As cliche as it may sound, leadership is a journey, not a destination. And you don’t need a fancy course, a stack of books, an expensive program, or a week off work to get started. All you need to do is – well, get started!
Great leadership is an accumulation of many small things, of habits that build trust and empower each person on the team. Here are just 7 easy examples you can use today.
Sometimes as a leader it can feel like you always have to be the first to declare a course of action, point out an issue, or find a solution.
But actually, the best leaders aren’t the best talkers – they’re the best listeners.
During your next meeting, listen first and be the last to speak up.
It’s a skill, being able to keep your thoughts to yourself until everyone else has spoken – and it’s harder than it sounds. But waiting until everyone else speaks also gives you the benefit of hearing everyone else’s thoughts before you form an opinion. Plus, it helps your team members feel heard and valued!
If you had a present all wrapped up for someone, you wouldn’t want it just lying around the house – you’d want to give it to them. Right?
Why should a compliment be any different?
Great leaders know that efficient teams are made up of strong, empowered individuals. You can help strengthen your team by sending a positive message to someone – even if it’s something small. Did someone do a good job recently, with any project at all? Tell them – right now!
On a related note, it’s also important to recognize the standard, everyday work that maybe doesn’t pop out as particularly exceptional. The simple, repetitive tasks that don’t usually get noticed, but which ensure the team or business keeps on functioning.
It’s simple: Today, commend a co-worker for that simple task that he or she does. Just say, “This is important for the team. Thank you for doing this!”
For a leader, there’s no such thing as over-communicating. In order to reach the finish line, you have to know where it is. Today, make sure your team knows where to find that finish line.
Throughout the day, repeat the team or company goal several times – and not just in general, but how your team members’ roles contribute to that goal. Think of it like leading an orchestra. Each instrument plays a key part, and without them the whole wouldn’t be nearly as powerful. Highlight their part in the symphony!
Sometimes leaders worry that asking for help or input makes them appear weak – but it’s not true. Great leaders know that everyone is different and aren’t afraid to have vulnerabilities. They aren’t afraid to ask for help or advice from others.
Asking for input from others also shows that you trust them and care about their opinion – which helps build team spirit and boost collaboration. Give it a try!
Time is limited, and as leaders we’re not always as available as we would like to be.
Sometimes that means we become blockers ourselves, preventing our colleagues from delivering or finishing a certain task, like sending an agreement with your signature.
Got an intense day of meetings coming up? Or a trip or holiday? Before you leave, ask your co-workers “Do you need anything from me before I go?”
It helps your colleagues progress with their tasks, and helps you feel less inadequate.
Finally: after you’ve done these great, small actions, think about what you’ve accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back!
Reflection is key to success, helping you gain perspective and to see what’s important long term.
So try to block 20-30 minutes in your calendar. Go somewhere quiet where you can breath. And think: How are you doing as a leader lately? What are your strengths – and weaknesses? Is there anything you are particularly proud of, or an area you need to work on?
You’re well on your way in your leadership journey – don’t stop now! Make these actions a part of your own routine.