems. There could be mental or psychological aspects where the team has to be motivated and have a good work-life balance. There are many levels of needs and resources that the team will need to complete their job. A good leader understands those needs and provides those resources. They understand the task at hand and formulate a roadmap to get there.
They appreciate those around them to enable growing as a team
Leadership isn’t all about pointing out people’s mistakes and dictating rules to get things done. It also involves appreciating people when required and encouraging them to perform to their full potential. If you can be anything as a leader, be kind – a kind and empathetic leader can get a lot more work done than a harsh one.
This mindset will also help you connect deeply with your employees and peers and use their strengths to an optimum. People will trust you and approach you for their grievances and further suggestions. Having incentives in place and unique ways to acknowledge the efforts of your team will enable them to perform better. But keep in mind that the competition should always be healthy and at no point should people try to viciously outperform each other. Success must be celebrated by the whole team sportingly.
They know the art of building resilience
It today’s VUCA world, every business will face challenges and shortcomings. It is not possible to avoid that. But it is possible to build resilience and change the way you react to situations. Leaders must reframe their thinking and look at the challenge from a different perspective. This then allows them to identify a different response to the same situation.
It makes all the difference if your team is equipped to adapt to situations and bounce back quickly from setbacks. By building resilience, you can reduce the time your team takes to recover from circumstances and begin improvising to formulate an alternative plan. Demonstrating and maintaining positivity helps people recover from setbacks. They are able to think more broadly and guide their team to success.
What we have learnt here is that leaders are human too. A popular quote goes – To err is human. As humans, managers and leaders alike will make mistakes. But with a strong growth mindset and the ability to receive feedback from any step of the hierarchy, you can do wonders. It is all a matter of perspective and incorporating some changes in your routine to become an effective leader.
To know more about unleashing the authentic leader in you, click here.