6 ways to be a bet­ter leader

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Success - By Mandy Gil­bert |

het­her you’re the CEO of a large cor­po­ra­tion or in startup mode, the suc­cess of your com­pany de­pends on your abil­ity to lead. Lead­er­ship skills can be in­her­ent, but they also can be learned and honed.

Al­though the abil­ity to be a good leader is an in­nate skill many of us pos­sess, it needs to be un­packed and re­fined with time and prac­tice. It comes with div­ing in head-first to jobs that may scare you and lead­ing your team to over­come chal­lenges, while mo­ti­vat­ing them to work to­ward a com­mon goal.

Pro­duc­tiv­ity and morale are high when com­pany heads not only are able to guide em­ploy­ees ef­fec­tively and give direc­tion, but when they are able to em­power, in­still pas­sion and serve as a role model.

To be a boss is to have a ti­tle. To be a leader is to have im­pact. When set­ting out goals that will help you be­come a bet­ter leader in 2019, ask your­self the fol­low­ing two ques­tions: What are my best qual­i­ties? Where can I im­prove? Be­low are six ways that will help you re­fine your skills and evolve.

Know your­self

Re­flec­tion is one of the most use­ful tools to be­com­ing a bet­ter leader, be­cause it al­lows you to de­ter­mine spots of weak­ness and as­sess how to im­prove them. Once you know your­self and are able to be un­der­stand your lead­er­ship style, you will be able to re­fine your work­place en­vi­ron­ment.

It is help­ful to re­flect on how you come to make de­ci­sions, how much in­put you gen­er­ally ask of oth­ers, your mo­ti­va­tion tech­niques and whether or not you mi­cro­man­age your em­ploy­ees. These are key in­di­ca­tors of your type of lead­er­ship, and rec­og­niz­ing that will help you de­ter­mine whether you need to al­low for more col­lab­o­ra­tion or take more con­trol of tasks.

En­cour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion

Per­haps you have the most se­nior­ity in your depart­ment or maybe you run the whole com­pany. Re­gard­less of your ten­ure, al­low ev­ery­one on your team to col­lab­o­rate and share their ideas.

Af­ter all, you did hire them pre­sum­ably be­cause they’re knowl­edge­able in their field. Chances are, they may of­fer you a to­tally dif­fer­ent, in­sight­ful ap­proach to a task or a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem you didn't think of.

Get your hands dirty

Don’t pass off ev­ery task to em­ploy­ees. Al­though it’s your job to del­e­gate as a leader, do­ing work with them will af­ford you a new per­spec­tive.

You might dis­cover ways of do­ing things are too time-con­sum­ing. You might re­al­ize you need more hands on deck for cer­tain tasks. What­ever the cir­cum­stance may be, it al­lows you to lead by ex­am­ple and show oth­ers that no task is too in­signif­i­cant for you to par­tic­i­pate in. Your team also will ap­pre­ci­ate the help.

Stay calm un­der pres­sure

A true mea­sure of lead­er­ship is ex­em­pli­fied by how you re­act when faced with prob­lems. No mat­ter the cir­cum­stance, you need to re­spond to is­sues that arise with a calm de­meanor and em­pha­size that it will be han­dled and sim­i­lar mis­takes will not hap­pen again.

You may be scream­ing on the in­side when some­thing hor­ri­ble hap­pens, but don’t let it show. Re­tain­ing your con­fi­dence will en­sure the en­tire team doesn’t be­come dis­heart­ened and go into panic mode when things get tough and stress­ful.

Hold your­self ac­count­able

It’s easy to shift blame when things go wrong and it’s very dif­fi­cult to ad­mit when it’s your fault, es­pe­cially when you’re the boss. How­ever, you’re only hu­man and we all make mis­takes.

Short­com­ings are an op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive feed­back from your team about where things went wrong and how it can be avoided in the fu­ture.

If you have created an en­vi­ron­ment within your com­pany where em­ploy­ees feel they are able to voice their opin­ions freely and with­out reper­cus­sions, you will be able to chan­nel un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances into some­thing pos­i­tive.

Be pas­sion­ate

Pos­i­tive, pas­sion­ate peo­ple at­tract the like. When you are ex­cited about up­com­ing projects and hit­ting goals, the re­sponse you will re­ceive from your team likely will be the same.

Cel­e­brat­ing achieve­ments and rec­og­niz­ing ac­com­plish­ments is one way to in­still pas­sion in em­ploy­ees to suc­ceed, in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and main­tain high morale.

Mandy Gil­bert is the founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cre­ative Niche and a co-founder of RED Acad­emy.

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