Based on the stereotype, good managers are people-persons or extroverts. Thank heavens that’s all it is, a stereotype. Employees and customers have all sorts of personalities so by extension, the world needs leadership personalities of all types too.
Follow the leadership tips below so you can learn how to be an effective leader whatever your personality is.
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How to be an Effective Leader
1. Set Expectations from the Get Go
Your team may not be used to your leadership style so it’s important to set expectations on your first day.
Make the following information clear:
- Tell them your expectations in terms of work, attendance, and performance
- Your preferred communication medium and hours
- Your coaching style
2. Listen to Others
Effective listening means you maintain eye contact, keep an open mind, and most importantly, don’t interrupt the speaker. All these come naturally to introverts, even if they’re just starting to learn how to manage people.
Practicing the art of active listening allows leaders to get their team’s input first before reacting to the situation. Doing this will help you get to the root of the problems quicker and gain your team’s trust at the same time. After all, it’s easier to trust someone when you know they understand your side.
3. Encourage Everyone to Speak Up
Team meetings are often dominated by extroverts confident in their ideas. This leaves little room for the introverts, who have ideas and questions of their own. Knowing how to be an effective leader means making sure both the introverts and extroverts on your team can speak their mind.
To facilitate this, you can structure meetings where everyone gets a turn to weigh in on each other’s ideas. You can also give introverts more time to gather their thoughts by announcing meetings early with a complete agenda of things to be discussed.
Sometimes, it’s not always enough to give introverts a chance to speak. They’re not just shy, they also don’t want to get shot down.
In this case, try experimenting with offline meetings where people send in their questions and ideas to you via an anonymous poll. A little creativity goes a long way if you want to know how to be an effective leader.
You can then read off all the ideas and concerns without citing names when you meet face to face, and announce the general consensus along with your decisions right there.
4. Manage People Accordingly
You won’t learn how to be an effective leader if you don’t take the time to know your team members. One way to do this is by having them answer personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs profile.
When you understand their personality, you’ll know how to reason with them during disagreements. You’ll also understand their motivations better, so you can use it to align their goals to the company.
Not sure what to say to motivate your team? Get inspiration here: 50+ Best Entrepreneurship Quotes to Inspire, Motivate, and Encourage
5. Write Stuff Down
Not all managers are good at impromptu speeches and jokes. If it helps, write down your ideas before you discuss it with your team. Public speeches aren’t the only important skills you need if you want to learn how to be an effective leader.
Create a take-home version of your presentation to help people remember your key points. Whether it’s a simple company meeting, a presentation with stakeholders, or a sales meeting with clients, it’s always better to leave people with a summary of your salient points. Showmanship can only get you so far.
Make sure your document sums up your topic’s key points, answers questions and objections, and includes a way to contact you for additional information.
6. Be Strategic about Gatherings
As a leader, you’ll be expected to attend several events to represent the company. But injecting yourself into conversations and exiting politely might feel awkward if you’re not used to attending such events.
That’s why you need to be strategic when it comes to the events you attend.
Consider the following:
- Who do you need to talk to? Why?
- What topics do you need to discuss?
- What is your goal for this event? Do you need to negotiate a deal or just build awareness for your brand?
- How many people do you need to talk to?
Once you get clear on all of the following information, you can just treat this event like a mission. For example, you can make it a goal to leave the event after talking to seven people on your list. You can also politely exit a conversation once you’ve said your piece. No one will force you to make small talk.
7. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is probably one of the most important leaderships tips for managers. You have your own tasks too, so you have to reserve energy for them.
Tell your team you’ll only be available for questions or one-on-one meetings at select times of the day. Doing this will give you time to recharge your social energies and do your own tasks. You can also tell your team to schedule meetings ahead of time, instead of popping up in your office spontaneously.
Still having a hard time concentrating despite the boundaries you set? Read: 10 Tips on How to Concentrate and Improve Your Brain’s Ability to Focus
8. Remember that You’re the Boss
New managers sometimes worry too much about being liked. That shouldn’t be any of your concern. You’re a leader not a pop idol vying for votes at America’s Got Talent.
Unfortunately, this is one of those leadership tips that may make you feel like a jerk.
But this isn’t an excuse to be cold or distant. Like the other leadership tips listed here, it’s a matter of priorities. If you have to choose between an employee asking for favors or the team’s overall performance, make sure that your decision isn’t colored by a desire to be liked.
It doesn’t matter if a decision means you won’t get invited to drinks after work, if you prioritized what needs to be done. Besides, creating a professional relationship with your subordinates will also help you avoid accusations of favoritism later on.
9. Serve Your Team
Admittedly, it’s sometimes hard to walk the tightrope between leadership tips #8 and #9.
A leader who cares for the personal goals and wellbeing of his team can create a happier and more productive work environment. They also tend to be more liked and respected.
One way to serve your team is by understanding their goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Praise them for their strengths, especially when they deliver a top notch project or exceed expectations. Coach them wherever their skills or knowledge are lacking, or pair them with a team member who excels at their weak points.
Help them set goals, both for what they want to achieve within the company and their own personal development. Supporting your team with their personal goals shows that you care about them as a person, not just as an employee.
10. Conduct Regular Self-Checks
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you should aim to be a leader of the people, by the people, for the people.
As a leader of the people, you should be accountable to the same values, performance, and leadership tips you’re trying to build in your team.
Ask yourself the following questions every month:
- Do I delegate tasks properly?
- Am I a constant example of the performance and attitude I want my team to show?
- Did I make decisions for the betterment of my team, and not out of self-interest or favoritism?
- Did I coach and encourage my team to do their best? Did I support them through the challenges they’re facing?
- Do I allow my team to make mistakes and learn on the job? Do I help them solve these problems or do I just blame them?
What Leadership Tips do You Use for Your Team?
Every leader’s coaching and management style varies greatly. Whether you adhere to the teachings of Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink, or Sheryl Sandberg, I’m sure you have leadership tips that you’ve created based on your own experiences.
Share them in the comments.
Related read: 9 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs