How to lead better? 11 strategies to be an effective leader
The keys to being a respected, motivating leader who generates a positive impact on the group.
In order to lead a team well, you need to have a set of skills, abilities and strategies.
Leadership is not a question of hierarchy, i.e. a question of who is the boss and who is the employee; leadership is a question of attitude, of who guides and is committed to the activity performed by all.
Next, we will take a closer look at the figure of the leader and his relationship with the teams he is in charge of.We will now take a closer look at the leader and his or her relationship with the teams he or she is in charge of, in order to better understand how to lead, both in terms of what to do and what not to do.
The figure of the leader
To know how to lead better, the first thing to understand is what a leader is. This word should not be confused with that of leader or group leader. A leader is, as surprising as it may seem, the one who manages that others also become leaders, that they acquire the same capabilities that the leader has and that have allowed him/her to get where he/she is.
In recent years, the idea that one is born a leader is being refuted quite a lot.. More than a characteristic that is innate, it is something that can be worked on. However, to be a true leader, someone who helps to guide the team so that everyone succeeds, requires a lot of effort and daily training. It is not as simple as applying a few "tips" and trusting that the process will come by itself: we have to change the way we relate to the people in our charge.
How to lead better?
Here's how we will see 11 aspects to take into account when managing a work group or any other type of group.. More than advice, they are ways of behaving that the leader must incorporate both in his own behavior and in the dynamics of the group in general.
1. Involve everyone
It is very important to involve everyone in the process of creating and defining the project or business.
Of course, this strategy implies dedicating a lot of time and effort, since it involves taking into account all the opinions and proposals of the members of the work team. At the beginning, it may even give the feeling that you are not in full control.
However, working hard to achieve a common goal, agreed upon in a more or less democratic way, will not only make those involved gain more knowledge about how things should be done, but will also make them feel more motivated to succeed.
2. Encourage decision making
Training people to make decisions independently, even if they run the risk of making mistakes, is an aspect that every leader must take into account.
Having a failure should not be seen as being incompetent, but as an opportunity to learn. Not only do we learn by example, but also by making mistakes and knowing what we have done to have failed.
The more freedom workers have to make their own decisions, the more they will take responsibility for them, acquiring greater autonomy and behaving in an independent and participative manner in the company.
If each worker feels fully responsible for his functions and is aware that his colleagues depend on them, he will take this into account when choosing which days to rest or at what time to have coffee. He/she will make sacrifices and efforts for the success of the group.
3. Maintain contact with everyone
It is essential that the boss is not seen as someone cold and distant, who only appears when he wants to hear how a project has gone after the time he has stipulated as a deadline has passed.
It is vitally important that whoever wants to become a good figure as a leader maintains regular and individual communication with each person on the team. This can be done formally or informally, depending on the type of company and what rules they have in place.
About 15 minutes a week is sufficient. In that period of time, you should talk about the objectives, goals, difficulties and achievements that have been reached or raised since the last meeting.
This is the best way to know if each one of the workers is doing his job satisfactorily, if he feels comfortable with what he is doing and if he has any aspect to comment on.
4. Recognize their work
There are good days and bad days. It is very common that bosses only take into account the bad things their employees have done, and completely ignore all their achievements, no matter how many they may be.
But the truth is that the success of a company or any other type of organization depends on teamwork. Without the individual successes of each of its workers, the company would go nowhere.
It is therefore essential that the leader recognizes the work of his employees, explicitly, and thanks them for the work they are doing. The comments made to the employee must be concrete, positive and direct, specifying what he/she has done well and why he/she liked it.
In this way, in addition to fostering a good atmosphere, in which employees feel appreciated by their boss, they are motivated to continue their efforts and achieve more success.
5. Good communication
It is common in the workplace for everyone, both the boss and the employees, to put on a mask made of appearances and superficiality.
This mask corresponds to the expected professional role, what we believe is expected of us. Generally, with this facade we are not very authentic, using an excessively cordial, distant language and limiting ourselves to doing what we have been told to do.
A leader must have the ability to establish authentic communication with his team, without appearances. Communication must be human, sincere and genuine and, for this to be achieved, the first to set an example is the leader, unveiling himself to his employees.
