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How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations. – Navy SEAL Creed

Most great leaders have a passion for building and leading an elite team. Who wants to lead a team based on mediocrity and moderation anyway? That would be a direct negative reflection on who? The leadership. But leading elite teams takes persistence and a consistent pursuit of personal and professional development. Constant personal reflection and taking action based on regular feedback.

I try to constantly study the art of leadership and have drawn many comparisons from my time in the Navy SEAL teams to my experiences as an entrepreneur leading a growing company. Here are five tips for leading an elite team.

Create an environment of leadership. At all levels. When you consider the caliber of team members you find in the military your first inclination might be to wonder how they recruit and develop such selflessness. Such an attitude of service and loyalty to the person to your right and left. But with further consideration, one will realize that it is more about the environment and culture that creates these attitudes and makes them a reality.

Elite teams have leaders at all levels. There are many successful organizations out there where the most senior leaders are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities. And because they are authorities, people do what they say. But those people would never truly follow them. And then there are people at the very bottom of the totem pole that are true leaders. Emergent leaders that take charge in the absence of orders and inspire those around them.

Make the team feel safe. Management and leadership are different disciplines.You cannot manage a team into combat. They must be led. It is hard to think that anyone would feel safe in a combat situation. It is all about trust and loyalty. When you trust the leadership and the team members to your right, left and rear, you have an overwhelming sense of comfort. When bullets start flying, politics go out the window. You are fighting to protect your teammates and nothing more.

Imagine if everyone on your team embodied this kind of philosophy? What an unwavering sense of loyalty that would create, and therefore a distinct competitive advantage over your competition. This starts at the top by senior leaders staying calm under pressure, communicating effectively, providing resources and removing obstacles. When the team feels safe and supported, they will do everything in their power to execute their responsibilities and go above and beyond to help achieve company goals.

Actively manage through adaptive change. This is critical in combat as in business. All businesses experience change, especially growing businesses in dynamic industries. Great leaders know when it’s time for change, even if it means reinventing your business. This can be a scary thing for the team and often things get worse before they get better.

Change management requires a few key things from the leadership. First, you need to communicate what the change is and why it is necessary for the company to continue to be successful. Second, you need to ensure that each team member regardless of rank or position understands how this change impacts them and what is required of them for productive implementation. Third, you need to make the team aware of what the leadership is doing in order to provide support and resources during the transitional period of change. And fourth, over communicate consistently during this time and get feedback. In the SEAL teams we say “pass the word.” Simply put, this means tell me what the hell is going on. Make sure to tell your team what the hell is going on.

Be a servant to your team. I recently finished reading Steven Pressfield’s historical fiction ‘The Afghan Campaign’ about Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Afghan kingdoms in 330 B.C. And Alexander, in all his ambition and arrogance, was at heart, the epitome of a true servant leader. He led from the front affording himself no additional comforts that his men didn’t have during their brutal trek through the Hindu Kush Mountains.

Great leaders embrace the concept of servant leadership asking nothing of their team they haven’t already done or aren’t willing to do themselves. And while you can’t always be in the trenches side-by-side with your team members, making a conscious effort to do so periodically goes a long way. Then, when you’re out there steering the ship they know you still care intimately about their specific roles in achieving the company’s vision.

Always eat last. Traditionally, in the military the officers eat last at chow time. This is a simple but impactful gesture of leadership. When you sacrifice for your team, they will sacrifice for you. It is the team that must execute on a daily basis and therefore it is imperative they have the resources to do so, even before you do.

Earlier I referenced the book ‘The Afghan Campaign.” When Alexander was leading forced marches through treacherous and unforgiving mountain conditions, eventually the food ran out. He could have easily had a personal supply train providing him with food and all the comforts of home, but he didn’t. When his men didn’t eat, neither did he. Yet he still projected strength and positivity despite seemingly impossible odds.

These five elements of leadership are not easy to execute on a consistent basis. It requires a daily focus and attention. Asking yourself, with each move and decision you make, am I being the best possible leader I can right now? If not, adjust accordingly.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Whether you’re heading up a new team or taking the reins of an existing one, leading a team for the first time can be daunting. There’s no bedrock of personal experience to build on. If you’re a first-time team leader then you’re probably either relishing the challenge or considering running for the door—or a bit of both.

