There are 1,001 leadership strategies out there if you’re willing to read all of the books. Many a career has been made out of teaching others the “secrets to successful leadership.” That’s not to say there’s no validity to those strategies, but there are simpler steps to take. In that spirit, MHEDA Edge has scoured many of these strategies and boiled it down to five simple skills that any aspiring leader should develop.
Have Vision—To be a true leader, you have to be able to see beyond the minutiae of day-to-day activities. Too many people get caught so caught up in the here-and-now of things that, as the expression says, they “can’t see the forest for the trees.” A leader must rise above that. Don’t just focus on your daily sales goal; spend time forming long-term customer retention and development plans. Look for ways that you can impact the company outside of your day-to-day responsibilities and you will truly be leading.
Show Confidence In Your Abilities—How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m way more qualified than so and so, they only got the promotion because they kiss up.”? However, the person who is allegedly “kissing up” is often just someone who produces regularly and knows it. They don’t hide their confidence in their ability, and people notice. As a leader, you have to be that person. Show confidence in yourself and your employees will share that confidence.
Lead By Example—There’s nothing worse or more demoralizing to employees than a manager who displays a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Why should a salesperson go the extra mile if their supervisor is cutting corners? A true leader expects great things of themselves, not just their employees. If you accept nothing but the best out of yourself, you can expect the same of your employees. They will notice your commitment to excellence and they will follow your lead.
Be Firm and Fair—Oftentimes, being a leader is akin to walking a tightrope. If you lean too far to the firm side, your employees will resent you. If you’re too lenient, they won’t respect you. The key is finding your balance. You have every right to expect the best from your employees. However, you also have the responsibility to put them in a position where they can succeed. Don’t hesitate to put weight on their shoulders, but be ready to lend a hand if it becomes too much.
Care—Be passionate. Truly care about your job and your co-workers. Your job isn’t just a paycheck and your employees aren’t just productivity numbers. Take a personal interest in them and their well-being. Not only will they be more loyal, but they’ll work harder for you.