TV and films make the position of the director look so cool! You get to wear nice suits, shout a few orders and there’s always someone there to hand you a coffee. In reality, we know there’s a lot more to it but most of us aspire to a similar leadership role.
You may be unsure of your individual leadership style (you can find out more by taking a leadership-style quiz, if you’re curious) but let’s have a look at a few of the most typical.
‘Transformational’ leaders make sure team members understand their responsibilities. They focus on developing self-esteem and above all, they set a professional example whereas ‘Transactional’ leaders like to follow a system of rewards for positive outcomes and punishments for negative outcomes.
And on one hand, we have the ‘Dominator’, who acts like the big boss and sets high standards. On the other hand, we also have the ‘Accommodator’, who focuses on making people happy. They’re good at overcoming conflicts and don’t mind others making decisions.
Independent of your style you should be certain that your actual leadership abilities are equal to what you employees think of your skills. So don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and constructive criticism to improve.
To be the best you can in your position, steer clear of the following bad habits:
#1. Controlling every part of a situation
Although it’s difficult to let others take some control of your business, this is something that must happen. By trying to control everything you will end up completely overwhelmed. Also, your staff need to know that you are willing to rely on them and that you trust them and their abilities.
#2. You think you’re Wikipedia on two legs
You have the answer to everything and it is impossible that one of your staff has a better idea. Working for this type of leader is very discouraging. People don’t bother to look for solutions or alternative methods because you appear unable to listen to them. Staff will soon start to feel undervalued. Listen to what others have to say and consider their suggestions.
#3. The fine line between buddy and boss
To maintain a level of command and professional respect, you should keep some space between your personal life and your work life. That’s not to say that you can’t be friendly but know the limits. This applies to social media more now than ever.
#4. Expecting impeccability
Without being condescending, we need to praise well-executed work and motivate staff to work in the way you would like. Sometimes mistakes will be made: how you handle these mistakes defines your leadership skills.
#5. Being indecisive
Difficult decisions will have to be made and, while it is great to get some input from your team, the ultimate decision is yours. Think through the situation and stand by your choice. This will install confidence in your team.
#6. Stealing the limelight
Just as an unsuccessful outcome reflects on the whole team so does a successful one. If you take all the acclaim for a project. you won’t inspire people to make an effort and you’ll be seen as untrustworthy. Give credit where credit is due.
#7. Hiring people who bring down your standards
You have a team of great, hard-working people but the new person is lazy and making too many mistakes. Why should your current team continue to provide high quality work when not everyone is doing their fair share? Accepting this type of behaviour reflects badly on your business. If you need to ask someone to move on, it’s better in the long run to do so.
#8. Not making time for your own professional growth
You’ve made it to the top but this also implies that you have further to fall if things go wrong. The world is advancing at an incredible speed at whatever stage you are at in your career. You need to take time to continue improving your own knowledge and abilities.
#9. Being unwilling or unable to change
As much as we would like to get on well with everyone in the workplace, on occasions there are going to be people or situations that you don’t like. Learn to modify your behaviour or leadership style in order to accommodate for other people or difficult situations.
In closing, your learning journey should never be complete. Leadership requires you to learn more about the job and yourself. You will make mistakes – but as long as your learn from them, you will be setting a strong example for your employees and also developing the leaders for the future.
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