Many people think of leadership as a talent, but it’s actually a skill. It’s something that anyone can hone with the right amount of practice and thoughtfulness. However, it does take time to strengthen those qualities and become a truly effective and respectable leader. Strong leadership skills are useful in countless situations, from getting the kids to bed peacefully to mediating between difficult employees to running a local industry association.
In order to become an effective and respected leader, there are a number of qualities you need to polish and emanate in your day to day life.
Some leaders believe that the only way to gain control of a situation is through intimidation and fear tactics. While this method may get you what you want, it won’t come easily and it causes team members to feel disengaged and overwhelmed. Instead, focus on promoting strong communication skills throughout your organization. An open door policy tells your team that they can be honest and straightforward with you, and you’ll find that companies tend to see more growth when they foster an authentic and approachable environment.
Employees learn by observation, so it’s essential for leaders to remain committed to their company’s brand values. Live by your mission statement and teach your team to do the same. Commit yourself not just to the brand, though; be a champion for your team at large. After all, they are your main source of representation. Take the time to teach them new skills and take them to industry events. Invest in their futures and do everything possible to show them that they are a part of your team.
Effective leadership requires a person to be prepared for whatever comes their way. Both in business and in life, tough times happen unexpectedly. This can catch your team off-guard and, if left unchecked, can have a negative impact on morale. However, a leader that can exemplify grace and steadfastness will show his or her followers that there’s no reason to worry. It’s important to be able to think fast in a crisis situation and, as a leader, the buck stops with you. Stay resolute in finding a solution and assure your team that everything is handled.
Organization trickles down through a company, as does disorganization. If your employees seem to be working with no rhyme or reason, it can likely be traced up the hierarchy. Implement streamlined SOPs and employ technology to simplify everyday processes. Not only will this save your team time and energy, but it will also ensure consistency and accountability throughout your business.
Alright, perhaps not all leaders are fun — but the most engaging ones know how to lighten up the mood. Remember that your team is made up with individuals with distinct moods and needs; keep the negativity out of the workplace and look for ways to build in some stress-relieving entertainment for your employees to enjoy. (You may have heard of Fantasy Sound’s famed Mario Kart contests or our annual fantasy football league!) At the end of the day, happy team members are more committed and productive than their downtrodden counterparts. Make it a point to put a smile on all of the faces that you encounter within your organization.
The success of a company can often be traced back to the effectiveness of the manager’s or president’s leadership skills. Focus on the effect that you have on your team, and recognize that your influence has a direct impact on your bottom line. After all, great leaders develop great followers, in turn leading to great client service and relationships.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and current international president for WIPA.