Some people are just born natural leaders, and it comes easy to them when they want to win over their followers, employees, partners – whatever! Other people may wish that they could bottle up that essence, whatever it may be, and use it on themselves; because their heart might be in the right place, but it could just be more difficult for them. Not everyone is a perfect cookie cutter shape of a leader (how nice would that be?), but there are behaviors that we can analyze and slip into our daily lives to become the best version of a leader that we, as ourselves with our different strengths and weaknesses, can be.
- Be willing to step into the role you’re overseeing; you have to want to do the dirty work, to sweat, and take the time that you need to, as the leader, to improve each team member’s performance and quality of work. You don’t need to run yourself to death for your team members, but you certainly need to put in a little extra behind your contribution. The harder they see you working, the harder they will work, too.
- Be neutral. It’s extremely difficult to be calm during a heated situation, but it’s important, as the leader, to remain a neutral party. Taking sides can mean damaging employees relationships with one another, as well as employer-employee relationships; not to mention the drop in workplace moral, the dissolution of trust and respect, and an increased hostility in the environment. Your job is to keep the peace the best you can while also remaining ethical and fair.
- Think outside of the box. Try approaching remedial tasks with a different outlook from time to time to keep people on their toes and their creative juices flowing. Look at the “Big Picture” when small issues occur; will it affect anything drastically? Is it worth the stress? Find a new way to complete different tasks, or meet a certain goal. Keeping an open mind will make the workplace more fluid, and adaptive.
- Be an open communicator. Practice active listening and making sure that you, as a leader, are available to listen to anything that a team member may need to get off their chest. The more positive signals you give out during a conversation, the more open and honest the team member is going to be. Having open dialogue will give everyone a chance to dissolve any tension or issues in the work environment, and will increase productivity.
While being a leader can be hard and stressful, it’s definitely possible to be a great one, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Just keep these four habits in mind, and you’re on the right track!