To know if the company is doing well, it is necessary for the leader to foster a good communicative environment.
Aspects as simple as asking how the family is doing, what they had for dinner yesterday or what they thought of Sunday's soccer game are ways to start a conversation that can lead to better communication among team members.
The more conversations of this type, the fewer barriers there will be between workers to expose problems that may have occurred in relation to the company.
6. Good attitude
As a leader, you should always have a good attitude, not only to achieve personal success, but also to have a beneficial influence on others. If the leader emits good energy, those in his charge are impregnated by it.
It is not simply having good words. It is also showing it in non-verbal language, going about with a smile of determination on his face and a brisk walk.
On the contrary, if the leader is exhausted and negative, it cannot be expected that those who are in charge are excessively energetic.
7. Establish periodic goals and objectives
It is not uncommon for people to fall into our comfort zone easily. One of the best ways to avoid this is to set realistic goals and objectives that can be achieved in a short period of time, and thus be renewed periodically.
The good thing about working in high-performance teams is that people motivate each other, inspiring each other to go further and get everything done as quickly as possible, without falling into dead hours or breaks that turn into eternities.
The leader must prevent tedious routines from arising, since it is routine that can kill imagination and productivity. It is through new challenges and goals that the mind is activated, increasing curiosity and activity.
8. Clear and achievable expectations
In line with the previous point, clear and achievable expectations must be set. For this, the leader must have established a correct communication with his workers, in order to know what they know and what they do not know how to do, and to what extent they can achieve what is proposed to them.
It is also useful to know if they need any special help or if the process needs to be redirected.
It is very important that the stated goals have been duly clarified, without ambiguities. No one feels comfortable with something that has not been made clear, since this generates frustration and the feeling of not being able to do what is asked of them.
9. Manage conflict
The moments of greatest growth for a team are those in which conflict arises.
This conflict can have its good things and its bad things but, undoubtedly, it will have many more of the latter if it is not properly managed in time. If the conflict is not managed, there is a risk that the dynamics in the team will be so negative that it will not be possible to work on it, leading to its consequent disintegration.
The person leading the team must be able to identify the conflict and expose it to all members of the group in order to be able to work on it and manage it. In this way, a road map can be drawn up for where the group is heading, what has generated the conflict and how it can be resolved, involving everyone.
10. Set an example
To achieve high performance in the team, it is essential that the leader leads by example. It is not possible to ask for exemplary behavior if the team leader or manager does just the opposite.
It makes no sense for the leader to say that people come first in the company or organization if he himself treats his subordinates like dirt. Nor would it make sense for him to ask his workers to be punctual if he himself is always late.
11. Climate of fun and trust
A highly productive environment is not incompatible with fun. In fact, it is the best addition to ensure that the workplace becomes enjoyable for all workers, making them give their best. As in any relationship, in the workplace, fun is necessary to keep it alive.
But in addition to this, the company must have confidence in the skills of its employees. People cannot be expected to have confidence in the company if the company does not trust them.
It is essential that the leader endows the workplace with a climate of fun and trust, where, rather than being seen as a boss, he is seen as a dynamizer of the activities that take place there.
What not to do
Just as there are a series of tips on how to lead better, useful and effective, there are also mistakes to avoid, which, if they occur, can completely ruin our good leadership.
The main thing a leader must avoid is to allow disrespect to employees, both on their part and among them.both on their part and among them. Disrespect does not only manifest itself in an insult or a rude comment. There can be little respect in the way the boss behaves towards his employees, for example, not respecting the stipulated schedules, laughing at what he has put in a report, putting meetings on banal topics at the last minute....
Another aspect to avoid is to encourage situations in which employees are humiliated. It is fine to tell a person you are in charge of when he or she has made a mistake, as long as this is done with the aim of making him or her do better in the future and bring long-term benefits to the company. What should not be done is to tell him what he has done wrong in front of the rest of the colleagues, humiliating him for not having done it as expected.
- Nye, J. C. (2011). The qualities of the leader. Barcelona: Paidós.
- Schultz, D. P. Schultz, Sydney E. (2010). Psychology and work today : an introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.