Being a leader may come in several ways including appointment, as a gift, popularity (as in voting), and many other ways. However, as history has proven, being in a leadership position and actually leading are two different things. While many people approach leadership with a top-down approach, the best way to lead is from behind or below as one perceives their organization to team.
Research into human psychology has led the researchers to reach certain conclusions which determine how effective one can be as a leader. Rather than adopting dictatorship and leading through fear, one can adopt the following tips to be a leader who motivates people to so the right thing and pushes themselves always to do their best even without supervision.
- Do Less Talking, And More Listening
When people have your attention, they will feel appreciated and think better, work harder and be loyal to the team. If one needs to have loyal team members, they should express their opinion after full comprehending the ideas of those below them. Cutting into the speech of other people will only demean them to such an extent that they will find no value in expressing themselves. As a leader, one should know that being at the helm of a team does not mean that they know everything. There are stories told of how the dishwasher gave the firm an idea that turned around the fortunes of the firm. We all know of the second coming of Steve Jobs. If the then CEO of Apple would have ignored Jobs’ contribution, the beloved iPhone would never be there.
- Never Oppose People Directly
When you say words like “You are wrong,” you are condemning the speaker to a situation where they are but clueless about their words. Therefore, aim at expressing your opinion in an objective way and stating why your point of view is better than theirs in solving the problem at hand. Direct opposition always serves to insult the speaker and should be avoided at all times. In fact, when one avoids direct opposition, they will encourage a democratic environment in which those below them freely express their opinion. With free speech and opinion, the team will likely be a better one as ideas will flow freely leading to a better working environment for all members of the team.
- Be an Example to Learn From
Among the most notable leaders of our age are Elon Musk, Barrack Obama, and the late Steve Jobs. One thing that set them aside from other leaders was their resolve always to lead by example. For his part, Elon Musk is currently the chief executive officer of two leading technology firms. His employees tell of a leader who works harder than anyone else in the firm. Barrack Obama has not only positively influenced those below him, but other leaders across the globe for his works and leadership approaches. What can be learned from their works is that they displayed great examples for people to emulate rather than being pushed by them. A true leader should be an example rather than a simple pusher.
- Make Yourself Part of the Team
Making yourself a part of the team will translate into much better work results than people think. For example, when someone makes a mistake, start with mentioning a mistake you once made and how much it cost you or your team. Your team will understand several things from this information. First, they will know that you understand their situation as you are as human as they are. Secondly, they will know the consequences of their actions and thus avoid the mistakes on their own volition rather than from fear. Setting yourself apart as a blameless god will only pressure the team members into making the mistake of trying to reach your standards without any success.
- Point Out Mistakes Indirectly
A mistake is what it is and should be treated so. No one makes a mistake intentionally. If so, it would be an intentional act and not a mistake. If those below you make a mistake, do not rush into publicly scolding them for what they have done. Even private scolding is not a good way to go about it. What one should do is make a reference to the mistake without necessarily pointing fingers. Afterwards, when alone with the individual, state to them that their mistake is not a welcome part of the team and they should rectify that. You will see wonders when the employee rises from that mistake knowing they are appreciated, and their performance is not taken for granted.
- Give Honest Praise
Human psychology changes little when people grow up. The same way you hated your harsh elementary teacher whose two questions in the assignment seemed like a hundred of them and was willing to do five similar questions on a daily basis for another, the leaders who genuinely praise their workers see to more productivity compared to the others. Most leaders will push their employees who will then naturally resist the pushing. However, telling that tea girl that she does a bigger job than anyone else may go a long way in making her wake up each morning to brew tea for your firm. Everyone likes a compliment here and there no matter how small it may be as it translates to a lot more.
As a leader, you should focus on making everyone on the team feel that they are important and their contribution, no matter how little it may be, is highly valued. What kind of a leader are you?