Six Ways to be an Effective Leader
By Mina Ayoub, Communications Executive at EFG Hermes.
We tend to think that leaders are naturally comfortable with taking control and paving the way for others. That innate features like charisma, good communication, and integrity are why they lead so well. But, are leaders truly born, or are they developed in time?
It would be highly ambitious to think that someone who leads in the workplace did not work on themselves first before being able to help others. To become a leader, one must first learn how to follow. To become a leader, one must constantly develop themselves.
Let’s focus on six ways you can develop strong leadership qualities:
- Know your team
A leader is nothing without a team. When leading a group of people it is important to note that knowing each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, investing time to really know your team can go a long way. Once you know who is really good at what, you can bring them all together and help everyone flourish and thrive at what they are good at, as well as learn, develop and evolve to be more than what they are now.
- Listen and observe
Listening is the greatest tool for a leader. It is so much more important than talking — after all, we have two ears but only one mouth. Only when a leader can listen to everyone can they effectively understand how to guide them. Observing behavior and body language and understanding situations comes a long way as well. Coming to conclusions without a full understanding will misdirect our true intentions.
- Use positive language
‘Do not’, ‘can’t’, and ‘shouldn’t’ are truly unnecessary words that should be limited when you’re leading a team. Replacing these with ‘do’, ‘try’, ‘can’ and ‘should’ will come a long way. The human brain needs reinforcement to progress. Instead of limiting, preventing, and confining to deter, attempt to encourage, direct, and advise to improve. A team will thrive more than you can imagine once they feel like their leader believes in them.
- Be organized and prepared
Sometimes we find ourselves with our backs up against the wall and have to figure things out on the spot. It happens. However, relying on this method will overwhelm you in time. Structure your time and tasks and those of the people around you. If you want effective, organized work or performance in the long run, you yourself must be organized and have a consistent daily, weekly, or monthly plan.
- Lead through example
Perhaps one of the most popular advice from leaders. It is your job to influence people to do more, not simply tell them. Those who follow you, trust you, and they don’t do that because of your resume, your experience or reputation, they do it because of your actions. The best way to communicate and to teach and inspire is to believe in what you’re doing so much that when you do it, everyone around you can’t help but soak in that enthusiasm and drive and be inspired to act the same, to live up to the those standards that you set.
- Develop an environment where others can flourish
A leader is in full control of the environment of the workplace. How to create a flourishing environment depends on the rules, expectations, and guidelines a leader sets for those to follow. Too strict and people will be uncomfortable, too lenient and people will fail to develop. A balance is what creates the perfect environment. Finding that balance is subjective to each leader and requires personal touches from the leader’s personality to make it stronger.
If you are currently reading this sentence, congratulations on taking the initiative to find ways to become an effective leader. For that step within itself is the first step to developing your leadership qualities. Continue on your path to further improve yourself and those who follow you will improve as well. And remember, being a leader is a sacrifice you take for others to improve, rather than simply a rung on the corporate ladder.