How To Become An Effective Leader
Everyone has had the experience of working for a not-so-great boss. While it’s common for people to be promoted into management when they excel in non-leadership positions, the truth is that a lot of the people who get those promotions don’t have the skills they need to effectively manage their team.
In other words, they lack the must-have leadership skills that all great bosses have in common.
The good news is that they’re skills you can easily learn. In this article, we’ll look at three essential leadership skills you need to successfully manage a team, and how to set yourself up for long-term success.
These critical steps include: communication, adaptability, strategic thinking, team building and delegation and we’ll look at the first three in this article.
Are you ready to learn what it takes to become an effective leader and put these leadership strategies into practice? Let’s get started!
Skill 1: Communication
Without proper, clear and concise communication, you can’t hope to become an effective leader.
Communication is your best tool for explaining your ideas, setting expectations, and building your team. In this chapter, we’ll talk about why strong communication skills are essential for leaders and share some tips about how to communicate effectively both in writing and in person.
The Importance of Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication is what builds relationships. If you listen to employees complain about their bosses and employers, one of the top issues they’re dealing with is usually lack of a direct and clear channel of communication.
Of course, communication goes both ways. But, as a leader, it’s your job to set the tone for interaction within your organization or team.
- Minimizes misunderstandings and confusion
- Ensures that team members know what you expect
- Encourages communication among team members
- Increases the chances that you’ll reach your goals
Any time you touch base with your team or with a client, you’re using communication skills. That means every phone call, every meeting, every chat, and every email reflects your ability to communicate and keep a pulse on how projects are going.
Tips for Effective Communication in Writing and Off the Cuff
What makes for effective communication? The hallmarks of a good communication are clarity, detail, and honesty.
Clarity means that you must be able to articulate what you want in a way that the person you’re talking to can understand. You’re not communicating effectively if the listener or reader can’t understand what you need or expect from them.
Detail means that you are specific about what you want, expect, or need to know. If you delegate a task and the team member still has questions about what to do or how to do the job, your communication skills have fallen short.
Honesty means that you must be truthful when communicating with your team. That doesn’t mean you need to tell them everything you’re thinking all the time, but it does mean that you cannot mislead them or deliberately omit information that might help them achieve the goals you’ve laid out for the team.
Here are a few tips for communicating effectively:
- In writing, keep your sentences and paragraphs short
- Think about what you say before you say it
- Always keep your audience in mind. Don’t use jargon unless you’re sure they’ll understand it
- Pay attention to how the listener reacts to what you say
- Be available to answer questions and patient while you do it
These tips will help you be an effective communicator and enhance your ability to lead.
Coming up next, we’ll talk about why you must be adaptable if you want to become a great leader.
Skill 2: Adaptability
You’ve heard about survival of the fittest. It’s the principle that tells us that only those who can handle change and cope with adversity survive. In other words, adaptability is necessary – and it can mean the difference between success and failure in your business.
In this section, we’ll talk about why great leaders must be adaptable, and provide some tips about how you can increase your adaptability and learn to go with the flow.
How Adaptability Can Help You Succeed
In our professional lives, things seldom go the way we want them to. There are too many variables for that to always be the case and often, the things that derail our career or our personal lives feels as though it’s out of our control.
There have been many times in my life when I’ve had an expectation that hasn’t been met – and I’m willing to bet that’s true for you, too.
The bottom line is that what you do in the face of adversity is what’ll determine whether you’re able to quickly recover, reset and get back on the path to success.
If you have a setback, do you get up and keep going – or do you give up and move onto something else?
Great leaders learn to go with the flow. They understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. Their adaptability helps them get through failure and come out the other side a winner.
Tips for Increasing Adaptability and Going with the Flow
Some people have a high level of adaptability naturally. If that’s you, then you’re probably in good shape.
But what if it’s not? What if you’re easily discouraged or daunted by setbacks? Is there anything you can do to increase your adaptability?
Here are some tips to help you increase your adaptability and go with the flow.
- Make contingency plans. You should always have a Plan B. It doesn’t mean you’re planning for failure. Instead, it means that you’ve given thought to what you’ll do if Plan A doesn’t go as planned.
- Practice resilience. If you’re like most people, you probably experience tons of small setbacks. When one happens, pay attention to how you react and think about how you can switch up your internal monologue to be more positive.
- Come up with a daily affirmation to remind yourself that you can deal with disappointment. You might try something like, “Even if things don’t go my way today, I’m going to keep going and not get bogged down by it.”
- When something goes wrong, don’t react immediately. Take a few deep breaths and let yourself feel the disappointment. A lot of times, we get wrapped up in disappointment because we’re trying to hard to overcome it. It’s okay to feel disappointed – but it’s not okay to let it get the best of you.
These tips can help you learn to be more resilient. Even a big disappointment or a disappointing failure doesn’t have to mean that your goals are out of reach.
Coming up next, we’ll talk about how to build a team – something that’s very important for every leader. Keep reading to learn more!
Skill 3: Strategic Thinking
Strategy thinking is an essential element of leadership. In this chapter, I’ll explain why and give you some tips for improving your strategic thinking and planning skills.
The Role of Strategy in Success
Strategy is simply long-term planning with a fancy name. You have a goal in mind and then you map out a step-by-step plan to achieve it. If you want it to work, your strategy must be logical and practical. Each step you take should build to the next step.
Without strategy, it’s very difficult – maybe even impossible – to achieve your biggest goals. You might have the goal to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Your strategy might include getting an MBA and a host of other steps that will put you in a position to achieve that goal.
The thing about strategy is that it’s not just for you. Having a strategy in place can help you get investors to fund your company, and it can also help you inspire your team.
Tips for Improving Your Strategic Thinking and Planning Ahead
Some people have a natural gift for strategic thinking. They’re the people who are great chess players and who naturally seem to see everything 10 steps ahead.
If you’re not one of them, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you improve your strategic thinking.
- Before you make any decision, think about some possible outcomes and brainstorm what you’ll do next with each one. This is the kind of practical thinking that can help you become a better strategist.
- Think about your goals and work backwards to figure out what actions will help you achieve them. Think of this as reverse-engineering a strategy.
- Ask team members and trusted friends for suggestions to help you plan strategically.
- Try creating a timeline to plan each step on the way to your goal.
The more you practice strategic thinking, the easier it will be.
Whatever you want in life will require discipline to achieve and becoming a successful leader is a small part of this. And if you want to know more about harnessing the power of self-discipline, then check out the featured resource below for a free report; download, read it and take action 🙂