Many say they want to be a better leader but few will actually follow through with it. To become better, you have to grow and change, and changing your ways isn’t always easy – especially for many leaders. After all, “the way they are” is part of what got them to “where they are.”
But in order to become the best leader you can be, you must first become a better leader than you are now. Becoming better isn’t as difficult as you might think. It just takes a conscious effort.
Here are four simple practices you can put into place to become a better leader.
Utilize People Who are Better than You
One of the great telltale signs of a poor leader is that they always hire and manage people who don’t have as much growth potential as the leader. This stems from insecurity and results in mediocrity. To be a better leader, you must find people who are better than you in certain areas. People that understand things that you can’t understand or who have strengths that you don’t have.
Then you have to trust their opinions in those areas. You need to be confident enough in yourself to know when you don’t know or you can’t do something. Just because you’re following someone else’s guidance doesn’t mean you’re not leading, because at the end of the day, it’s still your decision and your team.
And let’s face it, when you allow your team to do great things, you look great.
In Business is ART, I put it rather bluntly: “For the boss to be scared that one of their employees will look great is idiotic. When the team looks great, the boss looks great. A boss who tries to do it all or take all the credit looks silly.”
(get your copy of Business is ART at Amazon)
Be Positive. Always.
No one wants to follow a negative person in the professional space. It’s soul draining and demotivating. If you are positive, the people under you will become more positive. If you’re encouraging, they will be encouraged.
Yes, this seems obvious, but think about your past week or two. Have you been positive in your actions and statements? Do those following you believe you have a good attitude about things?
Never underestimate how much your attitude affects those under you.
Get to Know Your Team Better
Now, there often needs to be a buffer between a leader and those following them, particularly in a professional workspace. But that doesn’t mean your people should be foreign to you. They’re not just titles and responsibilities. They’re people with names and friends and hobbies and struggles.
Interact with them. Understand them. Let them know that you’re paying attention, and that you care. If they know you value them as more than a position, but as a person, they will naturally become more committed in following you.
Never Stop Learning
When a person starts off in leadership, they’re hungry and eager. They want to learn and mimic and be inspired. But once you begin to find some success in what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, that drive to learn might start to die.
Don’t let it.
Listen to other leaders. Read books. Go to speaking events. Check out podcasts. Soak in leadership, not just from big corporate names, but anywhere you can access it. Find leaders you can relate to. Get a mentor. Try mentoring someone below you. You’d be surprised what you might learn in doing so.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself to be a much better leader.