As leaders themselves can tell you, leadership is no simple feat. Leaders are expected to be accountable to the communities and organizations they serve. Since leaders aren’t perfect, they can also expect a lot of criticisms and dissenting ideas from the very people they lead. Some comments should be taken with a grain of salt. But leaders should also be discerning about when to listen and make adjustments. As a leader, there’s always room for improvement. If you want to lead your businesses, organizations, communities, and families better, consider these pieces of advice:
Motivate people towards a vision
Without a vision, an organization can fall apart. A common vision holds people together and inspires them to strive even when things go awry. Startup TareasPlus highlights in a RingCentral post the importance of vision when a company is just starting out. The TereasPlus representative goes on to say that he doesn’t know many companies that succeeded without an amazing vision. This is because vision is what propels organizations forward and helps people move on from past mistakes and victories. What goals do you want to achieve? How do you see your group a few years from now? How do you expect your members’ lives to improve? All of these questions are tied to your vision. As a leader, craft a vision that would move people to not only look after their own needs but also encourage them to serve a larger purpose.
Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18
Lead by example
This phrase has been said so often it has become cliché. But this doesn’t make it less true. What makes people lose trust in their leaders? Often, it is when leaders don’t practice what they preach. They can’t walk the talk, and this speaks volumes about their character. In an insightful piece for the Washington Post, Col. Eric Kail says that “Of all the facets of character, integrity might be the most critical.” Kail goes on to elaborate that integrity is not about being perfect; rather, it is having the strength of character to learn from mistakes and seek improvement.
It’s easy to say to lead by example, but how can this be practiced in everyday situations? Brent Gleeson, writing for Inc., gives a few suggestions:
- Be knowledgeable about your trade
- Be mindful of what you say
- Respect higher authority
- Listen to your team
- Accept mistakes
- Let your team do their job
- Take care of yourself
In other words, do the things that you want your own leaders to do. Lead by example.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
Be compassionate, not just passionate
Compassion is the ability to feel empathy for others; it restores people and strengthens them. A compassionate leader can encourage someone who has made a mistake and help him regain his confidence even when he is at his lowest. One common mistake of leaders is focusing too much on the task that needs to get done, forgetting the people who must do the work. It goes without saying that the individuals in your team are not machines. While pressing on towards a goal, don’t forget the needs of your team.
To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
What other ideas do you have to become a better leader? What adjustments have you made to improve your leadership style? Sound off in the comments.