Understanding your current leadership style is essential. What are your strengths? Which areas need some improvement? One way to start assessing your skills is to take this leadership style quiz to get a general idea of how you lead.
Once you have completed the quiz, read about the major characteristics of your dominant style. Are these qualities helping or hindering your leadership? Once you’ve determined which areas need work, you can look for ways to improve your leadership abilities.
Intellectual stimulation is one of the leadership qualities that define transformational leadership. Followers need to be encouraged to express their creativity. Effective leaders should offer new challenges with ample support to achieve these goals.1
One way to foster creativity is to offer challenges to group members, making sure that the goals are within the grasp of their abilities. The purpose of this type of exercise is to get people to stretch their limits but not become discouraged by barriers to success.
Connect with your team members
Leading a group of people requires a mutual sense of trust and understanding between the leader and their team members. To achieve this, leaders should learn to connect.
Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, a leadership writer and consultant, said that being a “more human” leader requires positivity, purpose, empathy, compassion, humility and love. These key traits will put you on the road to genuine connections with the members of your team.
“Building a real, personal connection with your teammates is vital to developing the shared trust necessary to build a strong culture of accountability and exceptional performance,” St. Marie said. “With that culture in place, the team can achieve a successful business, a happy team and a fulfilled leader.”
To build a connection with each of your team members, focus on getting to know their personalities, interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and preferences. This can give you insight into their goals and motivations.
Patoliya said successful leaders allow their teams to develop autonomy and add value according to their own personal strengths. “Being able to recognize the strengths of individuals within their team, and allowing them to be responsible and accountable, not only increases employees’ confidence in themselves and their leader, but also increases their performance.”
Be an empathetic leader
Empathy has been identified as the 1st leadership skill. Unfortunately, many leaders have been promoted to their positions based on past performance or because of their industry credentials, but they have little or no leadership training. The result can be a heavy-handed, order-giving manager with unclear expectations and little empathy for his or her employees. Low productivity and morale are usually the result.
Being genuine with your team shouldn’t mean becoming best friends with them. It means sharing our common human experience, bringing down the defensive walls, and showing that you’re a real person too. It makes you seem more approachable and helps you earn respect. Are you still the boss? Yes, but by exhibiting empathy and mutual respect, employees are far more likely to give and accept honest feedback.
Be a good listener
Who doesn’t want to be heard? Hand in hand with empathy, a good leader values the input of his or her team members, wants to know what makes them tick, and helps them set and achieve career goals. Will you always agree? Of course not, but demonstrating you value them by truly listening and acting on what you hear will earn you a huge amount of respect and loyalty. Is there a conflict with another employee? Address it as quickly as possible. Is there a family emergency? Offer a way to adjust their work schedule without worrying about their job security.
Don’t forget that listening to employee feedback can prove invaluable. When they have good ideas, then let them know! The more you are able to build that professional relationship with your staff members, then the easier it will be for them to be honest about the positive improvements that should be made.
Leaders don’t get far if others won’t follow them. When an employee keeps the cultural mainstays of the company at the forefront of all they do, they are in a better position to influence others. This is often where leadership at work begins – not in an executive office, but out in the bullpen or in the field: making connections and creating goodwill that is based on a genuine interest in others.