"You hire for skill and fire for personality" but equally could also say "employees don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad managers", which means in fact that the process of hiring and managing talent is based around the wonderful world of dealing with personalities, expectations and abilities. Today's leaders need to be able to influence a wider range of employees than ever before, understand the intricacies of the workforce at all levels and speak to each person therein.
Employees today expect a greater visibility of their leadership community thanks to social media and have expectations of how they should be communicated to by these leaders. Getting this right can have a profound impact on how connected individuals feel to an organisation and how much they are, in return, willing to contribute to the health, culture and profitability of a company.
1. Have a clear vision
Your job as a leader is to define the goals and vision for your company and to communicate that vision with your team. Providing them with a clear path to follow makes working together for a common goal all that much easier. If you all have the same vision, you will all work hard to see that vision come to fruition. Explain to them in detail how this vision will not only benefit the company, but as a result how it will benefit them. Transparency is key here.
2. Show you’re passionate
Show you care and your employees will care too. Having a genuine passion for the projects that you work on will not only get your employees motivated, but your excitement will rub off on others. Show employees that you appreciate their input, and show your enthusiasm. There’s nothing worse than a boss who doesn’t care.
3. Walk the walk
Be a role model for your employees by SHOWING rather than TELLING. The best leaders lead by example. Want your employees to follow process? Start by following it yourself. Your team will admire someone who works by example and will likely emulate your behaviour. Show the qualities that you would like to see in your employees.
4. Make concrete plans
Companies need direction, without a clear goal it’s difficult for anyone to get there. Make concrete plans for the future and map out how your team can help you get there with realistic timelines.
5. Remember that it’s not about you
Being a leader is not about being in charge, looking the best or being right. It’s about building up your team and motivating them to work to the best of their ability for the sake of your company. Remember that you are all on the same team and that you are playing a role in that team.
6. Stay positive
This may be difficult when everything seems to be going wrong, but a negative leader only spells disaster for the rest of the office. Showing apathy or negativity will only lead your employees to feeling the same way. By keeping positive about situations, you are reassuring your team while keeping them motivated to push through. People are also naturally attracted to positive attitudes.
7. Improve your communication skills
One thing to remember is that communication is a two-way stream. While being able to communicate your vision and goal is important, be sure to also pick up on any queues that others may be giving off. Listen to your employees when they have complaints, opinions or ideas and you will go far. Strive to continuously improve your communication skills.
8. Admit your weaknesses
The best leader isn’t someone who has all the answers, nor is it someone who never makes mistakes. A good leader is someone who identifies his or her weaknesses and utilises the team around them to learn and grow. Be humble and don’t presume that your opinion is always the right opinion. Trust others and watch your company blossom.
9. Keep on learning
The professional world changes constantly. Never remain complacent. Keep pushing yourself to improve and learn more about your industry to become a better leader. Stay open to everyone’s ways of thinking. Someone may have a better way of doing things than you do.
10. Think critically
Being a critical thinker is key to being a good leader. While staying open to everyone’s ideas helps your company to innovate and grow, being able to spot a good idea from a bad one is even more important. Look at projects critically, identify any potential problems that may lie ahead and find a way around them. Ask as many questions as possible to ensure that your idea is airtight.
11. Handle Conflicts with Grace
As a leader, you are going to run into difficult people and will be forced to deal with conflicts. Learn how to do this in a way that is authentically compassionate and your employees will respect you for it. Get straight to the point though. If someone is bringing a negative attitude into work, or isn’t performing the way they should, as a leader you need to step in and address them in private. Letting conflicts simmer will only lead to unhappy employees who will probably end up jumping ship. Always remember to listen to both sides of the story before jumping to conclusions though.
12. Learn how to delegate
If you want something done right, do it yourself. Right? Nope. The best boss is someone who knows how to select a team that he can rely on to get the job done. You can’t do everything yourself. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Learn how to delegate work to the best people for the job and try avoid micro-managing. You hired your employees because you believed in them. Now give them the space to prove you right. It will empower your team and free up your time, allowing you to concentrate on other things.
13. Encourage creativity and contributions
Your team needs to be encouraged to flex their creative skills. Make sure that you have an office culture that fosters ideas and promotes contributions from everyone. If people are too intimidated or scared to share their ideas, your company’s innovation will become stifled. Set time aside to brainstorm and share your creativity and offer new challenges to your team. While you retain final say over ideas, encouraging team members to have an active role makes them more confident and fosters loyalty.
14. Give rewards and recognition
Great leaders understand the importance of offering recognition and rewards to their employees. It is one of the best ways to help your team feel appreciated. Don’t just assume that because your team are doing their jobs well that they’re happy. A little recognition goes a long way. Offering help, removing barriers to success and rewarding your employees’ efforts are all ways to improve their working lives. Put your appreciation in writing or thank people in public. It goes far.
15. Discover your leadership style
At the end of the day there’s no one leadership style that suits everyone. Find a way that works for both you and your employees. Evaluate what your leadership style is like at the moment and identify areas that are working really well as well as areas that may need improvement.
The Instant Group is the global flexible workspace specialist. Underpinned by unrivalled expertise, Instant tailors unique solutions to help businesses of all sizes to grow, drive savings or gain invaluable insight. Established in 1999, The Instant Group has achieved 23% compound growth over the past four years and continues to expand with private equity funding secured from MML Capital in 2012. With offices in London, Berlin, Dallas, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney, The Instant Group employs more than 100 experts and has clients in 113 countries.