Being a leader isn’t always easy, and it can be difficult to help people work through dilemmas they have in the workplace if you don’t have the right leadership skills. Everyone in a business is connected, and they need to work together to build the business into everything it should – and can – be. That work has to start with the leader, though. When a person knows how to lead in the right way, they are much more able to make things happen for themselves, their employees, and their company. To keep the business moving in the right direction, here are nine rules of leadership that you can follow.
1. Pull, don’t push
You don’t have to be in a leadership position to be a leader. Whether your company has recognized you as a manager, you may still have plenty of good leadership traits you can put into practice. In order to do that, though, the best thing is to be a puller, not a pusher. In other words, do the kinds of things that will move the company forward, and pull others along with you. They will be much more likely to follow you if they see you doing something, rather than being told to do something that you’re not engaged in. Being a successful leader in this way can extend well beyond just managing people in a company, and can also be used in the other parts of your life, as well.
Finding a solution to a problem is often what a leader is most focused on. The way to do that is to find the end of the thread that seems to be tangled throughout the situation, and start working your way along it. As you do that, you’ll find ways to untangle that string, and fix any issues that occur. Leading people to a solution means getting through the situation, from one end of the string to the other, so you can settle conflicts and address issues. By doing that, you can become a much more effective leader, and be respected by those who follow you.
2. Separate the issues from the people
One of the best ways to handle issues is to remember that people are not their issues, and the issues are not what make up the people. Learning this lesson can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible – and it’s highly important to anyone who wants to be a leader. Conflict can be between people, but it doesn’t make up those people. Too often, differences of opinion lead to fights and conflicts, but those differences are not really the root of the problem. Actually, those differences can be one of the ways to find a solution.
Identifying the issues and not connecting them with the specific people is the best way to lead, because it allows everyone in the situation to take a step back and focus on what is really taking place, without playing the “blame game” and making other people out to be the cause of the problem. People are generally not the cause of the problem, but they can help to come up with the solutions that are needed, and that can go a long way toward keeping a company moving forward.
3. Don’t raise your voice, and don’t get aggressive
Aggression isn’t a sign of strength. It’s actually a sign of weakness: yours. It’s easy to get aggravated and aggressive, but you mustn’t let your temper get the better of you. Take a deep breath, walk away, or find something else to focus on for a while. Revisit the issue (and the people surrounding it) once you’ve calmed down for a while. When you show aggression, you lose control and strength in the situation, and that can mean your followers will stop trusting you and responding to your leadership, which could damage the entire company.
4. Plan to be honestly helpful
When you genuinely plan to be helpful to people, you can get a lot more done and get people to respond to your efforts. Focus your efforts on the people around you, instead of on yourself, and you will go much further as a leader. Ask how people are doing, and provide them with some genuine interest in the things that matter to them. Let them know you care about them, and that all of you are in this together. See what you can do for them, and listen to them if they come to you for help or with questions. When they understand that you can really help them, and that you want to help them, they will put their trust in you, and allow you to lead them more easily.
5. Take your focus off of revenue
Don’t spend your time focused on revenue. The satisfaction of your customers and the happiness of the employees who you lead should be much more important. When you make those things your priority, you’ll find that the revenue will come along with that. You may lose money in the short term, but in the long term you will end up making more money because employees will enjoy working for you and customers will like what you have to offer. By getting more customers and happier employees, you’ll see more income, and a better bottom line for your company.
6. Put your trust in people
It can feel stressful to really put your trust in the people around you, but doing so is well worth the effort. Many businesses increase how many suppliers they have so they don’t have to be dependent on just one or two, and so they can increase the price competition. While that makes sense, the same practice doesn’t always work well with employees. When you hire more people than you actually need for a project, you run the risk of having too many people to really put your trust in anyone. No one becomes indispensable, but no one feels the need to really become invested in the project, either. They know they really aren’t needed, and that can keep them from giving their all.
Instead of pushing people aside when times are hard, or hiring too many people to make sure you have enough coverage during busy times, put your trust in the people you already work with. Create a good team and then build on that, so you’re better able to show that you’re a leader who takes things seriously. When you show people that they matter to you and you want to cultivate a good relationship with them, they will respond to that, and you’ll end up with trustworthy employees, suppliers, and friends.
7. Attribute your success
Make sure you acknowledge the people who helped you, and take ownership of the problems you have. When you try to place the blame on others, you’re not showing yourself to be a good leader. The same is true when you try to take all the credit for something. Avoid both of those things, and focus on the value and importance of accountability.
8. Be an example
Be the person you want your followers to be. When you work hard, be honest, be transparent, and stick to the path of righteousness, you show people that life can be lived that way. Just telling people how to live isn’t going to work, but when they see you living that way every day, they see that it’s possible for them to do it, as well.
9. Focus on your legacy
You don’t know how long you’ll live, so don’t put off the things that matter to you. Time is the most valuable thing you have, and that time is limited. Do the things you want to do, and focus on what matters. The way you value your time will cause followers to admire you, and see the value in their own time, as well.