Whether you have a team of two or twenty, leadership is an invaluable quality that inspires the people who move your business forward each and every day.
But if you’re new to the leadership game, it can be a bit overwhelming. Sure, you’re used to working hard, but now you need to work hard and inspire a group of others to work hard too?
And don’t get me started on the plethora of advice out there, some of which is just over complicated or ineffective. When it comes down to it, inspiring your team to do their best isn’t as hard as it might seem.
Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.
– Robin S. Sharma
For years, I worked in an office whose culture was that of leadership, accountability, maximum performance, and realizing your potential. And, in that time, I picked up on a thing or two from both the leaders within the company and as a result of me leading my own team.
Here are ten quick tips I’ve learned along the way about how to become a better leader:
1. Be accountable to yourself and show your team
Leadership is all about leading by example. In order to inspire others to take action, you need to show your team and followers that you’re the real deal.
The best way to do that? An accountability system. With an accountability system, you’re keeping track of everything you do and can go back and show your team your performance.
It’s your job as leader to be the hardest working person in the room so that others will strive to follow suit, an accountability system not only gives you a way to maximize your performance but shows your team that you’re the real deal.
2. Be constantly learning
Leadership is movement. You’re going somewhere– or, at least, you’re supposed to be. But if you’re not consistently learning and growing, not only are you going to stay where you’re at, but it’s going to be very difficult to convince others to continue to improve their performance as well when they have something they need to work on.
Learning gives us the ability to improve our productivity and efficiency, see things in a new way that can lead to creative solutions to problems, and maximize results. Whether it’s a regular reading schedule, podcasts, conferences, or something else, make sure you’re constantly upping your own game so that you can not only lead better but keep up with the changes in your space.
3. Communicate your passion
Emotions are infectious. If you’re excited about what you’re doing, that excitement will transmit to your team. The problem is, some of us aren’t great at communicating that passion and excitement. Some of us just like to keep our head down and work. However, as you might expect, this isn’t a great quality to have in a leadership role.
If you want to lead better, communicate your passion and excitement for the cause more and see how it helps motivate those around you.
4. Sell the dream (or craft one if you don’t have it)
It’s critical you have a dream or vision that you and your team is working towards.
Without this, there’s no sense of progress and your team (and you) will have a hard time staying motivated. Similar to communicating your passion and excitement for the cause or endeavor, this is about communicating your goals and dreams.
Craft a vision for the future that your team can get excited about and talk about it constantly, this will not just motivate your team but help them work together more effectively as well because of a sense of a shared cause.
5. Admit when you’re wrong
We love when someone has the strength to be vulnerable. However, the way we lead we often try to hide our weaknesses for fear of what our team might think.
If you want to forge a stronger bond with your team, don’t be afraid to admit when you messed up or were wrong about something. This will bring you together and help you yourself grow like few things can.
6. Know your limits
Part of leadership is knowing your strengths and your weaknesses.
By identifying your weaknesses, you can hire others who are strong where you’re weak, not only making you more effective as a unit because you cover your weaknesses, but also because you then have more time to focus on what you’re best at (whatever that is).
7. Find a mastermind
A mastermind is useful for several different reasons, from bouncing ideas off of others to learning from those who are on a similar level as you are.
But another way you can utilize a mastermind to your advantage is by consulting the members of your group when you’re having issues leading your team. By explaining what’s going on, you can get valuable feedback from others who may have experienced what you’re going through.
8. Improve your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence has several valuable uses, but one of the most important of those with regards to leadership is your ability to read people.
You need to be regularly checking in with your team. Not just on a surface, “how’s the project coming along?”, kind of way but in a more personal, “how are you doing”, way that shows you care and are looking out for them.
This helps in several other ways as well, from picking a team member up when they’re down to identifying issues existing between team members before they become too big to handle peacefully.
9. Develop self-awareness
Self-awareness is a critical quality in both life and business. It helps us see ourselves with greater clarity so that we can make the necessary course corrections to stay on track. However, it also helps us become better as a whole because it helps us see our flaws more clearly.
10. Act like a startup
We often treat our businesses like machines which can be tweaked and improved. Acting like a startup is taking this idea and applying it to a team.
In a startup, you’re iterating and optimizing your process along the way indefinitely, continuously improving your product or service.
If you look at your team in the same way you’ll be able to see it more objectively. By continuously making small changes and then paying attention to what happens when you execute those changes, doing more of it if it’s working or trying something else if it’s not, you’re able to maximize your team’s performance.
Leadership is a tough job that often holds little to no praise (that should be reserved for your teammates). However, leading a group of people toward a unified purpose is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your life. Use these tips to become a better leader and inspire your team to do more.