How to be a Good Leader: Guide to Mastering Leadership!

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Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are household names that all have one thing in common; they are excellent leaders that have taken their companies to the very highest level. In many cases, a visionary leader is what separates a successful company from a great company. But, of course, this is much easier said than done! This begs the question: How do you become a good and effective leader?

Being a good leader is far from easy. Leaders need to compartmentalize, delegate, and oversee the overall vision of the company, and are, in many instances, the face of the company. It is a position that comes with enormous stress and is not a job for the faint of heart. That said, being a good leader can be one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences when done right!

Leaders bring a team together, and a good leader is essential in having a well-functioning office. Are you looking to up your game and wondering how to become a better leader in the workplace? In this article, we will outline everything you need to know on how to be a good leader and get you on track to leading your team to well-earned success!

What is Good Leadership?

What makes a good leader? How does one be a strong leader in the workplace? While the answer to this question is incredibly dependent on the situation, there are several common traits that all good leaders possess.

It should be clarified at this point that there is a distinct difference between a leader and a manager and that learning how to be a good leader and learning how to be an effective manager are two completely different conversations! Whereas a leader oversees the general direction and vision of a company, a manager/management is responsible for the day-to-day operation of a company’s business strategy. That said, while fundamentally different both require common skills that should be learned by anyone in an administrative position.

Learning how to be an effective leader can greatly benefit your company in several ways. Here are a few:

Commitment 

Good leaders rally employee commitment and encourage proactive work. By being an exemplar of the vision of the company, leaders are a model that employees actually want to work for. Willing work is always better and more effective work!

Productivity 

What makes a good leader? Being able to create a productive environment! A good leader increases the productivity of the workplace by encouraging and creating incentives for more efficient work. 

Nurture future leaders 

Leadership can be a solitary position, but it does not need to be! The best leaders teach others how to be leaders themselves, both to ease the burden of their own obligations, and also to help employees professionally develop and give others something to work towards. Teaching employees how to be leaders could also be a good way of scouting potential in-house talent to succeed you one day.

📚Further reading:  10 Leadership Skills: Definition & Examples for Your Resume

Teamwork 

Good leaders nurture a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the workplace. A unified workforce will always produce higher quality work, and good leaders ensure that this is the case!

📚Further reading:  How to Add Teamwork Skills to A Resume: 20+ Examples

Relationships 

How do you become a strong leader? Learn how to build relationships! The best leaders know how to forge strong connections and relationships between employees. These professional relationships bring your employees together and ensure that everyone meshes with each other. 

Engagement

Good engagement is always eked out by a strong leader. By encouraging active participation and keeping up with the progress of employees, a leader stays on top of the direction of the workplace and makes sure that everything is going according to the vision of the company.

What Makes a Great Leader?

Moving on, you may be wondering what are the characteristics of a good leader and what it takes to be the most effective leader possible. Here are some personal/professional traits that all good leaders embody:

Inspirational 

The ability to drive and inspire higher levels of performance is one of the defining characteristics of a good leader. How does a good leader do it? Well, the answer is simple: good leaders give their employees something to work towards. Whether it be some form of incentive or consolidating employee support to achieve a company milestone/objective, an effective leader can stir up their workforce for the better!

Optimism 

One of the traits that those wanting to learn how to be more effective leaders must have is an innate sense of optimism. When the going gets rough, employees will always look to their leader for guidance. The leader should not lose sight of the bigger picture, and should always maintain a sense of optimism. After all, if a leader shows signs of worry, employees are bound to respond in kind. 

Empathetic 

When learning how to be a more effective leader, one should develop a sense of genuine empathy, particularly towards one’s workers. The one thing that an employee should never tolerate is an uncaring administration. Leaders of a company should always be understanding and empathetic of the situations that are presented to them. This makes a good leader an approachable one and is one that people will more naturally look to when in need of guidance. 

Communicative 

Communication is an essential skill that must be acquired when learning how to be a strong leader. The worst leader is one that does not listen, whether it be to their employees or to well-intended advice. In addition, strong interpersonal communication will allow a leader to communicate their thoughts and vision for the company more effectively to employees, resulting in a more efficient and productive workplace.

📚Further reading:  Communication Skills in CV: 15 Common Skills & Examples in CV

Encouraging

Finally, a strong leader must know how and when to encourage their employees. People like to be recognized for their hard work; understanding and delivering on this is an essential skill to learn when figuring out how to be a better leader. Words of encouragement or rewards for hard work are major motivators that can be employed to keep the workplace morale high!

📚Further reading:  What Are Work Styles & How to Find Yours

How to Become a Better Leader?

There is no such thing as perfection; we should always be in a state of learning. In this case, learning how to be a better leader is an undertaking that people in leadership positions should always be engaged in. 

