To learn leadership, listing a series of infallible models is not the best solution. Everyone’s personality is crucial to developing their own style, and not all guides are equally effective on all leaders. On the other hand, what can be identified are three basic concepts on which to base any effective leadership, knowing that it must be “fluid”, change and adapt over time and experience.
Lead by example
Knowing your character, including your strengths, try to find the leadership style that best suits your personality, and set an example of what you expect from your team.
Sometimes you may think, as a leader, that you know your strengths and what you need to improve, but it is never futile to seek the advice of your team and those who work with you. Some leadership development assessments can be very effective in gathering this type of information. For example, you can conduct a self-assessment based on the main indicators that define your role, and then send it to three or more people you work with. Then generate a report, in which you can clearly observe the leadership criteria you master, and those for which improvement is needed.
Transformational leaders, for example, generally illustrate through their own behaviors and characteristics what they seek to develop in others. This is also how a leader’s credibility is forged, since he proves to be an expert or model of what he expects from others.
Lead with humanity
Coordinating or directing people requires high doses of emotional intelligence. Recognizing and understanding your own emotions and those of others is essential to leading a team. Since the publication of Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, the debate on the importance of this concept, even beyond that of intellectual coefficient, and especially in working environments, has never ceased.
In fact, many studies have concluded that employees with high levels of emotional intelligence are more satisfied, and more successful, in their jobs. Emotionally intelligent leaders often make better business decisions, resist pressure more easily, respond better to constructive criticism and generally have more empathy. Although personality plays an important role, it is possible to develop emotional skills, and thus improve physical and mental abilities, especially due to a considerable decrease in levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
So favor a friendly communication environment, create an atmosphere of trust, put your ego aside, act honestly and be vulnerable. Everyone is wrong, even the people who have to lead teams. Only a safe, trusting environment will allow people to let their creativity run free and talk about what concerns them. How to solve a situation in which the problem is not openly exposed?
Move from bottom to top
In line with the previous concept, any emotionally intelligent leadership must take into consideration another essential element: give priority to people, know them as much as you can; the choice of the type of communication to adopt at each moment will only be easier. How can this be achieved? Practice the famous “active listening”. Good leaders are able to express their sincere concern for their team members, both orally and in any other way. Consistency between these two ways of communicating is vital to be credible.
Ultimately, make your team feel that you support them, and thus make them receptive to a joint way of working, oriented towards a single objective. Demonstrate a positive and passionate attitude, and never make it a personal matter to express opinions freely in the workplace.