We all want to be the ideal leader. Whether that’s in our own business, as an employee or generally in life. But what are the requirements in becoming such leaders? How should we think, speak and act? We want it to be in a way that emits ‘great leader’ vibes. Below are a few essential rules in becoming a respected leader by everyone. It’s important to note that you don’t need to have your own business to be a leader. You can work for an employer, but still lead a team. Your team doesn’t have to be a huge team of twenty people, even if you manage one person (or not!), you are a leader. You have to decide to be a leader. Are you a boss or a leader? There is a big difference between the two.

Communication is key
Communication is important, not only between leaders and their delegates in an organisation, but across all other levels too. One of the main problems people face in becoming a great leader is that they are not accessible to all levels of the organisation. There should be no barriers that employees need to overcome in order to communicate with leaders. There should be open communication and the best leaders are the most accessible ones.
Richard Branson reminds us that leaders should never forget that they are defined by their team. Allowing your team to raise concerns and also positives about the organisation as well as their work. One way to make sure you are accessible to the team, is to sit with them and work with them. If you have an office, don’t lock yourself up in there. Instead, spend a day or two ‘hot desking’ in different teams and show them that you’re all in this together – and more importantly, that you are a team. ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ remember?!

Be open to listening
Following on from my point above, not only is it important to be accessible, but it is also important to be open to listening to your team. Listen to what members of your team have to say, no matter how much you might dislike it. They are trusting you to take on board their views and make changes as you see fit. It might mean having to have difficult conversations, but if it benefits your team in the long run, you should be willing to have those difficult conversations for long term gain.

Great leaders have open lines of communication with their team, and implement positive change when their team raise concerns. Leaders and followers should work together to fix any problems that arise, in a way that mutually benefits both parties and this can be done by reaching a compromise. If something your team wants changed isn’t possible, tell them and tell them why, but be honest. People value honesty and will respect you for it.

“Great leaders and followers are always engaged in a creative collaboration”

Warren Bennis

Cut the interference
Are you the type of leader that constantly needs to know what’s going on and exactly what your team is doing? Do you always need to know your team’s whereabouts? Stop. Stop interfering if it’s not completely necessary. Trust that you have trained your team to produce good work and trust them that they have the integrity to use their time honestly and wisely. Unless team members give you a reason to be worried and unless you see their performance isn’t up to scratch, leave them to it. Even when you see that performance levels have dropped, have a conversation with those people and get to the bottom of why that might be.

Believe in the cause
Whether you have your own business, or are a leader within a bigger organisation, believe in it. Believe in the cause – believe in your business and the company. If you, as a leader, aren’t proud and confident in what you are doing, why should anyone else be? Richard Branson, who is one of the greats in the business world, argues that it is the difference between success and failure and we’re inclined to agree with him!

If you believe in the business and your team can also see that you genuinely do, they will believe in it too and they will work with more purpose, yielding better results.

The power of attraction is important here. If you really want the business to work and you believe in it, it will happen, you just need to put the collective work in with your team. There is no reason why it can’t

Consistency
When talking about consistency, I don’t mean stay at the same level of working, as you should always be aiming higher and trying harder. I mean stay consistent in terms of your behaviour. As a leader, if you take out stressful times on your team, you will inevitable create an uncomfortable working environment. It is your job, as a leader, to shield your team from pressure and negativity from those higher up in the organisational hierarchy. If you work in an organisation and your boss is being negative about the work your team is producing, it is your job as a leader to provide this information to your team in a constructive way. Don’t just bombard them with all the problems, work with them to find solutions – that is what a leader does.

Everyone has bad days, but as a leader, you must learn to control your emotions and not let it negatively impact the team. If you think you can’t be around your team without spreading unnecessary negativity, don’t sit with them. Take yourself away from everyone until you’ve calmed down and then go back and work with them.

 

Remember, as a leader, you are setting the scene for everyone and showing them how it is acceptable to be. If you don’t want your team to be a particular way, you shouldn’t be either. Leaders are empowering and inspiring. Are you? GSY