Wondering how to become a more effective leader? Here are some tips on how to be a better leader!

Know your own motivation

It will be challenging to embody the vision of your company if you do not know your own. A good leader understands their own motivation and goals, and how to apply them to the vision of their company.

Build relationships

A good skill to learn when learning how to be a more effective leader is how to build relationships with people, companies, and, especially, your own staff. Knowing how to network and connect is critical in expanding your company, creating business opportunities, and fully embodying the face of your company!

📚Further reading:  Looking to Become a Networking Expert? 10 Pro Tips

Develop your team members

When learning how to be a better leader, understand that you must build your team up alongside yourself. Invest in the development of you and your teams’ skills, qualifications, and experiences so that they can better meet the demands of your growing business!

Encourage your team to develop new ideas

As a leader, while you are the director of the vision of your company, this is not to say that you should be the only voice in the decisions of the business! While you may enjoy a macro perspective of the business operation, your team has a micro perspective and will have useful insight as a result. Learning how to be a good leader means learning how to listen and integrate the opinions of your team into the overarching direction of your company. This ensures that your employees feel heard and respected, which can help boost the productivity of your business in the long run!

Lead by example

A key skill to master when learning how to be an effective leader is to always lead by example. As a leader, your team will undoubtedly look to you for advice/direction. As such, carry yourself in the manner you expect your team to carry themselves! You can’t expect someone to do something if you are not willing to do it yourself. 

Be open to feedback

When learning how to be a good leader, one of the first things you should understand is that you are not perfect. As such, you are guaranteed to make mistakes or fumble at some point in your career. This is okay! The most valuable lessons are those learned from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. That said, you should never shy away from or reject feedback from your team on the manner in which you operate. As humans, we are often oblivious to our own faults; learning how to be a good leader means understanding that you have faults and that you should always take the feedback given by others seriously. 

Give constructive feedback

In a similar light, learning how to be a good leader entails learning how to give constructive feedback. Giving your team feedback should be done carefully, so as not to offend or disrupt the flow of work in your operation. Remember that the goal of feedback is never to offend or criticize; rather, offer a guide and a solution to any problems that you may identify in your team and ensure that you listen to their responses/justifications for doing things in the way that they do!

Teach, not order

A good leader knows the difference between leading and ordering. This may be one of the most important skills to pick up on when learning how to be a more effective leader. Teaching your team allows you to build connections with them and ensures that they are operating in an efficiency-maximizing manner. On the other hand, ordering your team around does little to encourage productivity and can even result in fractures within the team if members feel a strong enough disconnect between their values and yours. 

Communicate better

How do you become an effective leader? Communicate better! Leaders should always be seeking out ways to communicate with their team better. Better communication produces better results. Better results mean more success!

Be accountable

In the same manner that you hold your team accountable, hold yourself accountable. Leaders should always keep themselves accountable for their actions and act with integrity and professionalism. After all, you cannot expect your team to be honest if you, yourself, are not!

What Good Leadership Looks Like?

Still struggling to envision how to become a better leader? Let’s set the stage with an example. Consider the following scenario and see how our leader, Maria, manages to delegate tasks to her team.

Maria, a budding entrepreneur, wants to build an organic cleaning-supply business from the ground up. While her background is in chemical engineering, Maria does not know the first thing about business! However, the products that she has developed are massively popular on her online store, and she is ready to take things to the next level. 

Recognizing the gaps in her professional business knowledge, Maria hires people with backgrounds in business, social media and marketing, and retail. Through taking careful guidance and giving methodical instruction, Maria inspires confidence in her team of the potential for the company’s success. Motivated and driven, Maria’s team gets to work, fleshing out a structured business model, marketing campaign, and distribution platform. The entire way, Maria keeps in close contact with her team to ensure that all questions are answered and that the direction of the company is going in the way she envisions in her head.

Maria’s company grows to be widely successful, not because of her background in business, but because she knew how to surround herself with the right people and guide them in a manner that was conducive to efficiency, productivity, and success!

Conclusion

A leader is the glue that binds a team together. Understanding what it takes to be a good leader is essential if anyone wants to become the model that other team members look up to in times of crisis or direction. 

How does one become a more effective leader? The answer is deceptively simple. In short, those wanting to learn how to become better leaders should learn how to listen to their team, adapt to any problem, and overcome obstacles with the help of others when necessary. A good leader should always take feedback and should maintain clear lines of communication with their team at all times. 

We hope that this article helped to shed some more light on how to be a better leader! Now, it’s your turn to take what you have learned here and apply it to your own endeavors. Good luck!

With Cake, a resume website, we provide you with hundreds of free example resumes and templates that help showcase the best you. Landing your dream job will be a piece of cake!

--- Originally written by Alexander Coye ---

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