If you are reading this article, you are already on the right path. The fact that you are interested in being the best leader possible and doing research on the topic means that you care enough to do what is necessary. So, let us take a second and give ourselves a pat on the back.
Now, let me go on the record and say that I am not at all an expert in this area. I have not done vigorous research on the topic (at least not for this particular article) and I am not in a position of leadership (at least not a serious position as I am assuming you are). This is coming from someone who has had many jobs and has worked with numerous amounts of leaders: both effective and ineffective. I do hope that you find this article useful and will greatly appreciate your comments.
1. The first thing about being an effective leader is being relatable. Just like you want to be able to relate to your staff or the people that you are leading, they also need to be able to relate to you. Once people are able to relate to you, it’s easy to respect you. What does that mean exactly? It means that you need to be human. You can’t be viewed by them as some higher power. It’s important for them to know that you are in a position above them and they do need to respect your wishes but there is a difference between them doing what you ask because they fear you and them doing what you ask because they respect you. When they respect you, they will want to please you even in your absence. When they fear you? Well, let’s just say that that’s the reason you see people running around attempting to pretend to be busy whenever you return to the office.
2. Another thing that you need to be as an effective leader is dependable. I know what you are saying to yourself, “that’s what I ask of my staff!” Again, just like you want your staff to be dependable, you also need to be dependable. When you give your word, you need to keep your word. Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Don’t tell your staff that they can have Friday off and then change your mind. Don’t change people’s job descriptions or schedules without their knowledge just because that’s what will work best for you or the company. If you can get them to agree to it, that is fine. But you cannot changes with the explanation that “I’m the boss and you must do what I say”. They may go along because they may have no other choices at the moment. But trust me; they are using their lunch and free time to put in applications at other places.
3. To be an effective leader, you also need to do your job. You do have a job description right? When you are working, it will be easier for your staff to follow your example. The biggest complaint in many offices is that the managers do not do anything. You don’t want to be that person. You don’t want people to be plotting on how to get your job or to get you fired because they don’t think you are pulling your share of the weight. You are a part of the team and should be a team player. You also cannot ask your staff to do things that you should be doing. They are not going to be very pleased with that because they are not receiving the same paycheck that you are and therefore, not getting paid to do your level of work. I hope you do not take offense to this, but, if you do not want to do your job, maybe you need to downgrade to a position that you can perform your best in.
4. Another thing to consider in your pursuit of being the best leader you can is to smile. Yes, it sounds simple and in actuality, it is. Smiles make people relax and it also releases the tension. You will feel better and so will your employees. If you are walking around looking mean, people will continuously be tense around you which will prevent them from being to work effectively. When the boss is happy, the whole work area will be happy. You may not believe this but happy people do better work. Also, smiling is good for the muscles in your face so it will be a win-win situation for you.
5. Lastly, but just as important as all the other suggestions is to be nice. Speak nicely and respectively to your team. You team needs to feel valued. If they feel important to you, they will try harder to make sure that they don’t disappoint you. You can’t say everything in a mean tone like you are backing orders at a group of soldiers. These are human beings that you are dealing with and you need to remember that. They have emotions and will allow their emotions to affect their job no matter how hard they try not to. People don’t usually quit because their jobs are hard. They quit because of relationship problems with managers or co-workers. The relationships in the office are just as important as the workload so you need to always remember that.
I truly hope that this article has at least opened your mind to thinking about things you can do around your own office to promote your effectiveness as a leader. I wish you the best of luck and again, please feel free to share your experiences, comments or suggestions.