The story of Bill Gates inspires even the harshest of his critics. The young college dropout teamed up with his friend Paul Allen and founded Microsoft from a tiny garage. With no money and only a solid vision, Gates propelled Microsoft to become the largest software company in the world. At the time of his stepping down as CEO, Bill Gates had 128,000 employees.
While we can’t all become Bill Gates, George Soros, or Jeff Bezos, we can learn important lessons about leadership from their success stories. The following are 5 quick tips to become a better leader at your workplace.
Tips to Become a Better Leader
1. Don’t Give Orders, Teach
If you are constantly barking orders, you are on the wrong trajectory. Expecting military discipline and trying to control people to do things in a certain way is counterproductive for several reasons. First, it creates an environment of fear and limits creativity.
People will be afraid of thinking out of the box for fear of making mistakes and will not go the extra mile when looking for solutions. Secondly, you will end up with poor employee engagement. Disengaged employees are likely to be less productive and more likely to leave the organization.
If you want to be a good leader, coach your team members. This means recognizing that they have a mind of their own and allowing them to take ownership of their projects. Be available to offer guidance and encourage growth by teaching. At the end of the day, you will create loyal and inspired employees.
2. Lead By Example
Being a manager does not give you special privileges to break the code of conduct. For example, if you are constantly speaking against using the company resources for your own gain, don’t use the company car to run your personal errands. This will break trust and can encourage dishonesty.
Operating with high standards will set the pace for everyone else and will create a culture of integrity and a value system that espouses accountability, honesty and responsibility. Yes, a position of leadership allows you to shape the actions of others with words, but it is your actions that have the most impact.
3. Develop Yourself
The age-old debate of whether leaders are born or made has never been properly settled. However, research suggests that leaders are most likely made. The fact is that leadership requires a complex set of skills that can only be acquired through education, mentorship and experience.
While you do not need a stellar academic record to make a good leader, you must make a continuous effort to acquire as much knowledge as possible. Therefore, take relevant online courses from time to time, attend industry events and workshops, read books, reach out to successful leaders for mentorship and so on. Becoming a better version of yourself will inspire others to become the best they can be.
4. Set Clear Goals and Involve Your Employees
For employees to be successful in their jobs, they need to be aware of the goal they are working towards and what the expectations are. Do not make any assumptions; you must communicate clearly and articulately so that everybody is in the loop. While goal setting is usually a management function, it helps to include employees in the process. Therefore instead of bombarding them with expectations, allow them to ask questions and give feedback.
Further, share your vision and help them understand how their efforts will help the organization get there. This will help them realize how important their roles are and will make them feel valued.
5. Give Constant and Honest Feedback
Most people will appreciate knowing how they are fairing. If a new employee has to wait till the end of the year to know what you think of them, they might not be confident about their abilities. Therefore, give feedback from time to time. Be forthright about performance and other metrics, and do not be afraid of communicating negative feedback. If someone can do better, point out to them how they can improve. Likewise, good performance needs to be acknowledged and rewarded.
You Can’t Do it Alone
Successful leaders agree that leadership is more about empowering others and creating synergies than being a boss. It’s about selling your vision and inspiring others to help you get there. This is not something that you can learn in a day. To become a better leader, you must be confident enough to start.