When the word leader is mentioned, a lot of people won’t think of political or religious leaders. No, the first name that comes to mind is usually that of Steve Jobs. He said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Leaders don’t tell people what to do. Instead of that, they show it by their own example and inspire others. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your leadership skills, here are a couple of ways that you could use as a litmus test of your capabilities to lead your employees, together with suggestions about how to transform yourself from a boss into a fully fledged leader.
Being a good leader isn’t all about talking and commanding. It’s more important to be able to listen to others and hear what they’re actually saying. That’s the only way to get proper feedback and understand your employees. Another important aspect is to read between the lines, pick up unspoken clues communicated by means of body language.
Maintaining eye contact is essential for establishing an emotional connection, but a recent analysis has shown that adults make eye contact only 30% and 60% of the time in an average conversation, while the ideally it should be done between 60% and 70% of the time. So, the best advice for establishing meaningful and fruitful communication is to listen effectively and look your employees in the eye.
True leaders have a vision and they encourage others to come up with and cherish their own visions. You should ask yourself if you’re capable of motivating others to reach their goals and their full potential. Many managers criticize their employees and expect to get better results, but this is wrong on so many levels.
Namely, in order to help your employees give their best, you need to show them that their efforts don’t go unrecognized, as that’s one of the most common causes of workplace frustration. A survey by Gallup reports that only 45% of employed Americans are satisfied with the recognition they get at work. Make sure to let the members of your team know that you know how hard they try. This is a surefire way to build employee loyalty and increase engagement.
This is crucial to the success of your business. Some statistics observe a stunning lack of emotional intelligence among business leaders, which is perceived as a really big issue for their employees. Many managers don’t ever ask themselves this important question, and many don’t even care what their employees think.
This Gordon-Gekko-meets-Miranda-Priestly attitude is the exact reason why many businesses suffer and valuable employees leave. Insisting on discipline is one thing, but treating people as if they were inferior to you is something completely different. Before you slip into condescension, let your employees have their say and express their opinion. Readiness to change and improve is another characteristic of a good leader.
Customer satisfaction is equally important as employee satisfaction. If you want to be a top leader, you have to know the most important metrics and analytics.
The profit your company makes is a good indicator of how things are going, but there’s always room for some improvement, which is why you need to think ahead and feel the pulse of your target audience.
One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with an opportunity to tell you what they think and earn some money at the same time. So, why not offer them to fill out highly useful paid surveys online and let them have their cake and eat it?
Great leaders don’t have to know how to do everything, but they have to know how to successfully delegate, and sometimes even pass the baton to somebody else when that’s the most appropriate for the current situation. That way you will not only do the best thing for your company but also show that you are a competent person, aware of your own abilities and that you’re not intimidated to play the second fiddle for the greater good. Also, sometimes a member of your team will disagree with you and offer another, a better solution to the problem, and if you’re a true leader you’ll be able to avoid the trap of your own ego, and let them handle the issue.
If you come to realize that you’re not as good a leader as you thought you were, don’t despair. Simply own your mistakes and try to fix them, as that’s exactly what true leaders do. And remember, being a good leader means working on yourself and growing as a person.
Alex Williams is a journalism graduate and a blogger. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog. You can follow Alex on Facebook and Twitter.