Three tips for becoming a better leader
We’ve all heard the saying “great leaders are born, not made,” but in today’s modern business environment, that doesn’t necessarily hold true. After all, as business evolves, so too does the definition of leadership.
At its core, the ultimate goal of leadership is to positively impact the behaviour of one’s followers. To do this effectively, you need to understand what motivates and empowers your employees—and leverage that information to move your company forward.
In a diverse, multi-generational business setting, not all employees will be motivated by the same leadership style. That’s why it’s important to adopt an approach that is less autocratic and more focused on qualities such as honesty, transparency and humanity.
These qualities are typically acquired over time, after years of experience and exposure to different management styles. That said, there are some steps you can take to accelerate the process:
Define your personal leadership style. One of the most fundamental aspects of becoming an effective leader is determining—and embracing—your own unique leadership style. Most leaders today abide by one dominant style, and then integrate others when necessary to get the most out of their people.
Learn how to work with a diverse range of leaders. In the past, there were believed to be three primary leadership styles—autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire—but today that number has dramatically expanded. To work well with others, you need to familiarize yourself with the nuances of each style—from task-oriented to people-oriented and everything in between—and leverage that knowledge to create a cohesive working environment.
Embrace flexibility. To meet the needs of all your employees—and maximize both productivity and innovative thinking—a leadership approach shouldn’t be set in stone. While it’s true that aspiring leaders need to make deliberate leadership choices, you also must be willing to tailor your style depending on the situation, and the people, involved.
Leadership is about moving people towards a common goal. To do this, you must speak loud enough to be heard but, as we’re now learning, also be willing and able to listen effectively. If you can do both, you can do more than achieve common business goals—you can help others find inspiration and job fulfillment. And what could be better than that?