The most successful people in the world are also our best leaders. Great leaders are both empowering as well as inspiring. And great leaders are also in a fantastic position to affect positive change in our society.
It pays to be a great leader.
What makes a great leader? The best are honest and empathetic. They understand how to lead because they’ve been in the position of their staff members. They keep morale high by valuing the contributions of each team member and giving praise regularly.
If you want to make more money and be more successful in 2022 (and beyond), becoming a better leader will get you there. Here’s how.
1. Lead by example
One of the biggest mistakes that newer leaders make is not leading by example. Nobody respects leaders who don’t walk the walk. If you don’t hold yourself to the same (or higher) standards than you do of those around you, that’s a poor leadership trait.
Be a role model for those around you. If you expect the very best from your team, show them the same courtesy by delivering the best for them. For instance, nobody will respect a leader who shows up at the office at 8 am but expects their team to be there by 7 am.
Hold yourself to higher standards than you do anyone else. Your team will notice.
2. Find what motivates those around you
Believe it or not, money isn’t the only thing that motivates people to do better. The best leaders in the world know how to motivate by understanding their team’s personality and more importantly, what they value.
People are motivated by different things, including:
- Money – yes, money is highly motivational for a lot of people, but it only scratches the surface of what will encourage people to do their best work
- Recognition – sometimes, taking the time to congratulate someone for a job well done is all it takes to motivate someone
- Time off – for many people, taking the rest of the afternoon off after delivering on a project or accomplishing a big assignment is more motivational than money
- Learning – opportunities to improve the skills and experience of your staff is an excellent motivator for many people to continue pushing themselves
- Career progression – nothing kills motivation like a dead-end job; give your staff a path forward in their careers
Take some time to observe your staff. Figure out what motivates each person to do their best and make an effort to reward your team in ways that impact each person.
3. Stay positive
Positivity is contagious. No, really, it is. Our brains naturally want to understand the emotions of others. It’s called Mirror Neurons, and they typically work outside of our control. This means that when we are around positive people, we naturally become positive, too.
As the leader, you set the overall tone for those around you. Your staff will do the same if you mope around all day without any purpose or excitement. Work and morale will suffer.
On the other hand, just smiling when you’re around other people can make a huge difference in their outlook on life and motivation to do good work. Give praise where praise is due. If your team just delivered on a big milestone, take some time to celebrate.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the most significant impact.
4. Listen to your team
There is nothing more important than communication, and good communication starts with listening well. The best leaders understand the struggles and concerns of their staff. They don’t shy away from one-on-one conversations with people to address those concerns (rather than talking about them generally in a group setting, which is more impersonal).
There are several ways to listen better.
Don’t be distracted. When someone is talking to you, listen. Don’t finish that email you’re writing as they talk (or ask them to wait until you do).
Repeat their words back to them. This helps reinforce what you heard and prevents miscommunication. For instance, “I see, so you feel like…”
Offer non-verbal feedback. Nod your head, smile (when appropriate), and make eye contact throughout the conversation.
Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions during the conversation. Clarify anything that may not be clear. Your staff will appreciate that, trust me.
Don’t always have the solution. Leaders want to be the ones to automatically give the answers. But sometimes that’s not what your staff needs. Maybe they just need to talk. Or vent their frustrations. Let them do that without “fixing” all of their problems.
5. Use failures to educate
Nobody is perfect. We all fail. The most effective leaders can take failures and turn them into learning opportunities. Rather than criticizing someone who failed, use the failure as your chance to nurture and guide them to be a better person.
For instance, sit down with your team after a failure and discuss what went wrong. This isn’t a time to point fingers. That’s counterproductive. Instead, this is an opportunity to open the lines of communication and learn from mistakes. What went wrong? And, what can you do differently to ensure that mistake doesn’t happen again?
Don’t sweep failures under the rug, either. Failures are opportunities for advancement. Great leaders use them as opportunities.
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.