Here are eight tips to help you establish and maintain a productive, collaborative team while developing your leadership talents along the way.

1. Make time to lead

To be effective, team leaders need to invest time in the role. Too often, this responsibility is simply added onto someone’s already lengthy task list, thus setting the new leader up for failure. As a team leader, you need to be visible to the team and available to support them. If you’re predominantly tied up with your own critical hands-on tasks, you won’t be. So, be sure to review and re-negotiate your workload before taking on a leadership role in the first place.

2. Get to know your team

Leadership is all about how you influence your team to achieve its objectives—something you’ll struggle to do if you don’t get to know your team members and what makes them tick. While it might be tempting to jump in and start making big moves from day one, remember that you’re not there to flex your ego.

Take time to listen to your team members; find out what their issues and aspirations are, gather ideas, and identify potential strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you formulate a leadership approach that stands a chance of success. Getting to know who you’re working with is the first all-important step to bonding with the team and establishing their respect and trust. The old adage of listening twice as much as you speak still holds true.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Once your team is up and running, it’s imperative to keep the communication going to build relationships, assess progress, and identify risks and issues. Plus, you’ll get more engagement from team members if they see you investing time in them and showing interest in their activities. Make expectations and responsibilities clear so that everyone knows who’s doing what, why and by when. This seems obvious but don’t assume everyone has your detailed understanding of the project at hand. Encourage and embrace new ideas. The more your team can contribute to the project, the happier they’ll be.

4. Lead by example

Think about the behaviors you want and expect from your team members and be sure to exhibit those traits yourself. You’re the role model, so what you say and do will impact the team’s daily work habits and attitudes. That said, it’s important to be yourself and to believe in yourself. If you fake it, you’ll soon be unmasked and you’ll lose credibility and trust.

Be open, honest and passionate. Treat everyone on the team fairly, with respect and without favoritism and you’ll find those behaviors returned. Extend the same courtesy to the rest of the organization as well. Never undermine or criticize other individuals or departments in front of the team. Make it clear you’re all there to work towards success for the big picture.

5. Reward the good and learn from the bad (and the ugly)

Be quick to recognize good performance and reward it where appropriate. You might not be in a position to hand out pay raises and promotions but a little bit of verbal praise goes a long way in showing your team you are both aware of and appreciative of their achievements.

Be equally as timely in tackling poor performance issues. The longer you leave them, the tougher they’ll be to fix. Look for the best in people and understand that mistakes will happen. When they do, learn from them and see how they can be prevented in the future. And whatever you do, don’t play the blame game.

If you need to have a challenging conversation, do it in private; no public floggings. And don’t try to win a popularity contest. Not all your feedback and initiatives will be well-received, but if you concentrate more on being everyone’s friend instead of being a strong leader, the work will suffer, as will your integrity.

6. Delegate

Trust your team to do its job. Being a team leader doesn’t mean you’re there to do other people’s work for them. Be clear on what’s expected of everyone and let them get on with it. When issues or opportunities arise, empower the team to find a resolution themselves with your support—don’t add every new issue to your own to-do list.

7. Be decisive

Don’t procrastinate. Grab the nettle when you need to. It’s all too easy to defer the difficult decisions, but ultimately costly for the job in hand and how you’re viewed as a leader. If things go wrong, take a breath, gather the information you need to make an educated decision and make it. Don’t be afraid of seeking help (it’s a sign of strength, not weakness). Team management is an ongoing learning process and you will never have all the answers.

8. Enjoy it!

Team leadership is often challenging but frequently rewarding. Heading up a team that’s working well and delivering results is a great feeling, so go do it!

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Managing a team can sometimes be a tough task. The performance of the team and their success usually depend upon how successfully the team leader can manage his team.

Being a boss and being a leader are different from each other.

A leader uses his creative mind to find any solutions and will always carry his team together. The role of a leader is never smooth, it is the responsibility of the leader to inspire, lead and motivate his team to accomplish a set of goals for the organization. It is also the job of the leader to acknowledge the rare qualities of every individual in his team and properly use them.

Concentration on goal:

To become a good leader, you have to be very focused on your goals. There will always be distractions and personal problems in the path of becoming a successful leader. But effective leadership is the one who knows how to prioritize the most important tasks.

Innovative and Creative:

Effective leaders have the quality to think like innovators and keep their creative minds flowing to keep up with all the business transformations widespread in the recent world. Patience is the best measurement for effective leadership. So, a leader should have the ability to think out of the box and create new ideas.

Team development:

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” said Helen Keller.

A successful leader knows how to harness the talents of those on your team with skill sets different from your own. If you want to be a successful leader then you should carry your team altogether, you should be able to identify the unique skills of every individual in the team to achieve the best possible outcome.

Communicate with the team:

You should always communicate with your team members, this will help to build a strong relationship with your employees, plus, you’ll get more engagement from team members if they see that how you are investing time in them and also how you are showing interest in their activities. Encourage and embrace new ideas. The more you indulge your team can contribute to the project, the more they will be happy.

Appreciate and reward good work:

It can be a chance that you might not be in a position to hand out pay raises and promotions, but always be quick to recognize good performance. You can’t reward them it’s alright but a little bit of verbal praise goes a long way in showing your team you are both aware of and appreciative of their achievements.

A successful leader can influence others if they have credibility, confidence, consistency, and competence. Leader increases their influence is through building connections with others.

One of the best examples of such leadership is Dr. Vivek Cheba, a certified specialist in orthodontics and the owner of Clarity Orthodontics. Dr. Vivek Cheba Orthodontist is a dedicated orthodontics specialist and is committed to building relationships and getting to know his patients on a personal level.

Developing leadership skills can enable you to improve your performance in your current job and advance your career trajectory. With the right approach, you can establish your ability to lead in any role or industry. In this article, we discuss how to demonstrate leadership skills at work.

What are leadership skills?

Leadership skills are the abilities that you use to guide coworkers toward successful outcomes with workplace objectives. Whether you are overseeing a company or managing a project, your leadership skills can inspire others to reach their shared goals. Some of the most common leadership skills include:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Feedback
  • Motivation
  • Positivity

How to demonstrate leadership skills in the workplace

Developed leadership skills can help you guide your team with confidence. Here are 11 ways to show leadership skills at work:

1. Listen and learn

As a leader, you spend a lot of time communicating with your team. Part of this communication will include listening closely to those around you. Aim to remain receptive to others’ ideas and to learn from their approaches. Take all ideas into consideration as you make important decisions. You are more likely to earn the respect of others when you listen to and learn from them, which benefits everyone on the team.

2. Communicate clearly

When you adopt a leadership role, clarity becomes essential. Whether you are delegating tasks, exchanging ideas or reporting on results, convey your message as precisely as possible. Nonverbal communication can also help. Use eye contact, hand gestures and body language to emphasize key statements and give your message a greater impact.

3. Do your best work

As a leader, you should continually seek out ways to improve your skills and expand your experience. With this approach, you can showcase your ever-increasing capacity to grow. Striving to do your best in every situation also allows you to highlight your strong work ethic and your focus on excellence.

4. Take responsibility

Taking responsibility for both successful outcomes and mistakes is a strong sign of leadership. To show leadership, be accountable for your contributions, even when they lead to poor results. Identify which systems could use improvement and spend time revising them. By demonstrating that you can accept praise and criticism equally, you demonstrate stability as a leader.

5. Set a strong example

When you undertake projects proactively and approach your work positively, you can motivate others to do the same. By setting a good example in the workplace, you can more easily lead colleagues toward a successful outcome. Aim to serve as a role model whether or not you have an audience. This method can help you improve your performance continuously so you will be better prepared to lead when necessary.

6. Include everyone

Exercise your leadership skills by including your entire team in projects, meetings and key decisions. Strive to identify strengths, and embrace diversity to avoid limiting your growth. By opening yourself to new approaches and considering innovative viewpoints, you can build a more capable team in the process.

