What Makes a Good Leader?
by Myron Curry
It goes without saying that good leadership is crucial to any successful business. But, what makes a good leader and how can someone develop himself or herself into a good leader if they are not one to begin with? The answer is that there are many factors that contribute to good leadership. And, whether someone is naturally a good leader or not, anyone can become a good leader.
One of the factors of good leadership is communication. Communication is one of the most key elements of leadership. Good communication skills need to be learned to effectively become a good leader or manager. When communication occurs, as a leader, you will be able to accurately convey your ideas and thoughts to those that work for you. In fact, simply being able to convey these things in the first place, much less accurately, puts you in the right direction for leadership. If employees have no idea what is on your mind, your leadership is going to falter. Employees are not typically mind readers.
If there is a problem a certain employee is experiencing, good communication can filter the problem out. You, as a leader, can dissect the problem and offer solutions in various ways.
Ideas that are given to employees work both ways, as well. Employees can give helpful feedback and generate new ideas to you that help the company as well, but only when good communication is present.
GET THINGS MOVING
Motivation is another variable that plays into good leadership. Employees tend to stagnate when motivation decreases and it will decrease, without proper motivation. Many leaders try to motivate the old-fashioned way through fear. (Do what I say or something bad will happen) This is not advisable, since it tends to only deliver short-term results and cause even less competent work in the long run, due to resentment resulting from the fear tactics.
Instead, try adding challenges for employees. A fresh challenge always adds excitement and spawns creativity. Challenge your employees with tasks that may be slightly out of their comfort limit and let them at it! This increases motivation.
If they run into a snag, guide them towards a solution but don't offer the actual solution outright. Coach them into discovering the solution themselves. Once they have, their self-esteem will rise, thereby raising their motivation level.
TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Teamwork is always something to consider when striving to become a good leader. This means not only teaching your employees to work together but to become part of the team yourself.
Use others potential. Many times, an employee's potential is wasted. A good leader recognizes that his or her employees are more than just employees, they are people too. These people have lives outside of work where they have to make decisions on a daily basis, from how to deal with house payments, to car bills, to raising children, to uncountable tasks in everyday lives. Yet, at work, their decision making skills are not trusted enough to choose what type of toner needs to be ordered for a set of printers.
The point here is that employees need to be trusted to do more. A good leader doesn't manage every single detail. Use other people's potential to your benefit. You will find that you have become a better leader for it.
BACK TO SCHOOL
As always, increasing your education is definitely a good thing when trying to improve leadership, but the school that really needs to be brought to your attention here is the kind of school that you don't get a degree for.
Take the time to learn as much about your position of being a leader as possible. Do some reading at the nearest book store. Talk to other leaders and see how they do things; trade notes. The more you continually evaluate yourself and your practices, and search for as much information on leadership as possible, the more you will be able to keep up with changing times and the better leader you will be for it.
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