First things first. Before we start getting into the practical information, let’s talk a bit about what really means to be a real leader. Even if we are in the 21st century, there is still a huge deception on this matter.
First of all, a leader is that particular person of the team who always takes initiative, works the hardest, believes in his vision, and inspires the rest of the team to prosper to greatness and success.
Second of all, a leader is constantly learning. He has to be up to date with the newest strategies, news, and trends, so his team training is always the most effective. Even after experiencing how success feels like, a true leader never lowers his guard. In order to thrive, they keep themselves curious and focus on doing the best for the team.
Anyways, being a professional leader means so much more. You need to know how to handle various situations, how to manage the conflicts, and how to operate with different types of personalities. Besides that, you need to keep your cool and be patient. If not you, then who else?
All in all, it’s mostly the leader who can create the perfect work environment for his team to thrive. With no more further ado, let’s get into the practical things and see how you can become a true leader.
1. Earn Your Trust and Respect
In order to earn your team member’s trust, you need to maintain your honesty and integrity. Always give them both the good and the bad news. They need to be kept updated with all the information that may affect them on a personal level. Only this way will they able to respect and trust you.
But to earn people’s full trust, you have to be more than honest. As a matter of fact, you need to show them you really care. How can you do that?
Well, simply start by involving and helping them solve their problems whenever they seek assistance. Pay extra attention to the team members who have a harder time understanding a task and be extra patient.
By genuinely caring about your team, you’ll spark both respect and trust and so your leadership figure will earn more power.
A good idea would be to meet your team outside the work and bond with them personally. Show them that you don’t look at them just as your employees but also as people worth spending time with. When you do this, pay caution and don’t be intrusive.
No one likes an intrusive “boss”. I should not even mention the damages that can be caused if a private, personal conversation is not kept confidential, so always respect your secrecy promises.
2. Become an Excellent Communicator
Keep in mind that great communication skills are made and not born. They are also the key to your success. I mean, how can you be a real leader when you use a tone of voice that makes people feel uncomfortable, when your writing is full of mistakes, or your messages are not spoken clearly?
That’s exactly why you’ll need to pay special attention to the skills that help you better communicate with your team members.
a) Clear Verbal Communication
It is very important for your message to get through correctly. In order to express your ideas properly, speak your words crystal clear, don’t use fancy words, and do not lose your point. Here is some piece of advice on how to improve your communication:
- Prepare your speech in advance
- Read more to richen your vocabulary
- Watch public speaking material on YouTube (debates/ speeches/ presentations)
- Talk in front of the mirror
b) Voice Tone
The voice tone you are using while speaking to your employees can have a huge effect on the way the message is received. You can use the exact same words, but with a different tone, and the message will be completely different.
Imagine you are saluting someone by saying “Have a good day!” once with a happy and friendly tone, and once with a cold tone. I believe you can tell the big difference.
c) Body Language
A person’s body language is always sincerer than the words he speaks. As a leader of a company, knowing these non-verbal signs will give you lots of benefits. You will be able to tell if someone is honest or not, if he or she is feeling comfortable in the discussion, and so on.
Besides recognizing the meaning of other people’s body language, you should work on your own body language aptitudes.
Well, here are some tips to help you develop a better-suited body language while dealing with other professionals:
- Use hand gestures while talking and you will become more credible
- Always make eye content while you’re engaged in a conversation
- When you agree with a point, move your head up and down to express that you resonate with your interlocutor’s ideas
- Never keep your arms crossed. It’s a defensive position and puts you in the “defense mode”
d) Writing Skills
Writing skills are crucial for a leader to become great. You will need to make presentations for your team, write convincing emails to partners, and deal with a lot of official papers.
Therefore, if your writing is full of grammar issues, misspelled words, and out of context sentences, your credibility and reputation will drastically fall.
Not to mention that very few people will perceive you as a professional entity. Writing daily helps a lot if you care to improve your communication skills.
You can even keep a journal, as a lot of successful personalities throughout history were journaling for various purposes and benefits.
3. Develop Strong Relationships with Your Employees
It’s very important for you to develop a strong relationship with your employees, and you can do this by showing that you care for them as human beings and not as robots. As the relationship grows stronger, the respect they have for you will grow too, and this means they will work harder to never let you down.
One way to establish a more personal relationship with your employees is through team building activities.
Think outside the box and create a pleasant environment where all of you can have a great time getting to know each other, with the single rule being to “never judge each other!”
Furthermore, your communication with your employees needs to be frequent and close rather than rare and distant.
Pay attention to both their achievements and their failures and provide constructive feedback every time you have the chance.
4. Always be Decisive
Your team needs someone who can make a decision at the moment. By showing an indecisive behavior, your credibility in front of your employees may suffer greatly. When you are under pressure, don’t overthink the chances of failure.
Make the decision based on what you know and believe at that specific time. Strive to show your team that you are in control in all situations, so they’ll keep their cool.
Also, keep in mind that it’s always the leader’s job to take risks. A real leader is in a constant search for innovative ideas and solutions.
Therefore, playing your safe cards all the time might not be the best solution. Use your reason, logic, and intuition and create a balance between them.
5. Work Hard and Smart
In order to become a great leader, you need to work both hard and smart. There’s a big difference between the two terms, and I’m going to explain them in just a bit.
Note that in order to become exceptional, you need to develop a healthy balance between hard and smart work.
- Work more than others
- No procrastination and excuses
- Sense of responsibility
- Plan in advance
- Predict upcoming challenges
- Outsource time-consuming tasks
- Use all the available resources
- Stay updated with the new trends and news in the niche
- Quality over quantity. Always.
6. Lead by Example
Your team should be your second family, which would mean that your team members would become your “other kids”. Obviously, you always want to set a good example so you can to be the one person they look up to and admire. Leading a team by example truly means to be a real leader.
Keep in mind that being an example to others is just like working another full-time job, as you have to be careful not to damage your image and reputation. Furthermore, both you and your team members need to acknowledge failure.
As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”.
Every innovative idea comes with a bag of risks. If you never risk, you will never win.
One thing should be clear by now: leadership is one of the most complex activities in today’s professional sphere. There’s a big difference between a leader and a big leader, and that lies in the standards, knowledge, expertise, and mindset of the professional.
Treat leadership as a beautiful yet challenging journey, give your one hundred percent to everything you, stay consistent and persistent, and you will soon understand what it takes to be an exceptional leading figure.