This Week: 3 Tips to Be a Better Leader

March 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

leadership skillsDo you have what it takes to effectively lead your team?

Being a successful manager who can support and inspire employees requires constructive communication habits, the ability to quickly adjust to every situation, and relentless perseverance. 

Mom was right — nobody's perfect, but add these tips to hone your skills, and transform yourself from just an average ol' supervisor to an influential supervisionary. (Cheesy jokes optional.) 

Give employees a clear vision of your plan and tactics to get from Point A to Point B. 

People want to know what's going on and, if you're taking them somewhere, how they're going to get there. Make your team feel valued by giving them an overview of the current state of the company, the challenges to overcome, goals to meet, and a game plan for reaching objectives. Equip employees with the flexibility and sufficient resources to fully exercise their duties and stand behind their decisions with tools including technologies, company support, and a budget for making it all happen. Providing the team with an outline, a timeline, and projected achievements allows them to gauge and modify their own workload and working style.

Encourage your team to be open about asking for help in urgent situations. 

One of the biggest changes you can make to your managing style is to help your employees feel comfortable about sharing their professional weaknesses, especially if it impacts the outcome of a particular project or task. The "fake it til you make it" concept may seem to work as a short-term solution, but a team that has no clue what they're doing eventually starts to show their spots.

At the start of any new assignment, ask the team if they need anything from you to help them complete it. Do they need your approval on certain decisions to move from one step to the next? Should you set additional time to your regular meeting hours with them in order to meet the deadline? Find out your team's vulnerabilities and use them as opportunities to teach and train, rather than chances to expose weakest links. Check in throughout the week to find out if there are any newfound kinks to smooth out and make yourself accessible to assist with your employees' uncertainties. To clarify: This isn't an endorsement for hand-holding or micromanaging. Use this method as needed. 

Learn how to accept failure.

Without trial and error, there is no progress — put that on a plaque, why don't you? The path to success knows all wrong turns and oversights. Being able to admit to mistakes and to understand more workable options for the next time builds your credibility and wits as a leader who knows the team's strengths and boundaries. Embrace the optimism for triumphs to keep employees energized, but don't forget to recognize when to pull back. It shows smarts in practicality and the dividing line between a wise manager and a naive one. 

Provide your team members with ample leadership and support to help them help you with more efficiency and productive collaboration. Care to share your secrets for better management? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @Entelo!

Download our free eBook!