7. Strive for authenticity

Craft your own approach to leadership that incorporates your unique goals and vision. Start by identifying your core values. Consider what qualities you admire most, the type of corporate culture you want to encourage and the resources that help you do your best work. Think about your professional goals, what you want to accomplish in the workplace and how your team can contribute to something greater. Together, all of these factors can help you craft your own authentic leadership style.

8. Become a thought leader

Demonstrate that you have a strategic vision by positioning yourself as a thought leader. Try reading about the cutting-edge developments in your industry and sharing them with colleagues or in professional settings. Add your own commentary and critiques to showcase your vision, and consider publishing your own forward-thinking pieces. Seek out opportunities to speak about your strategic vision at work to establish yourself as a thought leader.

9. Seek management training

To show your commitment to becoming a leader, seek out management classes. Ask your supervisor about internal training sessions, external classes or other ways you can practice your skills in a professional setting. Try compiling a list of areas where you want to improve so you can advance your skills effectively.

10. Make key connections

Interacting with exemplary leaders can improve your leadership skills, too. Seek out managers you admire at work and create closer connections with them by setting up an informational interview or an informal meeting. Next, find professional associations in your area, and start networking with leaders in your industry. Attend panel discussions, educational sessions or networking events to connect with industry figures you respect.

11. Find a role model

To find the ideal mentor, think about where you envision yourself professionally in 10 or 20 years. Consider the challenges you will need to overcome and the skills you will need to master. Even if your mentor works for another company or in another industry, you can learn critical leadership skills and gain guidance from someone you admire professionally.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

The first rule of team building is an obvious one: to lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.

  • Consider each employee’s ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea.
  • Be aware of employees’ unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings.
  • Act as a harmonizing influence. Look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disputes; point continually toward the team’s higher goals.
  • Be clear when communicating. Be careful to clarify directives.
  • Encourage trust and cooperation among employees on your team. Remember that the relationships team members establish among themselves are every bit as important as those you establish with them. As the team begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.
  • Encourage team members to share information. Emphasize the importance of each team member’s contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.
  • Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Let the team work on creative solutions together.
  • Facilitate communication. Remember that communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. Instead it means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by doing everything you can to avoid confusion in your own communication.
  • Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance. Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that employees get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards. Discuss with your team:
    • What do we really care about in performing our job?
    • What does the word success mean to this team?
    • What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?
  • Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.
  • Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee’s commitment to all phases of the work.
  • Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.
  • Establish a method for arriving at a consensus. You may want to conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals, or establish research committees to investigate issues and deliver reports.
  • Encourage listening and brainstorming. As supervisor, your first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that’s how you’ll spur your team on to better results.
  • Establish the parameters of consensus-building sessions. Be sensitive to the frustration that can mount when the team is not achieving consensus. At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Executive teams play 2 critical roles in an organization.

The first is obvious: They provide strategic and operational leadership to the company. They set goals, develop strategies, and ensure the strategies are executed effectively.

The second is less obvious but just as important. The executive team provides the organizational and cultural DNA for the company. How well the executive team functions as a collective leadership body, and how its members interact, serves as the model that teams throughout the organization will follow.

Executive Team Effectiveness

You could fill entire libraries with the books and studies written about strategy and operations. But the second role of the executive team gets less press. Because it receives relatively little attention, team effectiveness can be the basis of significant competitive advantage for companies that get it right.

In our recent survey of senior executives, 65% indicated their executive teams were experiencing a clash between functional and enterprise accountabilities. But fewer than 1 in 5 rated their executive teams as “very effective.”

In the same survey, nearly all executives agreed that increasing the effectiveness of their executive team would have a positive impact on organizational results.

In other words, when the executive team functions better, the whole organization functions better.

The Best Executive Teams Have These 3 Things

The best executive teams are characterized by 3 vital threads that run through everything they do.

  • Strategic focus. Effective executive teams establish a vision for the organization and invest considerable time and energy at the strategic level. They balance risk and innovation, anticipate future needs and opportunities, and seek to ensure the organization’s sustainability.
  • Collective approach. Top-performing executive teams work together, taking an enterprise-wide view of their individual and team functions. They model for the entire organization ways to break down silos and develop solutions to business problems together. Individuals on top-performing executive teams prioritize the interests of the organization over individual gains.
  • Team interaction. Finally, the best executive teams are intentional in their interactions. They value their differences, listen and communicate well, seek input from each other, and trust and respect one another. These behaviors make teams more effective. Crucially, they also model for the rest of the enterprise what team interactions should look like.

