So, You Think You’re A Great Leader

There are obvious well-known qualities that all great leaders have in common: The ability to delegate strong communication skills and the passion to inspire others. But what else makes someone a model of exceptional leadership and what practices can you improve on to get you started on the path to success?

Transparency
Transparency plays a key role in employee loyalty and retention. Statistics show that workplaces that have a high level of transparency have an equally happy staff. When a company is able to keep up with employee retention it allows them to ensure long term success and maintain a more manageable and steady workflow. To put it into perspective as an employer you want those who work for you to exhibit high levels of open communication and transparency with you in order to build a more trusting relationship. That being said why should the same expectations not be applicable to those whom you employ? Being honest with those you lead can have a significant impact on both productivity and your work environment.

Sense of Humor
If your website crashes you lose that major client or your funding dries up guiding your team through the process without panicking is as challenging as it is important. Morale is linked to productivity and it’s your job as the team leader to instill positive energy in those around you. That is where a good sense of humor will finally pay off. Encourage your team to laugh at mistakes instead of becoming stressed or overwhelmed. If you are constantly learning to find the humor in the struggles your work environment will become a happy and healthy space where your employees look forward to working in rather than dreading the thought of. Make it a point to crack jokes with your team and encourage personal discussions of weekend plans and trips. Showing interest in an employee’s life outside of the work place shows that you value them as an individual and not just a drone behind a computer.  It is these short breaks from the task at hand that help keep productivity levels high and morale even higher.

Positive Attitude
At the end of the day ensuring that your team is motivated towards continued success is essential for any winning company.  Whether that means providing snacks coffee relationship advice or even just an occasional beer in the office remember that everyone on your team is a person is vital to maintaining a welcoming and open work space. Keep the office mood a fine balance between productivity and playfulness. If your team is feeling happy and upbeat chances are they won’t mind staying that extra hour to finish a report or devoting their best work to the brand.

Creativity
Some decisions will not always be so clear-cut. You may be forced at times to deviate from your set course and make an on-the-fly decision. This is where your creativity will prove to be vital. It is during these critical situations that your team will look to you for guidance and you may seek your input and expertise before making a judgment call. As a leader it is important to learn to think outside the box and to choose which of two bad choices is the best option.  Keep in mind that choosing the first or easiest possibility isn’t always the best option; sometimes it’s wise to give these issues some thought and even turn to your team for guidance. By utilizing all possible alternatives before making a rash decision you can typically reach the end result you were aiming for.

Intuition
When leading a team through uncharted waters there is no roadmap on what to do. Everything is uncertain and the higher the risk the higher the pressure. That is where your natural intuition has to kick in. Guiding your team through the process of your day-to-day tasks can be honed down to a science.  When something unexpected occurs or you are thrown into a new scenario your team will look to you for direction. Drawing on past experiences is a good reflex as is reaching out to your mentors for support. Eventually though the tough decisions will be up to you to decide and you will need to depend on your gut instinct for answers. Learning to trust yourself is as important as your team learning to trust you.