There are a lot of articles about leadership and the techniques you can use to rally your team towards a common goal. That’s all well and good, but the real key to leadership is respecting yourself and your employees just as much as you respect your clients.
Give Respect, Get Respect
The best way to be seen as a true leader is to give your team the respect they deserve. It seems simple, but many “leaders” see themselves as above their team, and that will never work. Even if you never say it, if you think that you’re better than your employees, they’ll notice. On the other hand, if you reach out to form authentic connections, listen to your team, and remember that we’re all human, you can create a team that’s committed to giving it their all.
Know What You Know
No one wants to work with someone who has all the answers, even when they don’t. And there’s nothing worse than dealing with a know-it-all unless that person happens to be your boss. The most successful leaders know that they don’t know everything and are willing to ask for help. Too many times, people in high positions want to be seen as infallible, but all that tells your team is that their knowledge isn’t as valuable as yours, and that’s a huge morale killer. Instead, if you’re willing to ask questions and be wrong, you can become the leader you’ve always wanted to be.
Trust your Team
There’s a reason you need a team – no one can do it alone. So, after you go through the interviews, weed out the people who don’t fit, and have a reliable group you can count on, trust their expertise. For example, let’s say you hire a marketing director, and this person has many ideas about how to grow your business. Even if these ideas don’t match the “things we’ve always done,” trust them. You’ll never be innovative if you don’t change the way you do things, and sometimes a fresh perspective is exactly what you need to level up your company. There’s a reason you hire who you hire, so trust these people to do their job, and by giving them that freedom, you’ll let them live up to their potential.
Remember, We’re All Human
Everyone has a bad day now and then, and that’s okay. However, when you’re in charge, you can’t take your bad mood out on anyone else. That’s not fair to your team, and it’s the fastest way to lower morale. On the other hand, if someone on your team is struggling, it’s your job to be supportive. You don’t need to be a shoulder to cry on, but you can be understanding. If one of your workers is having a hard time getting back and forth to the office, explore the possibility of them working remote a few days a week. Or if there’s a family health crisis, give your employee the ability to manage their personal issues without worrying that their job will disappear. A little consideration goes a long way, and it will help you to be seen as a leader who is confident in your team.
Leadership takes many forms, but to be effective, it always starts with respect for yourself and those around you.