In one of my previous articles here on InfoBarrel, I talked about being a good leader. You do not have to be a born leader in order to lead effectively. In the previous article I described ten of the most crucial characteristics a leader should possess. However, there are other less important principles to be followed too. I will describe them in this article.
1. Giving and receiving information
As leader, don’t only pay attention to words or verbal communication. Also look at things beneath the surface like body language and other nonverbal behavior. If you are not careful, facts will be forgotten or distorted. Always take notes of important information you just received. Furthermore it is wise to repeat back what you think the other person said to yourself.
Whenever you give information to employees, use all the senses to make it as clear and instructive as possible. This entails:
- Vary your tone and emphasize crucial points
- Simple language
- Speak relatively loud and clear
- Keep strong eye contact
- Use visual aids that support your message
Counseling is a private talk with someone that helps the individual with a personal problem. Counseling can also be another word for just listening. You have to understand people and just listen to their problems and worry. The employee must feel safe with you talking about work related problems.
Make use of a structured decision-making process. The planning process consists of six steps:
- Identify the task. Commit to resolve the problem/error.
- Analyze. Determine the resources you have available to solve the job.
- Produce options. The purpose of this step is to generate as many alternative solutions as possible.
- Evaluate and give feedback
4. Manager of learning
The main difference between a leader and a teacher is that the leader has to be sure that everyone learns and develops themselves. Each individual employee must learn or all will receive an inferior program. The teacher teaches a class solely.
5. Share leadership
Distribute tasks among employees depending on the situation and individual strengths. Involve more people in the leadership process than solely yourself.
6. Tolerance for adversity
In companies things are never perfectly predictable. Problems can occur suddenly and you have to be able to cope with the uncertainty involved with running a business. For example, it might happen that on one day, suddenly a third of your employees are sick due to a flu epidemic. How do you cope with this? Do you panic or stay calm? You must also be able to: use humor to keep things in perspective and turn difficult situations into opportunities.
Some leaders in the past thought they were superior and that they were flawless. However, no human is perfect and therefore it is crucial to know your own strengths and weaknesses. You can do this by learning from past experiences. Furthermore you have to realize how your words and actions influence others.
8. A visionary
Most CEO’s of big companies are visionaries. Think of Steve Jobs from Apple. They have a vision in their head of how things should be, and effectively communicates this mental picture to subordinates. This has led to many revolutionary products such as the IPod.