A respected team leader sets the right example for successfully accomplishing goals and conducting business. The team looks to you, as a manager, to lead by example, show guidance and strength and inspire those around you. If you expect your team to push forward to greatness, you must do the same.
People want to learn from leaders who take an interest in their development, help them deepen their existing skills and learn new ones. Successful leaders find effective ways to build trust with their team and provide opportunities for them to excel and develop.
Listen to the Team
Actively listening to not just the words, but also the emotions of your employees, is essential. Florida Tech instructor Marshall Jones says:
“I think [good leadership is] building rapport and getting to know people, being an active listener. Those things I find to be very important. Being aware that if someone’s emotional about an issue it’s important to them. The most important thing is to have that rapport, take time to actively listen and engage so that you get to know the folks that you’re working with. It saves a lot of problems and helps that leader-member relationship quite a bit.”
Florida Tech professor Dr. Troy Glassman echoes this assertion, stating that providing your team a voice is essential, and this can only come from active listening. “I think a good leader is a good active listener. It’s understanding not only are their voices important, but you actually implement their voices when they give an idea.”
Get Your Hands Dirty
It’s important to show your team that you’re willing to do put in the work. Dr. Troy Glassman says, “You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves. You have to be willing to get a little dirty, but you have to understand the balance. It’s hard to roll up your sleeves every time and get down in the trenches, but you also have to take a step back and think, ‘I’m also leading this team. So I’m showing a good example by doing it, but it’s also important that I am in charge.’”
Being a leader can mean celebrating wins with your team and accepting the responsibility for a loss on your own. It’s important to acknowledge that you are “responsible for the outcomes,” Dr. Glassman says.
Manage Your Emotions
While you are busy trying to whip your team in to shape, take a look at yourself. Are you emotionally intelligent? How well do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
“Emotional intelligence is really important in the workplace, especially for leaders,” says Florida Tech associate professor Dr. Lisa Steelman. “Emotional intelligence has to do with understanding and managing your own emotions as well as understanding and managing the emotions of others. That’s a critical piece of leadership.”
You will be more effective at work if you examine your own emotional intelligence. Insight leads us to behave in ways that allow us to be more effective.
Acknowledge Your Weaknesses
The best leaders among us truly are willing to acknowledge their weaknesses so they don’t become a problem.
As Jarin Eisenberg, Florida Tech instructor and Executive Director of Melbourne Mainstreet says, “I think in order to be a good leader, you first and foremost have to recognize what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. When I started at Melbourne Mainstreet, looking at the budget and planning for a year really stressed me out because it wasn’t a skill that I had developed yet. So, I reached out to organizations and to people that I knew could help me. I wasn’t afraid to go to them and say, “I have no idea what I’m doing right now.’”
Take the Time to Praise
We’re all busy, but taking the time to make your team members feel special demonstrates that their work is valuable and that you’re paying attention.
“I believe that praise is important. You need to work hard, but you also need to praise.” Dr. Glassman says.
Don’t Be a Hypocrite
Follow the rules you set out for your team. Don’t ask a coworker to do something you are not willing to do. If your team can’t take personal calls during business hours, you don’t take them either. If the rule is for everyone to leave the office by 5 p.m., you do the same. Set an example for others as a good manager and leader.