Perhaps more than any other individual trait, your leadership can either lead a firm astray or take it to new heights. And especially in a small or mid-sized firm, a positive leader at the helm can help push the firm to its true potential.
If you’re ready to take inventory of your leadership, here are 6 ways to put on your leadership hat and successfully lead your firm.
1. Build Trust
For your team to follow you and learn from you, trust must be established. Not only do your employees need to trust you, but you need to put your trust in them, too. To promote the growth of your relationship with your employees, communicate clearly and often with them, and ask them to do the same. A close relationship with your team will cement trust.
2. Encourage Open and Honest Communication
By encouraging open and honest two-way communication, your team will begin to feel comfortable talking to you. Be approachable. Make it clear to your employees that you are available to talk about anything – you’re there for more than just giving feedback and performance reviews. An employee in need should feel comfortable coming to you for help.
To enable two-way communication, let your team know that they can come to you with anything; be it feedback, a complaint, or a suggestion. Additionally, approach everything calmly and let the employee know they are being heard and their opinion matters.
3. Coach Employees, As Needed
Leaders promote growth. By helping your employees grow, you also strengthen your team, which strengthens the firm. In the workplace, coaching is typically thought of as structured and focused on helping the individual set goals and make a plan to move towards them, but much like a sports coach, it can be simple things as well: offering a word of encouragement, support, or an open door and listening ear.
4. Be Decisive
Leaders make difficult decisions seem easy. While you should always make informed decisions and do your due diligence before making them, confident and decisive decision-making will reassure your employees and earn their respect.
5. Establish Clear Goals and Hold Your Team Accountable
Leaders mustn’t set goals only for their individual employees, but for their entire team as well. This combination will be the perfect recipe for growing a firm: individual goals will help each person grow, while joint goals will ensure they’re all working towards the same objectives.
When you set goals these goals, it’s also important to hold everyone accountable. Regular check-ins, meetings, and rewards for successes will encourage hard work. Remember that all goals, whether personal or directly related to the business’s bottom line (sales goals). need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. By setting goals SMART goals you’re able to measure both progress and success.
6. Provide Feedback
People think of feedback as simply telling an employee what they did right or wrong, but feedback is much more than that: it’s about nurturing employees with suggestions that promote their personal or professional growth and doing it graciously.
For example, if someone’s work is lacking, your feedback shouldn’t just be limited to telling them that. Instead, look for the things they are doing well and start with those before moving onto the more critical things, then offer specific suggestions for improving the weak points.
When you give negative feedback, also try to dig into the reason that an employee might be performing in that way. If there’s a problem, it is your job to work out a resolution and offer how you can help them overcome it. For the sake of your firm, you must become teammates and tackle any problem that’s inhibiting your employee from maximum success.
Now, Go Lead!
Remember, as a leader you can only control your actions, but you can still influence the actions of everybody around you. Sometimes this is done through encouragement, sometimes feedback, and often by leading by example. As a leader, it’s up to you to figure out what works best for your employees and your firm, and then actually apply it.