It takes more to being an efficient leader than just being a good manager – requires intuition, empathy and determination. Chiquita Searle, from the League of Extraordinary Women shares her insight into how to become an efficient leader.
LEADING IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN MANAGING
If you’ve already managed people, you know that it’s a difficult task. Each and every employee need personalised attention and needs to be met. Also, with an array of different strength and weaknesses. And, it’s your job to figure it all out in order to get the workplace functioning sufficiently.
By stating ‘leading is more difficult than managing’ eludes to:
- encouraging people to share the journey with you
- captivating people with your vision and getting them passionate about it
- understanding people’s motives and helping them bridge it to your organisation’s outcomes
- link all employees to your organisation’s goals
Chiquita Searle explores what this all means in a practical format. Searle’s organisation the L eague of Extraordinary Women heavily depends on volunteers, female entrepreneurs, interns and remotes staff. Everybody involved works towards the organisation’s defined goals which requires a focused leader.
Being an efficient leader is hard work. This guide will help you plan and implement practical approaches towards being a great leader.
1. Lead in front
For people to see you as a leader, you must behave like one – you’re responsible for your business. To put it blankly the ‘buck stops with you.’
Your employees are in need direction, and will wait for an indication from you to complete their necessary tasks. Through your ability to inspire them will be the game changer for your organisation.
Your role, as leader is like the heart’s, you create the pulse for the rest of the organisation to remain beating. Stand strong and lead your organisation from the front.
2. Trial and error
Mistakes are bound to happen even for adults – it’s apart of the learning curve. Failing allows us to learn tactics that can never be taught through success. Yet many workplaces are fearful of failure and leave no room for it.
As a leader you’ll need to equipped for mistakes. Instead of feeling disappointed with your employees, ask them what they had learned from the experience. Then create an action with your employees to apply the new lesson to their work.
Being tolerant with mistakes will allow your employees the freedom to explore new ideas. Some of which could be beneficial to your business.
3. Power to your team
If you hired employees with defined skills, you’ll be well aware of what their capabilities are – skills, experience and personalities.
Encourage your team and highlight their positive traits that are beneficial to your business. It’s important for a leader to believe in their employees. If your employees know that you value their work, they’ll feel significant to their job – confidence boosts achievability.
4. Praise over criticism
Not everything goes to plan. As a leader you’ll need to guide your employees in the right direction, when they lose course. Remember to always to do this without shattering their confidence. The ‘feedback sandwich’ is a great way to achieve this:
- Begin with a positive
- Weave in the negative, but in a constructive way
- Finish with a positive
5. Think big picture
If your employees feel small, then you’ll never be able to get to see their best qualities. Make time to talk to your employees about how they fit into your organisation. Everybody likes feeling as if they’re apart of something.
Employment is much bigger than just receiving a wage, it’s about achieving valuable targets. Helping people can be more fulfilling than money can. Making sure that every employee feels included in the big picture is vital to being a good leader.
6. Centre development
Employment works both ways – employees seek for more than financial rewards. Employees need:
- Assistance in achieving their career plan
- Benefit from your experience and expertise
- Space and time to master new skills
- Guidance and advice
The more time you put into assisting your employees the better their confidence and performance will become. The support will not only benefit your business but their also their future.
Your employees will feel rewarded and have a high regard for you.
7. Supply ownership
Great leadership entails letting every employee know that they are part owners of final products and services produced. This allows them to:
- use their imagination
- achieve success
- learn from mistakes
Take a few steps back and trust your employees to charge within their roles, so that they can master their roles.
8. Support your employees
As a leader you should be aware that every team member has an equal role in running the business. Achievement should be shared with all. Never focus only on your front end developer or most sociable staff member. It’s has the same connotation as when customers only thank the waiter or waitress for a great meal. The waiter or waitress was only a fraction of the team.
It’s often staff members backstage that keep businesses afloat, so never abandon them. It’s important to note every member’s input and praise them for it. It’ll make them feel appreciated and more inclined to commit to your business.
9. Practice what you preach
Within the management structure, and as the business owner it’s unlikely for anyone to be in a higher role than you. This means that you’ll be held responsible for all actions.
As a leader you’re always going to have to deal with all liabilities and often take the blame. It’s one the most difficult parts of being an efficient leader. Remember to:
- be the example for your employees
- anything said or decided must also apply to you
- set an example of being punctual and a hard worker
- monkey see, monkey do – employees will follow what you do, not say
10. Learn, learn, learn
Leadership for some individuals comes naturally, but in fact anyone can become a great leader. Leadership can be learned, but it’ll take lots of hard work. Including:
- having lots of self awareness and understanding your motivations
- not being afraid to challenge yourself
- asking for feedback from your employees and creating actions around them
Most importantly, leadership requires you to understand the employees you are leading. If empathy is given to those you work with, they’re more inclined to respect and follow you.
LEADERSHIP IS A FULL TIME JOB
If you’d like to be a great leader, be prepared to be up on your foot all day. It’s very easy to step back and just be a manager, but your business will feel the burn. Leadership is where businesses are powered from. A great leader will be able to understand how the organisation operates from the bottom, to the top – engaging with all employees.
Leaders need to be capable of inspiring and motivating employees, as the business grows larger. With good leadership, anything’s possible.