In essence, leadership means giving the directions and guidance to achieve the business goals. A good leader is expected to provide quick solutions to any problems as they arise. However, the limited power of decision making among rank-and-file employees causes the lack of opportunities for them to scale.
The role of leadership in today’s fast-paced workplace has evolved. People, especially the millennials, are constantly seeking new challenges to prove themselves without relying on their managers. The top-ranking executives are no longer the knowledge hoarders, with the widespread of information, anyone can gain the same (or even higher) level of knowledge from the Internet.
What really contributes to effective leadership is one’s ability to empower others. Which translates into a team of competent individuals who are capable of achieving their personal goals.
People don’t look at leadership as a compass that points to a single direction but rather as a map with different routes leading to the same destination. It provides insight into how every person fits in the organisational expedition and which path may lead to their end goals.
In other words, leaders should position themselves as a mentor. And the impact of leadership shouldn’t be measured based on the tangible metrics such as sales target alone. Here are the right ways to gauge a leader’s effectiveness.
Are you a good communicator?
Good leaders don’t give orders, they communicate a vision.
People don’t buy into the leader’s vision if it doesn’t speak to them. Hence why it’s important to specify your goals before the launch of any project. It is a bad practice to keep your business goals (think mission and vision) behind closed doors. The hierarchy should be demolished from the organisation’s communication flow in order to build employee trust, which is the foundation of leadership.
To influence people, you need to connect with them personally. If you only emphasise on the “what” in “what do you have to do?”, your employee will only approach the job as an obligation as it is. But if you can convey the “why” in “why does it matter?”, he or she will do it with a greater sense of purpose.
Leadership doesn’t stop at giving direction, you need to infuse motivation into your team as well. When people understand that their roles are a part of something bigger than themselves, things will begin to happen.
Is your team empowered?
What would you do if a junior staff approached you to volunteer for a new project? If you keep telling yourself that they are not ready yet, you are also not ready to be a leader.
Your employees won’t be able to scale if you fail to provide a supportive environment for growth. That’s why exceptional leaders highlight the importance of mentorship as the key to people empowerment. And it’s not just about passing on knowledge, it’s also about giving the power to make decisions.
“If you ask any successful business person, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson
When your employees are proactive at work, you should never turn them down. If you are concerned about their capability, lead by example. That’s what leadership really is – to give people guidance so that they are empowered to take full ownership of their work. You must be astute enough to know when to step in and when to let your team members assess the situation on their own. As you grow, your employees must grow with you, even through failure.
A leader doesn’t take business success as his biggest accomplishment but rather, how his leadership inspires others to achieve their own success too.
Building a dream team
Besides the traditional managerial functions, a leader also moulds the work culture. Putting together the impact of actionable communication skills and the power of empowerment, you’ll create the perfect harmony among your team.
All successful leaders have the ability to connect people from different backgrounds to pursue a shared mission. Anyone is capable of achieving greatness, but it takes the whole team of good employees to make a difference. Which is why building a thriving culture has become an integral part of leadership.
How you define culture really depends on the team that you work with. There is no good or bad culture, you can only measure its impact on the overall performance of everyone. No matter how influential you are as a leader, if just one person disengages, you’ll risk losing the harmony. Because behaviours are contagious, you must ensure that everyone understands the work culture that you’ve set from the beginning.
Whether you are an incumbent leader or an aspiring one, don’t just concentrate on the benefits of your company (and your own). Though the impact may not be as tremendous, always be mindful of the meaning of your leadership to someone else’s career growth. To measure the extent of your leadership, you should first measure the individual’s progress under your team.