“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
So said John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, also known as the vision behind the Smithsonian Institute.
John Peter Zenger, the journalist whose acquittal in a 1735 libel suit led to the first important victory for freedom of the press in North America, described great leaders as “not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.”
So, what are those strengths, and how do you develop them? The answer lies in engaging and simple but powerful behaviors on the job, every day. Here are five tips to get you started:
Leaders need to plan and be alert to upcoming opportunities. This is hard to do if you’re disorganized. Take charge of your life before it takes charge of you.
- Set realistic goals and stay focused on them.
- Set priorities. Review and update them daily.
- Maintain a calendar and use it religiously.
- Clean up your workspace. File or toss things you no longer need and act on those that require it.
Go above and beyond.
Think about what you must do and what requests may come next. Then, get them done, or at least well underway, before you’re asked.
- Your people use you as a barometer to determine how much they’re willing to give. If you give average efforts, they will, too. But if you give at high levels, your employees will quickly notice and raise their performance bars.
Be a persuasive communicator.
Communicate proactively and regularly with all your team members. Don’t save updates until a crisis occurs or when you need an assignment completed. Go from being a good leader to a great leader by saying things like:
- “What do you think?” Let people know you value their input and ideas.
- “Please, and thank you.” Be generous with these phrases, and your employees will appreciate and respect you for it.
Be resilient and resourceful.
This is a powerful combination when the inevitable challenges of running a business or managing a team occur. If you have the perseverance to keep going in tough times, you will be able to turn crises into breakthroughs.
- Think outside the box. Resourcefulness is the ability to overcome or improve situations by coming up with innovative solutions. Understand, accept, and comfortably accommodate change.
Take calculated risks.
Leaders are ultimately judged on the results they deliver. Sometimes it can be easier to maintain the status quo, yet, creativity and risk-taking are critical to leadership success.
- If risk-taking doesn’t come naturally to you, start with baby steps. Try a pilot or test of a major project so you can see the outcome before jumping in with both feet.
- Be ready to make a mistake. They’re called risks for a reason. Just be sure to minimize the fallout and plan to re-execute after making necessary changes. And turn every setback into a learning opportunity.
Support Your Team.
With so much going on in the world right now, your team may need extra support. As a leader, you want to continually push your team to achieve their personal and professional goals, but you are also human. Be aware of signs of poor mental health in your team and be sure to ask them how they are doing. As teams continue to work remotely, all your employees may need is for someone to reach out and show they care. In your team huddles have everyone answer these four questions to see where they are at:
- What are you focused on?
- What are you grateful for?
- What are you working on?
- How can I help?
Looking for a Strategic Partner?
Call on the talent management specialists at HR Works to help customize your strategy as you build your winning team and develop leadership strengths in yourself and others. Contact us today to learn more.