5 Ways to Become a Better Leader

A leader can come in all different shapes, sizes, approaches and titles.

Leaders who can manage leading while still motivating and inspiring loyalty, are the leaders that people will follow from job to job. A recent study showed that 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. (Roger Herman)

To me, that says leadership has a major impact on the engagement of employees and team members and their workplace satisfaction. With that knowledge, how can you then become a better leader?

Here are 5 ways to become a better leader.

1. Recognize your talent. All people need and want to be recognized for the contributions they make in the workplace. If you aren’t convinced that people need recognition, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better recognized. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to recognize people, but the mere act of recognition can and will carry a lot of weight with the people around you.

2. Get personal. Don’t be afraid to make a personal connection with individuals on your team. The more “human” leaders are to their team, the more likely their employees are to be engaged in the work they are doing.

3. Be a good listener. Your team is likely telling you exactly what they need, even if they aren’t speaking it out loud. Listen to what people are saying, and more importantly listen to what they are not saying. Being a good listener means you can read between the lines and pick up on the cues that your team is unsatisfied and in need of some additional support.

4.   Be visible and available, but don’t micro-manage. Being visible and available will let your team know you are there for them if they need you, but this doesn’t give you permission to micro-manage. People are distinctly de-motivated by micro-management. Allow people the room to learn, make mistakes, and ask questions without needing to know what they are doing moment-by-moment.

5.  Involve your people in decision making. Instead of demanding change throughout your team, instead involve them in the change making process. Individuals who are included in the cycle of change are much more likely to embrace the change than individuals who are told how to change without discussion.

These are just a few ways you can improve your leadership style.  To read more employee engagement statistics, take a look at this report.

What’s your favorite leadership style trait? We’d love to know.

What Drives Your Team?

Individuals are all uniquely driven. As a manager or team lead it’s imperative to understand what drives the people on your team.  Here are some of the top values your team members may be driven by, see if you can recognize your individual team players in some of the examples below.

Recognition – Recognition is the most common means of honoring someone’s value in the workplace; however, the majority of employees don’t feel recognized by their managers and team. Individuals who enjoy recognition will often post things that show someone has recognized them; i.e. a card on the wall, an award, etc. You may even find that individuals who need and enjoy recognition will also recognize others as well. Most people assume that everyone enjoys to be recognized for their accomplishments, but it isn’t always the case. Be sure not to assume that everyone on your team likes to be the center of attention and to get recognized in front of the group. For those who enjoy recognition, a simple acknowledgment of something they have done will go a long way and will significantly increase their performance and happiness on the job.

Equality/FairnessThe person who values fairness will always ensure that everyone on the team has equality. That could mean anything from equal time to share an idea, equal days off, working the same amount of time. It also could mean this person will count the favors you’ve done for others and will expect the favors to be equally shared. For example, you granted permission for a team member to leave early one day. To the person who values fairness, they’ve created a mental note that this will later be returned to them. If it isn’t, this person is likely to see this as a personal vindication.  For the fairness person, be sure they know they are as equally important as everyone else on the team.

Monetary/Gifts Money is a common motivator for many, but this goes beyond a pay increase or a scheduled bonus. A person who values gifts loves to be treated to lunch, receive  a gift on their birthday, or receive anything with perceived value. It isn’t so much the gift it intself, it’s more the thoughfulness that goes into it. This person loves the idea that you took the time and energy to do something for them. In the workplace, this may be one of the harder values to recognize; however, if you have this person on your team, they’ll be thrilled with a gift card to a restaurant, a local store, or some other favorite place to show that they are valued and an asset to your team.

Catch Someone Doing Something Right!

Most managers, co-workers, and employers tend to notice the bad or wrong things that other people do, but why not catch someone doing something right as Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer

Whether you are a glass half-full, or half-empty type of person, bring the half-full mentality to the workplace. When individuals are recognized for GOOD behavior, they tend to increase that behavior. On the flipside, individuals who are recognized for bad behavior, also tend to increase that behavior – which means you’ll just get more of what you don’t want.

Here are some ways you can do this:

  1. Reward people who come in on-time, instead of reprimanding those who come in late.
  2. Make a big deal out of every success – no matter how small. Minimize the losses. People feel bad enough when they make a mistake, or lose out on a deal.
  3. Celebrate individual and team victories.
  4. Recognize those who do something nice for others.

We also found this summary from the One Minute Manager on ways to praise others – we think it’s worth sharing.

—   Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.

—   Praise people immediately.

—   Tell people what they did right – be specific.

—   Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.

—   Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.

—   Encourage them to do more of the same.

—   Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.

– One Minute Praisings: Summary, page 44, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

We’d love to hear what you do to praise others and recognize what people are doing RIGHT? Or, share what you’ve recently recognized someone else for or have been recognized for.

How to Stop Leading From Overwhelm

Being overwhelmed and overloaded seems to be the norm for many managers, leaders, and even employees. With all the instant access to technology, we are constantly working, always connected, and even more critical – making decisions without the time to really consider our choices.

Too many priorities, demands, deadlines, and distractions can lead to poor performance, lower job satisfaction, and costly errors and mistakes. Here are a few ways to beat overwhelm, and lead from a place of conscious stability.

  1. Know what you can realistically accomplish.
  2. Unplug on your time off.
  3. Ensure everyone is in the right role on your team.
  4. Hire great employees.
  5. Let go of control – don’t delegate, instead pass down ownership of tasks.
  6. Eliminate time wasters – including people, meetings, and to-do’s.
  7. Get everyone on the same page.
  8. Keep your day, desk, and life organized.
  9. Know what’s important versus what can get let go.
  10. Take frequent breaks. Schedule a vacation.

Leading from a place of overwhelm will have more consequences than benefits. Don’t fall into the trap that the harder you work, the more you will accomplish. A clear head will always achieve more than an overwhelmed, frazzled state-of-mind. Besides, you risk the chance of burnout when you continue at 100mph without taking the time to do the ten things listed above.

How do you manage overwhelm?

How to be an Effective Leader

Being a leader in the workplace has its advantages. In fact, you don’t even need to be a manager to be a leader at work. You can lead simply by integrating these character traits into your daily mindset and activities.leadership traits

Communication – Essentially, every leader is a good communicator. That means they not only know how to engage with others, but more importantly they understand how to listen. Leaders pay attention, ask a lot of questions, and can express themselves accurately.

Team Player – Remember that old saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” Well, that statement still holds true. A good leader is a team player. They understand that success comes from working with a group of talented individuals and that no one person can do it all alone.

Risk Taker – A leader isn’t afraid to put themselves out there, share ideas, and explore new opportunities. Taking risks showcases that you have confidence in yourself, and even if the risks do not pay off, you aren’t afraid to jump back in and try again.

Vision – Individuals, who are leaders, also have vision. Having vision means seeing the big picture, and what needs to happen in order for that vision to come to fruition. They know where they want to go, and have a good sense of how they can get there. They can also easily share that vision with others, get people to jump on board, and lead the team to success.

Leadership can be learned. Stepping up and leading starts by making a conscious choice and commitment to lead. Are you ready to lead?