Being an effective leader is challenging, but there are 6 steps you can take to help yourself and your employees.
Anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airline is probably familiar with the part of the pre-flight safety demonstration that tells us in case of an emergency to strap on your own oxygen mask before helping others. This same idea can be applied to being an effective business leader — you can’t do a good job taking care of your employees unless you also look after yourself.
As leaders, we know full well how much time and energy we must expend if we want to be successful managers. The only problem is that it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in guiding others to only wind up without a lifeline (or oxygen mask) for ourselves, leading to even more stress and loss of productivity.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve your personal growth while also remaining a strong leader for your employees:
Getting ahead of yourself is far too easy, especially in the work world. There are deadlines hanging over your head, meetings to prepare for, and many other things that take up one’s time and energy. While it’s good to be prepared, it’s also important to ground yourself in the present. If you’re having a discussion with a coworker, concentrate on what he or she is saying and don’t allow your mind to wander to tasks you have to do tomorrow. You can’t tackle them until then anyways, so why waste time focusing on what you can’t do right now?
Any good leader has failed at one point in his or her career — it’s inevitable. What matters is how you handle that failure and learn from it that will set you apart from the crowd. Perhaps your client presentation didn’t go as planned. Rather than get frustrated or sulk, take any constructive criticism and learn from it so that you don’t make the same mistake twice.
Simply put, look at failure as a learning experience, because that’s exactly what it is.
Learn Something New
One of the quickest ways to achieve personal growth is by taking the time to learn something new. Maybe there’s a computer program you’ve been thinking about learning or perhaps your public speaking skills need some brushing up. Whatever it is, rather than think about it, actually do it. You’re never too old or too high up on the corporate ladder to learn something new. As soon as you begin thinking that you know everything, you become complacent.
Set Up Milestones
Just as you would expect your employees to have a roadmap of where they want their career to be in one, five, ten, or twenty years, so should you. Figure out what some of your career goals are then write them down on paper with a timeline of how you’ll achieve each one. Every few months, consult back to your list and take note of any progress you’ve made. Nothing feels better and is more motivational than achieving a milestone and crossing it off your list.
Lead with Compassion
As leaders, we’re the ones who employees look to when it comes to setting the tone of a workplace. Show members of your team that you genuinely care about them and want to see them succeed.
Effective leadership is impossible in workplaces riddled with micro-management, dishonesty, and other negative behavior.
Instead, do the exact opposite. Being an active leader who’s invested in their employees’ well-being can do wonders for not only the employee, but also for you as a leader.
Take on Good Habits
Habits get a bad rap, but in reality, doing certain things with regularity can be beneficial. Maybe it’s making the effort to write a handwritten thank you note as opposed to sending off a hastily written email. Or maybe it is dedicating a certain amount of time each afternoon to quiet reflection that gives your mind a moment of rest from work-related stress. Whatever it may be, by beginning to execute these habits with regularity, you’ll soon find that they become second nature and just another part of your day-to-day tasks.
You may also enjoy reading Effective Leadership: 6 Steps to Real Time Accountability by Meg Manke