Everyone wants to be successful, but not everyone knows how to get there. Most often, being successful involves some type of leadership role, whether formal or informal. You might be leading others by example, motivating others within your company or personal life, or teaching others to act or behave in a certain way. But truly amazing leaders know how to lead both consciously and unconsciously, which is a step-by-step process that can take years to master.
Being a great leader isn’t all about how you better the bottom line, how many products you sell, or how much money you make at the end of the day. What makes a great leader is how you utilize your social and soft skills to create a work environment that people want to be apart of. And the added bonus to being a leader that has mastered soft skills? Making more money and growing your business will naturally follow, as they the results of a supportive and encouraging work environment.
Being a great leader requires a strong ability for decision-making, knowing how to manage others, and learning how to make goals become reality. While these attributes might seem daunting, they are the necessary tools needed to becoming a successful leader.
First things first, being a leader means being confident in yourself, a self-assuredness that acknowledges all of your capabilities. It’s important to know what you want and not be afraid to go after it. I have always loved fashion, jewelry, and design, so pursuing a jewelry business fulfilled both my passion and my desire to be an entrepreneur.
Once you can combine what you love with what you are good at, this combo will make you an unstoppable and fierce businesswoman. Furthermore, I truly believe that if you aren’t eager and devoted to your work, you won’t feel motivated to be a leader. There are too many people who just go to work to collect a pay check but aren’t actually invested in their job at all. However, this is like that age-old saying —
“You can’t just walk the walk; you gotta talk the talk.”
If you want people to work hard for you, they have to see that you love what you are doing and that you yourself work hard as well. Practice alignment between what you preach and what your actions reflect. If you want people to trust you, support you, and work hard for you, you have to model all of those qualities first.
It’s also important to put in the time.
Especially at their infancy, businesses take a lot of work and require your constant attention and effort. If you aren’t willing to put in time, don’t expect to get a lot of out it. Instead, figure out all the different moving parts of your business that you can work on in order to reap the benefits. As a result, the people you lead will see you working hard and be inspired and motivated to do the same.
People don’t respond well to bosses or leaders who aren’t also putting in time and effort. With that said, not everyone has the same skillset, meaning that everyone will have different strengths. Great leaders know how to understand the differences between their employees in order to get the most out out every individual.
I firmly believe that effective communication, in terms of its importance in making a great leader, is right up there with the actual work. Being able to ensure back-and-forth dialogue between all members of a company, group, or association is vital. I surround myself with women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind or admit when something has gone wrong, and I have found it to be so beneficial in building my business.
Having trust and being able to communicate candidly helps to inform others, provide vital feedback, and motivates people to feel more connected and inspired. When everyone is on the same page, hiccups are less often and everyone has a clear view of what you are trying to achieve and how you all plan on getting there. Ensure strong communication by speaking with your team frequently and encouraging openness and honesty.
Leaders who are solely focused on the bottom line do not make great leaders.
They may make more money (highly unlikely), but they do not create a work culture that is positive or work-producing. Keeping a positive attitude will go a long way in your efforts to be a successful leader, and having a “can-do” attitude will have a ripple effect on your team. When people feel valued and understood, they are way more likely to go the extra mile or do you a favor. In fact, I see a huge lack of this in the corporate world, and I strongly believe that the workforce is in greater need of inclusive and positive leaders who prioritize their people.
Have integrity — people want their leaders to be honest, candid, and fair, and give everyone an equal opportunity. By supporting your team and prioritizing people over profit, your employees will respond with loyalty tenfold.
Another thing successful leaders are great at doing is being able to roll with the punches. Mistakes, blunders, and slip-ups are inevitable, but being able to handle them without freaking out is a major skill needed when leading a team of other people. When times get tough, don’t get angry, keep the lines of communication open, and figure out how to get back on track. When people know it’s okay to make mistakes, they won’t try to hide them or cover them up. Instead, your team will learn how to work together to resolve any conflicts that arise. Furthermore, don’t engage in workplace BS — there is nothing that breeds a toxic environment more than talking behind other’s backs.
We’ve all been there (and admittedly sometimes participated in) that workplace gossip where “If only ___ knew how to do her job”, etc.
Do NOT feed into this, and especially as a leader, there is nothing worse you can partake in. By encouraging an honest environment where people can own up to their mistakes, you will be able to keep the peace at work and encourage open-minded and useful workplace banter.
You don’t have to master all these skills in one go; instead, focus on creating an environment that would make YOU want to come to work every day, and the rest will follow.
What are some leadership traits you do or follow? Let me know!