Sure, being a great leader requires hard work, but it also requires enthusiasm and passion – leading from the head and the heart. The truly inspirational leaders do more than supervise operations. They engage the people on their team and inspire them to excel because they want to, not out of a sense of obligation.
Some leaders arrive at their position with outstanding leadership skills, but anyone in a leadership position can improve. It requires training, coaching, experience, and introspection. The skills of working with different personalities and motivating and inspiring people are skills that require development and practice to become ingrained. Here are 6 important habits to develop if you want to be a better leader.
1. The Habit of Regular Interaction With Team Members
The era when the boss was like the Almighty (invisible and omnipotent) is over. The outstanding leader of today interacts with team members regularly. But you have to be careful of confusing consistent communication with micromanaging. Engaging with team members consistently shows you’re interested in not only outcomes, but how to get there, and that you’re part of the process from beginning to end.
2. The Habit of Punctuality and Respect for Time
Unavoidable emergencies happen. But in general, the leader that shows respect for his or her own, and other people’s time is a better leader. Leaving a room full of people cooling their heels while awaiting your arrival so they can give a presentation can lead to resentment. And respect for other people’s time is an excellent example to set for the rest of the team.
3. The Habit of Transparency, Honesty, and Striving to Set a Good Example
When you’re a leader, a certain amount of discretion is necessary, to protect your own and your team members’ privacy. But there’s nothing to be gained from deliberately withholding important information, being less than forthright when asked a question, or leading employees to believe you only issue directives from behind a closed door. Transparency is crucial.
4. The Habit of Continual Learning
No outstanding leader is ever “done” with learning. Keeping up with the state of your industry is vital, as is continual improvement of interpersonal and communications skills. Understanding the technology your team uses requires repeat learning, but it keeps you in touch with what’s actually going on and makes you integral to the team rather than separate and apart from it.
5. The Habit of Organization
Organization and respect for time go together. Organization requires a bit of extra effort on the front end, but the payoff in terms of not wasting time is significant. Your organization practices will have to evolve with changing circumstances, technology, and deadlines, but striving to maintain an organized approach can only serve you as a leader (and your team) well.
6. The Habit of Asking for Help When You Need It
You don’t come across as “weak” when you ask for help. Rather, you come across as a human being who wants to learn something or improve something. The best leaders want team members who know more than they do about certain things, and by asking for help or instruction they show respect for the knowledge and skills of team members, which inspires team members in turn.
Habits require learning and practice, and depending on your unique skills and strengths, developing positive leadership habits may call for coaching until those skills are mastered. The leader who has the respect and trust of his or her team doesn’t pretend to know everything and engages with team members with honesty tempered by tact. Brilliant leaders know they can’t rest on existing skills and past accomplishments, but must continue to strive to be better – just as they expect their team members to do.
As with any other skills, leadership skills can be fine-tuned, updated, and applied better. You’re in a leadership position. Why not make the most of it, take your organization beyond what it expected to do, and be remembered as one of the exceptional and inspiring leaders in your organization? I’d be honored to help you do that.