Are you born to lead? Or can you learn the art of leadership to be an effective leader?
One way or the other, it comes down to How to be a good leader?
Strong and effective leadership is vital for the success of any organization. From business owners to managers and executives, every person has a different approach towards the qualities of a good leader. So, whether you are wondering if great leaders are born to lead or if leadership skills can be improved with learning and practice, we have got you covered. From the most effective tips to famous quotes of renowned thinkers and leaders, below is a comprehensive article addressing every aspect of ‘How to be a good leader’? But, let us get into the basics of what is a good leader, what are the qualities of a good leader, and the most important leadership skills for a better understanding.
What is a good leader?
‘The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.’ – Ronald Reagan
A leader is someone who leads by example. Being a leader you should be at a level where people are inspired by and motivated enough to follow in your footsteps. In regards to the qualities of a good leader, you are someone having a clear and compelling vision. You have the ability to foresee the challenges lying ahead. You have the capability of devising effective plans and providing direction to your followers. And You should be enthusiastic and passionate about your work. You should be able to take work from your followers which they otherwise aren’t willing to do. For this very reason, you need to take your goals seriously first. Having a cooperative attitude, trusting your teammates, and being honest about your goals & failures alike, are just some characteristics of a good leader.
However, being laser-focused about your goals does not mean being stubborn about them. You should be open to different perspectives and ideas about achieving those goals. You should be able to take the opinions of your teammates. Leadership requires sacrificing your joys today to achieve a better tomorrow. A study, who makes a good leader was carried to know whether optimism, cooperativeness, or leading-by-example plays a contributing factor in enhancing the performance of a group. It suggests that leaders who are willing to sacrifice personal benefits for a greater good inspire productivity. Further, a cooperative attitude towards your followers will increase their tendency to contribute efficiently and effectively.
So, how do you identify a leader? I hope that explains it well. Now, with that aside let’s dive into some tips to be a good leader.
Top 6 tips to become a good leader
A quick disclaimer before starting, there’s no such thing as a ‘born leader’. Anyone can be a good leader by learning some effective leadership skills and strategies. Below are some top tips that if incorporated and worked upon earnestly will ease your path to be a good leader.
1- Honest communication
The first step to being a good leader is to indulge in honest and open communication with your teammates. You should be transparent about your goals and visions. You should discuss the stumbling blocks with your team which you might encounter. Effective leadership requires listening to dynamic perspectives and moulding your plans if need be. Most importantly, when you are honest about your goals and the challenges associated with them you’ll see people reciprocating the same honesty. Be genuine in your interactions with your team. Care about the people who work for you and see how they reciprocate the same care towards you. Being a leader you are not only responsible for the people who work under you but also their families. So even if you are a small business owner with only 3, 4 employees. You indirectly are responsible for 10.15 additional people.
So, the bottom line is to keep the lines of communication open. Customize your communication style according to the situation and person you interact with. Be genuine in your interactions and show concern about your follower’s wellbeing. Lastly, to be a good leader bear in mind Albert Einstein’s quote for a lasting impression,
‘Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.’
2- How to be a good leader- have a positive attitude
Leadership requires effort and hard work. It requires displaying positivity and optimism to inspire your team. It demands you to display hope, even when you are least hopeful. All in all, leadership is a tough and laborious journey that requires patience. As Vince Lombardi said,
‘Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal.’
So, can anyone be a good leader? Yeah, but with extreme struggle and hard work. When you lead a team, you plan for everything to go smoothly. But, no matter how much you wish that, you are bound to face some obstacles and challenges along the way. Whether it is a minor miscommunication on the part of your team or a major error, the way you handle the situation will impact your team’s performance immensely. You need to maintain a sense of positivity despite facing the challenges. If you as a leader are hopeless and discouraged, how can you expect your followers to work passionately? You can’t right! Because as a leader you are the torchbearer of hope and belief for your followers. If you yourself are not hopeful about the results or get discouraged on the sight of a small setback, your followers won’t work passionately for you either.
Maintain a positive attitude and focus on the solutions to get an instant dose of positivity. For a more detailed insight, check out How to stay positive to know some top tips that’ll be beneficial to be a good leader.
