How to be a better leader

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Andy Raymond.



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Leadership is an intricate art, challenging to define what ‘right’ really is in leadership terms, and even more demanding to master. Simply occupying a leadership position does not equate to effective leadership. True leadership, involves the ability to connect, motivate, and inspire a sense of ownership of shared objectives.

The definition and function of a leader is a person who guides or directs a group in a way they would want tasks to be executed. Sounds a bit cold and clinically expressed like that. As a leader, your role extends beyond mere guidance, it requires inspiration and motivation to achieve tasks successfully. Ultimately the reputation of a business leader is reflected in the performance of their employees (and by immediate association – their business). Leaders today require special tools and strategies combined with the right attitude to lead a successful workforce.

“Who you are as a person means more than the personalised golden plaque on your door.”

Regardless of your industry or position, why, and where you lead, you - as the leader - are directly responsible for the engagement of those who follow you.

There may not be an "I" in team, but there is an "I" in disengaged. Moving from an individual contributor to a leadership role necessitates a shift. As a contributor your ability to use your technical expertise to deliver results was paramount. Once you have advanced into a leadership role, however, the toolkit that you relied on to deliver individual results rarely equips you to succeed through others.

To create a lasting legacy that transcends your career, a leader must be genuine. Yes, as in ‘being human’. Be a mentor, encourage direction, and stimulate employees to think more, as it is the employees of the organisation who are staring back at their boss with pound signs in their eyes.

Not everyone is a natural-born leader. However, there are strategies one can adopt to improve your leadership and thus become a ‘better leader’. Transformational leaders are positive, empowering, and inspiring. They value followers and inspire them to perform better. So, what can we do to embrace these valued leadership qualities?

Strategies to become a stronger, better, and more effective leader

Align personal goals & business goals

The highest-ranked workplaces are those that have the best employee satisfaction. Prioritise employee satisfaction, enhancing workplace environments by providing professional career development and training opportunities.

Identify a higher purpose

Setting a vision is the most fundamental thing a leader will do. It is the responsibility of the leader to effectively set the direction of the organisation or team they lead and communicate that vision effectively to everyone else. Without a vision, there is simply no leadership.

Engage in honest, open communication

Foster open and honest communication in the workplace, a non-negotiable for all high-performing teams. Without open communication, tasks can go uncompleted, team members can become disengaged, and company culture can get lost. Many businesses list “communication” as a company value, yet they often do not know how to encourage such communication.

Lead change

Leadership involves preparing organisations for change and in many cases persuading people that it is essential for business growth.

Celebrate good times

The importance of personal or team recognition and praise cannot be overstated. A pay rise may be the most immediately powerful motivator but do not underestimate the strength of rewarding minor wins. Encourage competition amongst employees, foster a positive culture, and remember to support those who cannot get on the wall of fame. There is always scope for improvement.

They respect others. From direct reports and peers to clients, good leaders treat others with respect. Those they lead often follow suit, boosting morale throughout the workplace.

Support your team

A leader was once led by someone. Embrace a ‘give and take dynamic’, cultivating business resilience and transparency. Be flexible with employees but have consistent rules that apply to all. The mean level of behaviour in any organisation is determined by the worst behaviour the leader is prepared to tolerate.

The grass could be greener on the other side

Recognise when an employee does not fit the business culture. All business leaders will come across an employee who is unhappy or a misfit within their teams. Learn to let go for the benefit of the wider audience.

They never stop learning

The hallmark of effective leaders is that they are continuous learners and self-improvers. They put their education first, whether through formal learning like building their skills through management degree programs or day-to-day attention to other departments and roles. A good leader always wants to know more.

Good leaders are not made overnight. The road to becoming an even better leader and reaching your personal and professional goals must start somewhere.

Steps to be a better leader

  1. Test, try, improve: Initiate small actions or changes to test and improve leadership skills.
  2. Develop a support network: Build a network of mentors or accountability partners to support your leadership journey.
  3. Build relationships: Effective leaders prioritise relationship building within their teams.
  4. Learn about good leadership: Pursue formal education and take a course or degree program to deepen leadership knowledge.
  5. Serve as a role model: Transformational leaders embody the behaviours and characteristics they encourage in their followers.
  6. Be Passionate: Think of different ways that you can express your zeal and demonstrate genuine care and empathy for your team.

At Redline Executive, we have over four decades of experience in identifying and providing the very best leadership talent to our clients. Our thorough, proven process and extensive experience have consistently led to transformative changes in our clients’ business performance.

For more information visit Redline Executive or to continue the conversation you can contact Andy Raymond, Director on +44 (0)1582 878907 or email ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com.

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