5 Keys to Build a High-Performing Executive Team

Part of every CEO’s job description should be to “build and develop a world-class executive team.” This is challenging because the qualities that typically earn senior executives a place on the executive team are necessary, but not sufficient, for peak performance on that team.

So how does one build a highly effective executive team? There are 5 keys:

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

  1. Get the diagnosis right. The CEO or top leader at an organization should understand what drives individual executive-team members and what makes them work — or not — as a group.
  1. Get the leadership mental model right. Executive team members must have an explicit understanding of, and agreement with, what it means to lead at the enterprise level. Senior executives must understand that their role on the team goes beyond functional responsibilities.
  1. Get the mindset right. For seasoned leaders, the executive team shouldn’t represent the summit of their professional development, but rather a new challenge that requires them to continue to learn and grow. They must also bring this perspective to their direct reports and others with whom they interact, encouraging them to develop beyond their technical expertise.
  1. Get the interactions right. Creating explicit “interaction rules” to guide how team members interact with one another is critical to building effective teams. Members of the executive team must be transparent, vulnerable, and comfortable learning in public; they must also have strong communication skills.
  2. Get the diffusion rules right. Finally, executive teams are only effective when their decisions, thinking, and behaviors can spread quickly across large numbers of people at all levels of the organization. This ensures that strong, healthy executive team actions and values can be modeled by other teams throughout the enterprise.

You may be wondering whether your company is getting all the value you could out of your executive team. Read Are You Getting the Best Out of Your Executive Team? for tips on how to increase executive team effectiveness, symptoms of ineffective teams, and tools to evaluate and improve executive team performance.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Build your executive team effectiveness, drive change, and execute strategy across the business. Partner with us for a custom executive team development engagement to assess the effectiveness of your executive team and help them work more cohesively and effectively, manage complexity and change, and lead the organization to achieve what matters most.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King. People like this are the epitome of effective leadership and some of the greatest leaders who became world-class influencers.

These are the people we often turn to when we need some nuggets of brilliance when it comes to successful leadership.

Although they are gone, their words of wisdom on effective leadership continuously inspire, motivate, and touch other people’s lives.

Anyone Can Become an Effective Leader

You just need a strong drive to develop and improve yourself in leading others.

Yes, being a leader is a big responsibility. You are responsible for organizing and inspiring other people to work hard to meet the team’s goal.

If you have no idea how to become an effective team leader, perhaps getting some inspiration from best-known leaders’ can help you shape your leadership skills and qualities:

Empowerment

Empowerment is an important factor in leadership. Every member of the team should be empowered.

It’s the leader’s responsibility to create a culture that instills good attitude, motivates team members, and encourages self-reliance in the organization.

Once you’ve achieved this, your team members will demonstrate initiative and do their work without being micro managed.

Let your team members function on their own and only offer help when needed. As a leader, keep motivating your team members and bring out their full potential in their work by giving them constructive feedback.

If you practice what Lao Tzu advised, you will have an empowered, happier, more productive, and more independent team.

Accountability

An effective leader sets an example for others. As a leader, you must be accountable for all your actions.

To be in a leadership position is not merely a job that you have to do. You are a leader because of how much is required of you.

Leading by example is the best way to lead others, yet it is far too often overlooked. As future great leaders, learn from being a good example. Provide clear and concrete actions for your followers to emulate.

Be Inspirational

This quotation clearly shows the essence of true leadership. Good leaders became great leaders because of their actions. Their action determines how they influence their followers.

In order to make your people motivated to be their best, you must provide inspiration.

The power of a leader doesn’t come from authority or control over everything, it comes from being inspirational.

Be a Visionary

Effective leaders are known for being “visionaries”. They are comfortable exploring the unknown, thinking of what the future will become rather than being content with things they see now or be troubled about things in the past.