3- Lead by example
‘You don’t lead by pointing and telling people someplace to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.’ – Ken Kesey
A person who leads a path is called a leader. So, in essence, if you want your team to follow a certain decorum or maintain certain standards you’ve to follow them first. Instead of pointing your fingers towards a path, show them how to walk on the path. As a leader, you not only have to be good at communicating your ideas and inspiring people. But, you also have to walk the talk to score a respectable position in their heart. Out of the three most important roles of a leader, one is being a role model.
Model the qualities and attributes which you want your team to follow. Maintain honesty to gain honesty. Be disciplined & punctual and see how your team sets the greatest example of a disciplined team. Take responsibility for your mistakes and bad decisions. Be accountable for your actions and ask for honest feedback from your team.
In short, to be a good leader you not only have to direct your followers. But, you also have to lead by example. All eyes are on you so make sure you set the best example for your followers. By doing so you are not only facilitating them. But it will be a lot easier to reprimand if a team member deviates from the course.
4- How to be a good leader– Be a lifelong learner
In today’s modern times, you come across a plethora of knowledge every day through various digital platforms. A good leader needs to be ahead of their teams and get hands-on experience regarding everything. I know the idea of KNOWING EVERYTHING might sound ridiculous. But, the point is to know what your employees or members are up to you need to be aware of the technicalities and basics first. You should know the basics of everything related to your company or organization. According to Harvard Business school’s publication, it does not mean being the most knowledgeable person in an organization. But, to devise intelligent and effective strategies you need to be well aware of the practices prevalent in your industry.
So, if you were wondering how to be a better leader in business? You just got the answer to it i.e. ‘Knowledge is power.’ Be on a constant lookout for the latest news and information. Subscribe to blogs or read white papers. It will not only make you understand the threats and challenges that you might face in the coming times. But, it will also help in making timely and informed decisions.
5- Act as your team’s cheerleader
As a team leader, you will be adopting different roles according to the situation. You have to celebrate your team as a cheerleader. While at the same time you have to encourage creativity and growth. Leadership is only effective when your followers feel encouragement from you. Have you ever noticed any person who works in a demotivating environment, working with all their heart and soul? No right! The point here is, as an organization however small it may be you’ll face various challenges day by day. The only way to handle them effectively is through creative thinking and encouragement. Foster an encouraging environment that will not only compel your followers to come to work but will also make them go a step beyond what is expected of them. Offer rewards and recognition. Encourage the participation of your team members in important decisions. Let them know that you welcome their ideas.
To go a bit further, delegate challenging tasks to your employees. Give them ample opportunities to learn and enhance their skill set. Invest in your employee’s growth financially as well as emotionally. Empower them by guiding them appropriately if they have to solve a challenging task. Lastly, reward them and most importantly boost their morale to be a good leader.
‘No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s concern.’ – Abraham Lincoln
6– How to be a good leader– Be bold and courageous
Out of the most important attributes that help you to be a good leader, this one is my personal favorite. Whether you were wondering how to be a good leader & manager, or how to be a good leader in school or business, this applies to all. As a leader, your team will look up to you in times of crisis. They will look up to you for making timely decisions and showing up a solution to the problem. Although just a hint of the solution at times though. But, your team will rely on you. So, will you hide behind the curtains shying away from the problem? Or will you tackle it head-on? Leadership requires you to be courageous. You will be making some hard and risky decisions at times. You are the captain of the ship and your followers trust you for that.
Courage is not merely a virtue, but it is ‘the virtue’. It makes you fearless and resilient enough to face adversities. It will help in taking risky decisions a bit easier that are a part of every company’s journey. As a leader, you will be the sole decision-maker. So make sure you take the right steps in the right direction. However, the ideas and suggestions of your team should also be taken into consideration. By the end of the day, the authority lies with you. Be abreast with all the innovations and information in your industry to become a good leader.
‘The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.’ – Tony Blair
Of all the roles in the world, leadership is the toughest. But, remember that anyone can be a good leader with a little hard work, dedication, and struggle. Just as anyone can learn a skill, leadership can also be learned and improved upon. You just need to stay focused and committed to your role. So, I hope this article was insightful and comprehensive regarding your query, ‘How to be a good leader.’ Let us know what you think is important to be a good leader in the comment section below.