Great leaders don’t have leadership ingrained in their genes; rather they mould themselves into that role through years of perseverance.
There are several traits that go into making a great leader and not just a manager. It is an assimilation of several exceptional qualities that have been honed over the years through learning, experience and hard work.
There are no secrets as such that go into making a great leader. It’s a continuous learning process through which you develop your inherent skills and abilities as you rise through the ranks.
Here are some tips that can help make your journey easier.
It is but natural that people look up to leaders to show them the right way.
In order to do this, you must have first-hand knowledge of every minor issue related to your field. Academic qualifications apart, you must be aware of the ground realities, the imminent problems that may crop up, provide the right solution and instil confidence in people.
Learn it the hard way right from the scratch. Only then will you be able to anticipate situations, take the right decisions and provide solutions when things go wrong. The more knowledgeable you are both in academics and practical realities, the more people look up to you as their leader.
Great leaders never take things or people for granted. You should understand and practise the basic principle of management i.e. each situation and individual come with their own pros and cons. Learn how to utilize different resources to handle each situation or people working under you.
Communicate your vision in a simple and practical manner and then show the way to achieve it. Great leaders never have unrealistic expectations. Neither do they berate their subordinates when they can’t deliver.
Be an Inspiration
Always maintain a positive and optimistic attitude. People look up to you in times of need and when most other resources are exhausted. If you become morose about the entire situation, the morale of your team will sag further.
Instead, try to infuse enthusiasm, positive thinking and a determined attitude.
It is when things are at their worst that the true leadership ability of a leader is tested the most. If you can motivate your team to rise above the situation with your positive attitude, an in-depth insight and clinical analysis of the crisis, you are indeed a great leader.
Be a Master in Stress Management
As mentioned above, leadership is all about inspiring and motivating people to deliver their best under the worst conditions.
And to do that successfully, you must master the art of stress management.
As a leader, you should be like a sponge absorbing your team members’ anxieties, misgivings and tension. Never lose your patience or become hyper when you are faced with multiple problems.
True leaders have great emotional intelligence and are able to contain themselves and manage their own stress instead of thrusting it on the team. To reduce the stress within your team, give your members time to evaluate the situation before they overreact.
Follow a balanced approach with a healthy mix of assurance and command.
Do not Micro-manage
Remember that you are a leader and not a ground-level worker; so act accordingly.
Don’t hover around constantly and try to manage or interfere in every small matter. Give your team members enough independence so that they can grow and nurture their own skills.
With this approach, you can transform an ordinary performer into a valuable employee who will be an asset to the organization.
As a leader, one of your prime responsibilities is to nurture future leaders who will be able to carry the baton forward after you.
However, not interfering every time does not mean you confine yourself to your desk. Your team needs to see you, meet you, discuss and deliberate and look for guidance.
They will accept you as their leader only if you are easily approachable and don’t throw about an attitude. The right attitude not only makes your team members more respectful towards you but they will gladly do more just to live up to your expectations and trust.
Good leaders always allow their subordinates to approach them when they are confused or go out of their way to interact and ensure that everything is under control.
Share Success and Failure Equally
True leaders understand that success and failure go hand-in-hand. You cannot win every time and failure is a great learning process. If your team pulls it off under your guidance, don’t take the credit all for yourself.
Rather, thank the team open heartedly; let others know much effort they have put in and make it look like ‘our success’ and not ‘my success’.
Similarly, when things don’t work out as planned; share the blame instead of just going overboard and insulting your team for their ‘shoddy’ performance. Sit all over again, deliberate on what went wrong and let your members learn from their mistakes.
Great leaders know the importance of listening. When you do all the talking, you come across as a dictator who loves thrusting his decision on others. This is simply not the right attitude for a leader.
A true leader will talk less and listen more. Listening to people opens your mind to other perspectives while allowing your team members to air their views without fear.
Your subordinates feel assured that they will get a patient hearing and a fair analysis of their problems. Such a healthy attitude is extremely important for an organization to thrive and grow further.
Don’t try to control everything and every assignment. As a leader, your job is to show the right path and not walk down it yourself.
Delegate the assignments to your team members with complete faith and confidence even if you are unsure about the outcome. Failure is a part of life; so accept it if your team fails now and then.
They will learn from their mistakes and emerge as better performers, which will ultimately improve their productivity.