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Wondering how to be a great business leader? Do these 3 things
Want to improve your leadership skills? Mailbutler teaches how to be a great business leader with some top tips.
Adam Fout is a recovery/mental health blogger at adamfout.com and a speculative fiction/nonfiction writer. He has an M.A. in Professional and Technical Communication and is a regular contributor to Recovery Today Magazine.
What makes a good business leader? It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think.
There are a few qualities of a good leader that anyone can cultivate. It’s a big misconception that you’re either a great leader or you’re not — that you can’t learn how to be a leader. What makes a business leader successful is not just competence in what they do but their ability to inspire their people to do the best jobs they possibly can.
Here are a few of the characteristics of a good leader that anyone can learn and put into practice to become a strategic business leader.
What makes a good leader? Trust your people
One of the biggest traits of a good leader is trust. Trust is incredibly important in business generally, but trust between you and your team is what makes the difference between a good business and a great one.
To put it simply, you need to trust your people. Micromanaging is the opposite of trust — it shows that you don’t believe your people are competent enough to do their jobs, which, ironically, will lead them to question everything they do (and therefore become less competent over time). They’ll also start to rely on you for everything, which will lead to more work for you. Eventually, they won’t do anything without talking to you or making sure you approve, which ultimately wastes your time.
When you trust your people, they’re going to start taking the initiative. They’re going to start trusting themselves to do well, and their competence will actually increase. They may still want you to hold their hand a little, but over time, they will become more independent if they see that you’re going to just put the ball in their court and see what they can do.
That independence means you can focus on what you do best. Your whole business will thrive because everyone will be operating at a high level in whatever it is they specialize in, rather than you trying to do everyone’s job.
How to be a good leader — lead by example
There’s the old saying that a boss tells you what to do but a leader shows you what to do, and there’s a lot of truth in that.
There’s a difference between micromanaging and showing the way. Micromanaging means your watching a person’s every move, that you’re criticizing everything they do, which means you’re basically doing their job for them. Leading by example, on the other hand, means you’re giving them examples of what they should do, giving advice, but leaving the actual doing to them.
You’re also doing the same thing when it comes to relationships in the office. If you have a good attitude, you’re showing others what kind of attitude is expected. If you have a good work ethic, they understand how they’re expected to work. However, if you’re always coming in late and leaving early, but you tell your employees they’re expected to work all hours, then you’re not leading by example — and you’re generating resentment.
Leading by example means your actions and your words are aligning. Basically, it means having integrity. You show them what you expect through your actions, and they follow that example as a result.
Have an open-door policy
When issues crop up with an employee, you need to know sooner rather than later. The best way to do that is with an open-door policy.
An open-door policy shows your employees that you’re approachable, that you can be talked to, that you might even be trustworthy. Remember, trust is something that’s built over time. If your employees don’t feel like they are able to talk to you then even if you trust them, they might not trust you.
That means issues can build up that you’re not even aware of. You might have employees who are fighting with each other when you’re not around, or an employee who is treating the others terribly. You might have someone in your office who is feeling like they’re failing at their job (even though they’re not). You might have someone else who is thinking of quitting because of an issue you’re not aware of.
You can’t fix all of these issues, but if you have an open-door policy, and you make it clear that they can talk to you about any work-related problems, then they’re going to be more likely to bring those problems to you before taking any drastic actions (like quitting).
Great leaders aren’t born — they become who they are through trial, error, and practice. If you put all of these suggestions into practice, you’re going to become a better business leader.
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