Improving Leadership In The Workplace
What is so important about leadership in the workplace? Being a leader is more than just bearing a leadership title or position in your company. It is the special ability to blend your authority with your subordinates’ willingness to follow.
Learning effective leadership especially in the workplace can be challenging and painstaking.
There are also different leadership requirements that you should meet.
If you don’t have the capacity to lead your subordinates effectively, your business will not grow.
Although there is no definitive guide to becoming a leader, leadership itself is a learning process.
Your subordinates learn from you and you also learn from them.
In this article, you will read about the basics of leadership in the workplace.
You’ll also learn tips on how to demonstrate leadership in a more effective way.
The Basics Of Leadership
Leader vs. Manager
Businesses rely on their managers in maintaining and improving business operations.
Managers and leaders are commonly viewed as the same. But, leaders are more than just managers.
Managers are mainly responsible for keeping everything in good working order.
They direct and supervise their subordinates’ work and productivity.
They make sure that everyone is doing their jobs.
Leaders, on the other hand, are path-makers that direct all efforts towards the path of growth and success.
They plan and coordinate everyone’s jobs to unify results.
They delegate tasks and motivate subordinates to do their best.
Good leaders are capable of aligning their subordinates’ goals with the business’ goals.
Thereby providing effective leadership in the workplace.
Importance Of Leadership
Leadership is essential in businesses because it directs all efforts towards the target goals.
Without good leadership in the workplace, growth and success will remain far from reach.
A major determinant of the importance of leadership is responsibility.
If there is no leader, there is no one responsible for initiating action within the company.
Leaders pave the way to success by inspiring their subordinates and empowering them to be the best at what they do.
To become an effective leader, you need to meet certain leadership requirements.
There are three main factors that make up a good leader:
Leaders should be knowledgeable and skilled in the field or industry of the business.
They are their subordinates’ source of learning, so they need to have what it takes.
Most importantly, they should have the qualities to carry out effective leadership that will influence subordinates in the workplace.
Scope Of Knowledge
As a leader, you don’t need to know everything.
You also don’t need to be right all the time.
What you need is to know what’s important around and about your industry.
Throughout your leadership journey, you’ll learn that practical knowledge is more useful than theoretical knowledge.
Leadership is not about how much you know but about how you apply and impart what you know.
Also, an important kind of knowledge that every leader should have is knowledge about oneself.
As a leader, you should know what you are capable of and what you can do to help your subordinates.
You must be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, including your limitations.
Knowing your self is the key to strengthening your emotional intelligence.
Important Leadership Skills
The skills of a leader will influence the effectiveness of their leadership style.
As a leader, you must possess the skills that your subordinates will respect you for.
When they see that you are highly capable and competent, they will be more willing to follow you in everything.
Here are the important skills every leader should develop:
Effective communication is the key to achieving cooperation from your peers and subordinates.
If you communicate well on different levels (interpersonal and group), they will understand you better.
When they understand you, they’ll be more likely to do things according to your set goals.
Effective communication also prevents misunderstandings and disputes between leader and subordinate.
If you maintain two-way communication with your subordinates, you’ll get to know them better, including their capabilities and skill levels.
Organizational skills such as planning and delegating are essential in maintaining an efficient workflow.
If you plan out daily activities and tasks, you can regulate the workload better and meet deadlines more efficiently.
If you delegate the right tasks to the right people, you can help them improve their performance and increase productivity.
Social skills are one of the most crucial skills of a leader.
Your social skills will affect the way your subordinates see you as their leader.
It is also the heart of effective leadership in the workplace.
Social skills will help a leader with the following.
Having good social skills means being able to connect and bond with your subordinates on both social and emotional levels.
When you know how to connect with them, you can influence and motivate them better at work.
Your emotional intelligence is your main tool in establishing and maintaining that connection.
When you show your subordinates that you trust in their capabilities, they also learn to trust you and believe in your goals.
Building strong relationships based on mutual trust and respect provides long-term benefits for the whole team.
