Everyone can be a leader. Leadership is a skill rather than an innate trait; you can work on it and develop it to get better. Try implementing the four tips below to improve your leadership ability.
1. Improve your communication skills
Many, many problems can emerge due to miscommunication, from falling short on company targets to bad feelings in the office. A leader is able to clearly and specifically communicate his goals, vision, intentions, and expectations to others. When people think of “communication skills,” they often conflate it with confidence and eloquent public speaking when excellent leadership has more to do with the ability to listen well. You need to listen to criticism (no matter how hurtful) to be able to analyze them and sort the constructive ones for your own growth. You also need to listen to your employees’ feedback and accommodate them to create a collaborative and inclusive company environment.
2. Treat your employees as business partners
The moment your ego gets the best of you and start thinking that you are better than the rest of your team, it’s only a matter of time until you lose their respect. It’s a cliché, but be a leader, not a boss. Give clear directions to your staff, work together with them, and model to them what your company values are and how a good coworkers acts. It also pays to socialize with your employees and get to know them better. Empower your employees with information. If you find any difficulties, don’t hesitate to ask for ideas from your team. Doing so will increase your team’s sense of belonging.
3. Know how and when to delegate
Going off from the previous point, when you treat your employees as business partners, it means you trust them. When you trust your team, you should find no difficulties to delegate work to them. Delegating work will empower your team. They will feel more involved and have more opportunities to develop their skills. In the meantime, you can focus on your own goals. But remember that as a leader and business owner, you are still responsible for the company. Oversee and monitor company projects, but don’t suffocate your team by checking in too often.
For more on work delegation, read “When to Delegate vs When to Tackle the Work Yourself”
4. Be Decisive
So far we have talked about the components of a good leader – and a good leader is a compassionate leader. After listening to feedback and treating your team with equality and respect, however, you also need to make firm decisions. When your business is young or growing, you will often have to make fast decisions. Perhaps you need to decide how much to spend on new inventory or whether pursuing a partnership opportunity is worth it in the long term. If you are too hesitant, your business will be affected and you will lose your standing with your team. Of course, important decisions require a lot of thought and research, but once you have made your decision, be firm and don’t second-guess yourself.
Last but not least, humility goes a long way. Those who choose to follow your lead are putting their trust in you. The moment you betray their trust, it will be hard to earn them back. So treat their trust kindly and with respect.