6 Essential Tips to be an Inspiring Leader at Work
What do you want from your career? Do you want to become a successful business leader? Are the likes of Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg among those who drive you to do better?
Maybe you already know you’d make a great manager, but would you also make a great leader? The business leaders mentioned above know how to inspire, motivate and engage with other people to break down barriers, challenge traditional ideas, win hearts and minds, and use creativity and innovation. And that’s what sets managers and leaders apart. Where effective managers know how to get tasks done, successful leaders bring an additional dynamic: they know how to communicate to get their teams energised and involved in their overall vision.
If you want to find out if you’ve got what it takes to become an effective leader at work, look at our checklist of the ‘must-have’ qualities and skills.
1. Communication is key
Communication is the foundation for engaging staff. So don’t detach yourself from your team; be available to staff if they want to talk about any concerns or if they want to discuss new ideas. Frequent communication can prevent cases of Chinese whispers and rumour-mongering, which can be a real blow to morale – especially during times of change or if the going gets tough. Keeping staff in the loop and listening to their opinions can help maintain their trust and get their buy-in.
2. Give staff freedom to be creative
Unless it’s a creative team building event we’re not suggesting signing staff up to a basket weaving class! In a work context creativity can generate wonderful ideas that can boost business. Good leaders encourage staff to explore ideas, and to debate and discuss them together. Brainstorming is a great example – everyone gets to have their say, ideas are openly discussed and unexpected solutions can emerge. Plus, employees feel they’re at the heart of something meaningful and exciting, contributing directly to the success of the company.
3. Keeping it real
Be honest with your team. Keep your promises and don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Otherwise, they’ll notice your inconsistency and their trust in you may falter. Lead by example; forging ahead with the best ideas demonstrates commitment to the work of the whole team, and shows that their work is highly valued. If you don’t, you could end up with a de-motivated workforce on your hands.
4. Put trust in your staff
If you’re snowed under with work delegate more tasks to your team. Not only does this free you up to be a more effective boss, but you’re showing your staff that you have faith in their abilities and that you’re giving them the opportunity to develop their skills on their terms. By delegating you can be more available – it can be unsettling if a manager is rarely present and you risk reducing the quality of the team’s work.
5. Give staff opportunities to develop
Don’t risk losing your best employees by neglecting their professional development needs. Hang on to top talent by giving staff a robust and meaningful development plan – identify skills that they need to develop to do their job and trust your staff in taking on new responsibilities. Inspire and stimulate their curiosity by letting them move outside their comfort zone a little. Get them working with other teams or in new environments for example.
6. Recruit wisely
It’s important to get it right from the start, so when you’re recruiting new team members not only choose staff based on talent and skills, consider how they’ll fit into the organisation’s culture. Will they happily engage with other staff? Will they bring fresh ideas? Do they ‘get’ the overall mission of the business? Will they be innovative enough to keep up with changes in the industry?
If you are prepared to absorb new knowledge and adapt your work style where necessary, you have every chance of pushing your career to a higher level and becoming an inspiring leader!