To become a visionary leader, you must think about the opportunities of tomorrow and not focus on the problems of the past.

Be a long-term thinker when it comes to making decisions. Consider how your decisions now will affect your organization’s future.

Cultivate your characteristics of being a visionary leader. It will help you to become an excellent leader and it will also inspire your team to work towards success.

Don’t Be a Boss

A leader and a boss are two different terms with two different roles. A leader inspires his people while the boss drives his employees.

The main aim of the boss is to make profit while a leader thinks first about his people.

If you choose to become a good leader, then you must act like a true leader.

Inspire your team to work well, not force them to do what you want them to do. Teach them the importance of “We”.

Innovation

Leading from behind doesn’t mean you are abandoning your responsibility to lead. This quote talks about innovation. As a leader, you should become an innovator.

Do not let your organization stagnate, instead ensure that the team is willing to innovate.

Allow your members to get involved, let their voices be heard, and do something larger than themselves in achieving the team’s goals.

Leadership is not only about the person who leads in front, but rather it is about the concept of allowing others to step up and take the lead.

Teamwork

Leadership is not about the blame game or who is the best and who is not. If your team members fail to do their work properly, do not scold, yell, or blame. Effective leaders focus on the good.

If you want to have a pleasant and positive relationship with your team, you must treat them with respect and they would do the same.

Help them to improve by letting them know that you have faith in their abilities.

Which Leadership Quotes Do You Live By?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Employees Need to Believe They Can Trust Their Leader

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Westend61 / Getty Images

Leaders are hard to find—at any level of your organization. Leaders exhibit a unique blend of charisma, vision, and character traits that attract people to follow them. They exhibit the other nine characteristics around which this article series was developed as well.

But, mostly, as they exhibit these leadership traits and characteristics, they become the person that other people want to follow—even choose to follow given the opportunity.

What Respected Leaders Know

Respected leaders know that they can’t just walk into a room and say, “Hey I’m the leader. Follow me.” If you’re the boss, you can get away with this attitude to a certain degree, but the followers you attract will be compulsory and not following you by their own choice.

They will heed your advice and obey your commands, but it is involuntary followership based on your organizational hierarchy to a large degree.

Leaders understand that to actually lead most effectively and successfully, they need to attract people who want to follow them.

How Leaders Attract Followers

Leaders recognize their need to attract followers. Followership is the key to understanding leadership. To follow, people must feel confident in the direction in which the leader is headed. To have this level of confidence, the leader must have clearly communicated the overall direction, the key outcomes desired, and the principal strategies agreed upon to reach the outcomes.

Then, employees are enabled and empowered to do their part in accomplishing the stated objectives. They have the framework that they need to guide their own actions. And, empowered employees do want to guide their own actions. You will fail as a leader to your best employees if you ever forget this fact.

Employees Need to Trust Leaders

One of the key factors in whether an employee stays with their current employer is that the employee has confidence and trust that the leaders know what they are doing. This confidence gives employees the control they need for their livelihood and supporting their families.

Further, leaders people follow are accountable and trustworthy. If progress towards accomplishing the goals ceases, the leader takes responsibility to analyze the problem—they don’t search for people to blame.

Consequently, people can have confidence that their leader won’t punish them for their efforts if they take reasonable and responsible risks that are well thought out and well-founded. They are accountable and responsible to deserve their leader’s confidence and trust.

Leaders Should Recognize and Reward Success

Followers need to believe that, at the end of the journey, their leader will recognize and reward them for their contribution. The leader must help followers answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Successful leaders are honest about the potential risks inherent in the chosen path as well as the potential rewards.

They communicate, not just the overall direction, but any information their followers need to successfully and skillfully carry out their responsibilities. They recognize that for their followers to perform most effectively they need to understand the big picture.

They also know that their job is to remove barriers that may have a negative impact on the employees’ success—not to micromanage how the employees accomplish their work.

Employees Need Information

They need to know why the organization is pursuing the current strategies. They need their leader for guidance and to help remove any barriers they may experience along the way. Mostly, they need the assurance that their leader has confidence in their ability to perform and produce the desired outcomes.

