Anyone can be a boss. Anyone can bark orders and take control of a group or project. But, it takes skill and patience to become a good leader. The best kind of boss is one that leads people in the correct direction, encourages discussion and questions and overall is more productive. Good leadership presents itself in different ways, but perception and communication tend to come out on top when people are surveyed about good bosses.
A good leader must be able to look at him or herself and accurately describe their weaknesses, strengths and current areas that could use improvement. A leader is honest with themselves about how they can help their underlings. A leader can look at a project, identify what he or she is good at and delegate anything that doesn’t fall into that category.
Another area of self-perception is knowing how people view you. A good leader can openly and honestly communicate with his or her team, and figure out points of leadership weakness and strength. They show genuine interest in their team, and appreciate each of them.
Knowing Your Team
A good leader knows what his team needs. A good leader knows when his team needs to slow down, take a break or start heading a new direction. They can evaluate what each team member can bring to the table, as well as what each team member needs from them as a leader.
Knowing the Organization
A good leader knows everything about the organization they work for, and how their team fits into the big picture and overall goals. A good leader knows when his team isn’t working towards the goals of the organization, and can help shift them to the right path.
The skill of listening is probably one of the most important as a leader. You must be able to pay attention to your team’s questions, concerns and comments. Pay attention when a member of your team talks, and really listen to what they are actually saying.
Body Language and Tone
This skill is twofold. A good leader knows how to control his or her body language and tone so that even in a stressful situation, he or she looks calm and in control of the situation. On the other hand, a good leader can also identify tense, stressful and upset body language and tone in his or her team. Being able to identify that an employee is struggling from far away is essential.
Not everyone is perfect, including a leader. But, leadership often involves giving feedback to employees. Providing useful feedback with actionable steps for an employee is essential. Focus on the employee’s work, not their personality. Rather than saying a presentation was awful, focus on how they can improve their public speaking skills by rehearsing with a partner or in front of a mirror. Show them how they can improve, rather than attacking their skills.
Set Clear Goals
As a leader, it is your job to identify what needs to get done. Setting clear goals for the day, week or year is important. Human nature is attracted to goals, and crossing things off the to-do list. Setting clear goals can boost productivity.
A good leader knows how to motivate his or her team, without barking orders. A good leader can guide employees into great work, without just barking orders. When work is looked at as a team effort, everyone feels important and wants to contribute.
Good leadership takes time, and can be a hard skill to learn. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely important skill if you are trying to grow your career or business.