There are two kinds of bosses people remember. Truly good ones and truly bad ones.
Wouldn’t you rather fall into the first camp? I know I would. When people think about me and the role I’ve played as a boss—or even just as a leader, whether that’s heading up a small team on a project or managing in the long term—I want the people who follow my direction to remember my guidance fondly.
Not just because I want to be liked and loved, but because I want to have a positive impact on someone else’s life. If I can look back on times of leadership and know that I made a difference for the better—wouldn’t that be incredible?
Of course, we don’t all know how to be good leaders. Whether we know it or not, we’re going to lead at some point or another. You’re probably leading right now. You might not be a boss in the traditional ‘owning a company’ sense, but somewhere, someone is looking up to you.
That’s a lot of responsibility.
And for you, the person in a place of leadership, you’re going to find that being good at it is going to reap some awesome rewards. You’ll get:
- More respect
- Better relationships with your team
- Higher performance and cooperation
- Better results
- A better working environment
Even if you already consider yourself a good boss, it’s always good to remind yourself of what makes your method work and where you can be even better.
So, here are a few tips and reminders on how to be a more effective leader:
5 Proven Ways to Being a Better Boss & Leader
1) Celebrate wins.
Good bosses know that wins matter, whether they’re big or small. They also know that their employees need wins. Working, even for a company or project that they believe in, can get dull and draining. Wins help reinvigorate your team. They boost confidence, increase momentum, and help spring your team back into action, full steam ahead. When an employee does well, tell them so. Reward them accordingly. Celebrate and recognize good work and let your team know that good deeds don’t go unnoticed.
2) Talk about the future focus.
Do your employees know where things are headed? Are they aware of your vision? Listen, it’s tough to work for someone when you can’t see beyond the day. When you aren’t connected to the big picture and you’re just slogging through for that paycheck, it’s hard to care. It’s tough to want to invest yourself.
So let your team in.
Remind them of where things are headed, why you’re doing what you’re doing, where the company is going, the part they’re playing, and your vision for the future. It doesn’t hurt to remind them of the mission and include them in the big picture.
3) Encourage direct communication.
One of the worst things a boss can do is to make their employees feel like they can’t approach them. If your team can’t come to you and let you know how they feel—whether it’s expressing concern, dissatisfaction, or any issue with their job—then you’ll quickly find yourself out-of-touch with your team and what’s really going on.
You can encourage direct communication by being open and honest with your team yourself. Be fair. Be honest. Be direct. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Be level-headed. If your team can trust you, they’ll talk to you, too.
4) Nurture your team’s strengths.
As bosses and leaders, we often have results in mind that we want to see. And we’re bound and determined to get those results. Our employees have their positions and those positions have expectations and they had better perform exactly as you expect them to. You probably have some idea of how you want them to perform, where you want to see them grow and excel—and in some ways, that’s fine. There are things your business needs. Your projects have demands.
However, a good leader understands that your team members don’t necessarily fit into the boxes of their job descriptions. They may have strengths and talents and passions that lie beyond what you demand of them. When they can fit into your business, nurture those strengths! Find opportunities to plug them into those spaces. Not only is it personally fulfilling for your employees, but it will increase productivity overall when you’re playing to the strengths of your team.
5) Hear your employees.
If an employee brings a concern up to you—say they feel overworked and overburdened—one of the worst things you can do as a boss and leader is to ignore their plight. Maybe you didn’t mean to. Maybe you just got wrapped up in something else and left them hanging with their problem. It doesn’t matter. If you’re pushing aside employees requests, whether it’s a need to lighten the load, a desire for more training, or a want for more responsibility, they’re going to feel like you don’t hear and you don’t care.
It’s important that you listen and address what’s going on. Good bosses work to address concerns. They listen and act!
If you truly want to improve as a boss and as a leader, these are just some of the steps you can take to do it.