A good leader should be capable of placating disputes and clashes among subordinates. You should know how to smoothen communication between disputing parties to help clear misunderstandings.
Presenting options for resolving conflicts of interests should also be part of your social goals for the whole team.
Leaders can create inspiration by being a role model to their subordinates.
When they see an admirable leader in front of them, it encourages them to improve and become like their leader.
Being a role model doesn’t mean that you should only show perfection.
A role model should be able to show others that there’s always room for improvement and ways to do things better.
It is important for leaders to make connections with their peers and subordinates.
However, these connections should also be maintained by establishing boundaries.
Boundaries in the workplace will ensure that keep everyone treats each other with respect. It lets everyone know that you’re still the leader and that you provde direction for the team.
Boundaries also help prevent subordinates from committing offenses against one another.
It helps maintain respect for each other as professional individuals.
The best way to make these boundaries clear by creating a company culture that ensures that everyone is respectful and considerate.
Their actions will always be bound by the company policies and discipline should be maintained.
A good leader should have systems and procedures in place for dealing with violation of company policy.
Aside from the persuading subordinates to follow them, leaders should also work on earning their loyalty.
Loyalty is perhaps the highest honor subordinates can award their leaders.
When they are loyal to you, they’ll follow and trust you no matter the circumstance.
Loyalty doesn’t come with the position of leader. It is something gained through effort and hard work. To earn loyalty, a leader must first be loyal to their subordinates.
You can demonstrate your loyalty by always supporting them in accomplishing tasks.
Show them that you are working alongside them and not just looking from above them.
That’s how you prove that you’re worthy of their loyalty.
Characteristics Of An Effective Leader
Leaders automatically become role models to their subordinates due to their leadership style in the workplace.
Every word and every action becomes a basis of their respect and loyalty.
That is why leaders need to possess positive qualities that can inspire their subordinates.
The qualities of an effective leader include:
Being honest means being true in all you do or say.
In leadership, honesty is the ability to remain truthful so as to avoid misleading subordinates or creating misunderstandings.
Honesty fosters trust and reliability.
A leader who is honest can be trusted.
Integrity is honesty in one’s actions.
If your actions are consistent with what you say you believe in, you are showing integrity.
A leader that’s worth following is a leader that is true to their values and beliefs.
Effective leaders are those who show confidence in their own capabilities.
When you show confidence and pride in what you do, you can encourage your subordinates to be confident as well.
People don’t like to follow leaders who gloat about their positions or abuse their authority.
A humble leader keeps his ego in check.
He also recognizes his subordinates as people who also have the potential to become fellow leaders in the future.
A leader who shows commitment to their work is more likely to earn their subordinates’ loyalty.
Showing commitment is proof that you believe in your goals.
Also, being passionate about your job can influence others to show their commitment as well.
Creative leaders are efficient problem-solvers.
This is because they tend to think outside the box and consider more possibilities for options.
Leaders should be able to come up with creative solutions when the usual options don’t work.
Being accountable is the ability to both bear blame and hold credit in a positive way.
A good leader sticks up for their subordinates when there’s a mistake.
Also, a good leader shares credit with the whole team when they meet success.
A good leader should be a source of positive energy to their subordinates.
When things are well, they encourage everyone to keep up the good work.
When things are bad, they encourage everyone to do better next time.
A positive leader is a source of motivation and inspiration.
A good leadership style includes the responsibility of maintaining discipline in the workplace.
If a leader consistently misbehaves in the workplace, their subordinates won’t also hesitate to misbehave.
To promote discipline, leaders should serve as the role model of proper work conduct and professionalism.
Sense Of Humor
Last, but not the least, an effective leader is one who can laugh away the worries and have fun with their subordinates.
Don’t always take things too seriously.
If there’s a simple mistake, just have it corrected and don’t make a fuss.
Improving Effective Leadership
There are different ways on how to demonstrate leadership.