If any of these factors are missing, leaders will have a tough time attracting followers. At the end of the day, it is the entwining of the relationship of the leader with the followers that makes their organization or portion of the organization succeed.

When the Leader Is Also the Boss

Occasionally, the leader is the person who is in charge, the founder of the business, the CEO, the president, or department head. Leadership qualities combined with positional power magnify the ability of an individual to attract and retain the all-important followers.

In fact, business owners can count on a certain amount of respect and followership based on their ownership and title. Longevity, too, plays a role in attracting and retaining followers. People who have followed the leader for ten years are likely to continue to follow unless they lose trust in the leader’s direction.

But, never forget, no matter what your position is in the organization, even if your current job is a valued contributor, you can become a leader that other employees want to follow.

In fact, in organizations, one of the reasons employees are promoted to positions such as team leader, supervisor, or department manager, is that they have demonstrated over time that people will follow them.

Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style

Much is written about what makes successful leaders. This series will focus on the characteristics, traits, and actions that many leaders believe are key.

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How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Let’s be honest. Being a great leader ain’t easy. As in an effective, inspiring, well-respected leader for your company.

The good news is that we’ve compiled this list of awesome, actionable leadership tips that will have you running your business. like a boss — a good one. Some are relatively basic but are important reminders. Others, well, perhaps you’ve never considered before.

Consider these tips when upping your leadership game:

1. Lead by example.

Leaders need to show, not just tell. If you want your employees to be punctual, make sure you’re there on time — or even early. If professionalism is a priority, make sure you’re dressed for success, and treat everyone you interact with (both in-person and online) with courtesy. Set the tone and your employees will follow it.
Read more: 5 Ways to Lead by Example at Work

2. A little humility goes a long way.

There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. While it might seem counterintuitive, being humble takes more confidence than basking in glory. Your employees will appreciate it, and your clients will, too.
Read more: Turns Out, Humility Offers a Competitive Advantage

3. Communicate effectively.

Effective communication is imperative, both in the office and in life. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street, and making the most of it will have your company zooming forward instead of pumping the breaks.
Read more: 4 Tips on Managing Your Business Communications

4. Keep meetings productive.

As the saying goes, time is money. So, of course, you should want to limit tangents and other time wasters during meetings. If you trust your team to do their job, there should be no need for micromanaging, and meetings can run swiftly.
Read more: The 7 Must-Know Rules of Productive Meetings

5. Know your limits.

Even the kindest, most caring leader has limits. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Knowing what you will not tolerate can save everyone in the office a lot of frustration, and keeping boundaries clear means there’s no confusion.
Read more: The SEAL Teams Don’t Accept These 10 Phrases, and Neither Should You

6. Find a mentor.

No man is an island, as they say. The best leaders out there know when they need help, and they know where to turn to in order to get it. Nobody can know everything, so finding someone you trust for advice when things get tough can make all of the difference.
Read more: 7 Surprising Truths About Mentors

7. Be emotionally aware.

While many people advise keeping emotions separate from matters of business, business is ultimately about relationships between people. To make these relationships last, you need to be emotionally intelligent — to be sensitive to different points of view and different backgrounds. When using your head to do what’s best for your company, don’t forget to have a heart.
Read more: Dealing With Feelings: How to Be an Emotionally-Aware Leader

8. Watch out for (and avoid) common pitfalls of leadership.

Everyone makes mistakes, but some of them are avoidable. Being aware of common mistakes, while not focusing on them to the point that they become self-fulfilling prophecies, can be the first step toward not repeating them.
Read more: Avoid These 8 Mistakes as a New Leader

9. Learn from the past.

To once again quote an adage, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. History, recent and otherwise, is filled with examples of successful business models and spectacular business failures. Think about what the people you admire do well, and consider what went wrong for those who end their careers mired in scandal or disgrace. Lessons can be found everywhere.
Read more: Leadership Lessons From Alexander the Great

10. Never stop improving.

Great leaders — indeed, great people — are constantly learning and always trying to improve themselves. There’s always something that you can work on or a new skill to master. Be sure to keep your mind open to new ideas and possibilities.
Read more: 7 Traits to Turn Good Managers Into Great Managers