10 Ways to Be a Better Leader


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Pixabay.com: Public Doman. Free for commercial use.  No attribution required.
Pixabay.com: Public Doman. Free for commercial use.
No attribution required.

Whether you’re running a company or running a team, leadership is the magic in the mix that facilitates success. But the perennial question is: are leaders born or made?

According to Psychology Today, they’re mostly made. But leadership isn’t a tool you can purchase and apply, it’s a skill you must practice and evolve.

Leadership is known as a soft skill, and it is increasingly in demand, as a study of recent graduates has shown. So, how do you learn leadership?

If you follow these 10 tips you’ll not only start to act like leader, but you’ll begin to become one.

1. Be of Service

A true leader doesn’t just direct their team and then sit in their office and wait for the team to serve them. The mark of leadership is being available and, importantly, of service to your team. You need to get into the field (or cubicles) and roll up your sleeves to help troubleshoot, mentor and lead by example.

2. Be Inquisitive

Nobody knows everything, and acting like you have all the answers is a sure-fire way to turn your team against you. You should always be asking questions, humbly and earnestly. This is especially true when giving instructions. By questioning and dialoguing, you create an environment where it’s okay to ask questions and that you’re open to learning from your team in return.

3. Collaborate

Collaboration is one of those buzzwords that can mean different things to different people. At its core, collaboration means teamwork, which is exactly what you want to encourage. But collaboration is not a one-off meeting where you get ideas and then never act on them. Instead, you want to institute a culture of collaboration, where each member of your team feels responsible for their work, open to other team’s input, and that way everyone can see value in others and feel valued in turn, and thus buy into the work across the organization.

4. Be Generous

This may sound elusive, but all it means is that you have to give of your time and effort to help your team both in and out of the office. Be supportive of them as people, and help them meet their needs as generously as you can. If you are only giving them lip service, that’s not leadership, and is likely to have to opposite effect.

5. Be Mindful of Work-Life Balance

This dovetails nicely after the fifth point about generosity: support your team’s work-life balance, while modeling a healthy view of that yourself. If you don’t take into account your own health and wellbeing, as well as your team’s, then you risk more than just failure, so be sure to model a respectful balance of work and play on the job.

6. Help Train Your Team

You’re only as good as your team, so it’s imperative that you make sure they’re updated on the newest technologies and methodologies. Offering ongoing training is great way to keep them sharp and skilled at their jobs, and the byproduct is you’ll have a team that is well trained and feels supported. That boosts morale.

7. Train Yourself

What’s good for the team is good for the leader, right? Don’t neglect your own education. That means training, but also attending conferences and trade shows and the like to make connections, develop relationships and stay current on the state of your industry.

8. Be Accountable

You set an example for the culture and mood at work, so it’s crucial that you meet your deadlines if you’re expecting the team to do the same with theirs. If you hold yourself to a high standard and hold your team to that same standard, they’ll respond positively and do all they can to do what’s expected of them and more.

9. Be Honest

You aren’t going to lead through being deceptive. Sometimes the truth is hard to say, but avoiding it and making up excuses or downright lying about something is going to backfire hard on you. Your team’s trust and loyalty depends on you stepping up and speaking honestly. They’ll respect you and will likely model that behavior, too.

10. Be a Human Being

This should be the easiest tip to follow, after all, we were all born to play that role. You aren’t perfect, and it’s unrealistic to project yourself as such, both for yourself and those who are looking to you for guidance. You need to be relatable to your team, approachable and compassionate when they need it.

These tips aren’t solely for the C-level executive, but can work for everyone. You can be a leader of one or many, but if you can take these lessons and apply them in your work life, and even your daily personal life, then you’ll find that things proceed smoothly and obstacles are challenges to overcome instead of roadblocks that leave you and your team stymied.

Peter Landau
Peter Landau is the managing editor of ProjectManger.com, an Austin, Texas-based company that develops project management software. He has been writing for consumer and trade publications for many years in print, on the web and mobile platforms.


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