Likewise, there are also ways on how you can learn the necessary skills you might think you lack as a leader.
Leadership in the workplace is an ability that can be learned by anyone who’s determined to succeed and help others succeed as well.
This section will focus on the methods of perfecting and applying leadership skills.
How To Perfect Your Leadership Skills
Leadership doesn’t start with giving out orders to your subordinates.
It starts with you.
To become a good leader, you must improve yourself and your current skills.
Becoming a leader is to become a better, more competent person.
Before you become aware of what others are doing, you should first be aware of your own self.
You should assess your own capabilities and note your areas of improvement.
Take note of your habits and your language.
When you do something or say something, do your subordinates like it?
Look at yourself critically but objectively.
Determine your own strengths and weaknesses.
If you know you’re good at something, remind yourself to keep it up.
If there’s something you’re bad at, push yourself to improve.
Ask yourself, “Will my subordinates be satisfied with my leadership if I’m not satisfied with myself?”
Practicing self-control is a must for a leader.
You should be capable of keeping your own emotions in check, especially during critical times.
If someone makes a big mistake, you should handle the case objectively.
You should also make sure that all your decisions aren’t affected by personal feelings or unreasonable opinions.
When someone offends you in any way, don’t use your authority to get back at them.
Practice Positive Habits
Positive habits help you spread positive energy in the workplace.
No matter how small or trivial it may be, positive habits help foster a healthy working environment.
Positive habits that should be part of your work culture includes
- Cleaning up your workspace
- Organizing your desk
- Eating healthy snacks
- Washing your hands after using the bathroom
- Greeting others
- Watering the plants
- Smiling at others
- Using positive language
- Offering help
- Sharing with others
- Cheering others on
- Giving compliments
Focusing on improving yourself before others should be your first step to becoming a good leader.
If you are capable of leading yourself to be a better person, you’ll also be capable of leading others to be better too.
Work On Your Social Skills
As discussed earlier, social skills are the heart of leadership.
If you find it difficult to persuade others, maybe you should start with the simplest steps first.
To develop good social skills, you should develop good communication skills first.
A good communicator possesses the following qualities:
- Knows how to listen
- Approaches others in a friendly manner
- Shows respect when others are speaking
- Speaks out clearly
- Shows tact in delivering opinions
- Keeps an open mind to others’ ideas
- Uses non-verbal gestures
Tips On Applying Leadership Skills In The Workplace
Being productive doesn’t only mean doing many things.
Many things can be done, but productive activities are also those that are helpful or that contribute to the team’s accomplishments.
Productivity is determined by purpose. Hence, productive activities are those that serve a purpose in your team’s goals.
As mentioned before, discipline starts with you.
For example, if you want everyone to show up on time for work, make sure that you are always on time as well.
If you want everyone to keep their workspaces clean and functional, you should set them the perfect example for that.
Tasks are easy to divide, but delegation takes careful thinking.
When you delegate, always consider the person to whom you wish to delegate a particular task.
For example, if something needs to be done quickly, you should consider assigning the task to someone who is capable of working fast under pressure.
If you delegate it thoughtlessly to someone who isn’t used to it, they might not be able to get the task done on time.
Providing Useful Feedback
A leader’s job is to inspire subordinates to be better at their jobs.
You can only initiate change if you point out which needs improvement and which is fine to maintain.
Providing feedback on your subordinates’ results will help them think of ways to improve their performance and encourage them to ask for help if necessary.
If someone does well, giving positive feedback, like compliments, will help boost their confidence, and empower them to do even better.
If someone does badly, pointing out what went wrong will help them avoid the same mistake in the future.
Many people believe that true leaders are born, not created. That’s why only a few people step up to the task. However, in this modern times, anyone can learn how to become a leader.
The key is for you to equip yourself with the right skills and build strong relationships with the people around you.
After all, leadership isn’t about you; it’s about the people you affect every step of the way.
Do you apply the above strategies in your leadership style at your workplace?
Please leave us your comments!
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