Being a wonderful leader isn’t easy – regardless of which industry you work in. Leaders need to be well-respected, inspiring, and effective, all while dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure. As a leader, it’s up to you to push positive change in your team, but this can be incredibly difficult – particularly when you’re asking people to go against the status quo.
The good news is that there are a few ways that you can improve your chances of leadership success. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best tips we could find to help you run your organization or group as successfully as possible.
Show, Don’t Tell
Great leaders don’t just tell their employees or team what to do and leave them to it. If you really want to inspire great change, then you need to lead by example. For instance, if you want your employees to be more punctual, then make sure that you always turn up to work on time – or even get there early if you can. If you’re concerned about professionalism, make sure that you always treat everyone in your group with the highest levels of respect.
Humility is Critical
Although there’s nothing wrong with being confident in your leadership, it’s important to make sure that you don’t spend too much time basking in the glory of a job well done. A great leader knows how to celebrate the people around them when they do something great and take a step back when it comes to announcing their own achievements. Remember to be humble – you can always celebrate your accomplishments with friends and family.
Give People Freedom
When you jump into a leadership position, it can be tempting to micromanage the people on your team and guide them every step of the way. After all, you have a vision that you want to realize, and you might have deadlines in mind that you want to keep up with too. However, constantly hovering over your employees’ shoulder isn’t going to inspire success. Instead, you need to show your group that you trust them and give them the freedom to spread their wings.
Know Your Limits
Even the best, most effective leaders have their limits. Set your boundaries as quickly as possible when you take on your leadership position, and make sure that you stick to them. The more you know about what you can, and can’t tolerate, the more you can reduce your chances of miscommunications and arguments within your team. Sometimes, to find your limits you’ll need to make a few mistakes and learn from them – this is all part of the growing process.
Be Emotionally Aware
Finally, while a lot of entrepreneurs seem to recommend keeping business and emotions separate, the truth is that when you’re a leader, it’s hard to break the two things apart. Business is ultimately about the people you connect with, and if you want to facilitate strong relationships in your team, then you need to be emotionally intelligent. This means being sensitive to different perspectives and backgrounds. Use your head to make careful decisions but have a heart too.
How do you put your best foot forward as a leader for your team?
How to Give Constructive Criticism to Your Followers
As a leader, it’s up to you to guide your followers towards success. It doesn’t matter whether you’re standing at the head of a non-profit organization, or a business, at the end of the day, you need to show the people that you lead how they can realize your vision and accomplish great things with your guidance.
While part of being an exceptional leader is knowing when to praise people for doing something right or accomplishing something incredible, it’s also important to know when you should be providing constructive criticism too. If you constantly brush over the things that your employees do wrong, then they’ll never learn from their mistakes.
Of course, giving feedback can be tricky, as it’s important to make sure that your people don’t take the things you say the wrong way. Leaders have to walk the line between offering helpful advice and hurting someone’s feelings. So, how do you get it right?
Start Off on the Right Foot
Instead of ordering someone to come into your office, invite them to take part in a conversation where you can both express your side of the story. Try to highlight the fact that you’re bringing these issues up because you want to help the person become better at whatever they’ve done wrong – you’re not just picking fault for no reason.
Remember that constructive criticism should always be offered in a private environment, as your employees don’t want their shortcomings aired to the entire office. On the other hand, praise can be a lot more public.
Stick to the Facts
No matter how devoted you might be to your cause, make sure that you don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Explain the situation carefully and talk about what you’ve witnessed happening in your group – but don’t draw any conclusions. For instance, if a task wasn’t finished on time, you can address the problem with punctuality, but don’t assume that it was due to a lack of interest from your employee.
To help the person you’re speaking to understand why the matter is so crucial, explain the impact that their behavior has had on the group, the rest of the team, and you.
Ask for Ideas and Make a Plan
Finally, instead of just telling someone off because they haven’t performed according to your standards, do what you can to make sure that the same problem doesn’t happen again in the future. For instance, think about how the situation could be improved in the future, and ask the employee for their thoughts on how they might be able to contribute better the next time a similar project arises. Remember to give your employee or team member a chance to tell their side of the story too.
Create a plan together and try to be clear on the next steps you’re going to follow. Ultimately, if you can end on a positive note, then you should. This will help the employee to see the constructive criticism for what it is, rather than taking the feedback too personally.
How do you apply constructive criticism in the workforce?
4 Tips for Managing Difficult Employees
Sometimes, leading a team can be a wonderful experience, and sometimes it can be a serious challenge. Management would be a much easier task if every employee or team member was hard-working and came with an exceptional attitude. Unfortunately, no matter how great your leadership skills might be, there’s always a chance that you’ll encounter someone who just doesn’t fit into your company culture.
The good news is that even the most complex employees can be handled if you’re prepared to put in a little extra effort. Though it’s fine to make sure that you let your team members know that you expect them to do their part, remember that it’s up to you to inspire and motivate your group into action. Here are a few ways to deal with difficult employees (without losing your mind).
Deal with Conflict Directly
Managers are constantly dealing with different forms of conflict. Whether it’s an issue with your supply chain, or a problem with your workers, there always seems to be a new problem to handle. This is why if you struggle with conflict, management might not be the right career for you. Ultimately, you need to be willing to stand up and take the lead when conflict arises. Don’t just wash over it or expect it to figure itself out. Look for fair and constructive resolutions, rather than just telling your employees that it’s your way, or the highway.
Stand in Their Shoes
While dealing with difficult employees can be a complex experience, it’s important to try and see things from their perspective. Though this is easier said than done, if you take a moment to step into the shoes of your employees, you might discover a way to solve the problem that you hadn’t considered before. For instance, if your employee is always late to work because they’re expected to do the morning coffee run for the rest of the group, then maybe you could share the task out among every member of the team instead. This could push your employee to make more of an effort when it’s their turn to collect the coffee, because they don’t feel as though they’re being used.
Set Clear Expectations
While it’s important to be direct and understanding when you’re trying to get ahead as an effective leader, it’s also important to remind your employees that you’re their manager, and you expect a certain level of professionalism for them. Lay out your needs and goals for your employees so that they can see what you want from them in the office. If someone steps out of line, then invite them into a conversation where you can discuss their issues and offer constructive criticism on how to improve.
Give Yourself a Break
Finally, remember that management is an incredibly difficult job for anyone to take on. While it’s tempting to push yourself as hard as possible, sometimes you need to simply take a moment to realize how much work you’re putting into your company or brand. Give yourself a break and congratulate yourself for every small accomplishment that you achieve.
How do you deal with difficult employees?
—Davenport Laroche, Headquartered in Hong Kong