The best leaders have a very clear and compelling vision for the future. They know how to communicate their vision to their organization in a way that inspires, engages, and motivates their teams. This vision should provide direction for the organization. A leader must also know how to create a good step by step roadmap for achieving their vision. This includes setting measurable goals, and having milestones along the way. By having a deep look into the vision, and pin pointing exactly what it includes, it makes it much easier to plan how it should be achieved.
Understanding that there are many unknown factors along the way is important. And being open to this unknown also. Leadership requires the ability to navigate teams through change. If it is a shift in market trends, budget changes, or major organizational restructuring and improvements. An effective leader must know how to adapt quickly, regulate their emotions and behaviour, as well as being able to pivot their strategies to overcome their newest challenges. If a leader does not know how to do this, it may cause a lot of extra unnecessary issues or damage for the organization.
When a leader has a lot of self-awareness and greater awareness of others, they can better decide usually how they must deal with difficult situations and circumstances. Having accurate way of thinking about the new circumstances, and not hiding away from facts is of significance to the leader and entire organization. By showing others how they can be flexible in their approach and being ok with experimenting during the new experiences – while only taking calculated and well thought through risks – can often be necessary. Being mindful of possible consequences, behaving responsibly, respectfully, and empathetically will up the chances of success during challenging times.
Embracing not only their strengths but also their flaws, and having a habit of positive self-talk, as well as uplifting others should be well balanced with sometimes harsh reality checks – done in a tactful and constructive manner.
Sometimes, innovation is the way to go. When there is a situation that requires something that doesn’t exist yet – that’s exactly where a leader can start getting even more creative. Innovation is necessary for staying competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment. Calculating both risks and costs well, as well as making sure that the necessary resources are provided, is a task that may seem quite simple. But in reality may take a lot of time and changes also, in order to be able to support turning new ideas into reality.
Having people provide feedback, and knowing how to create safe spaces for them to do so, will allow a leader to know, where there may be a need for improvement, extra focus, or – due to sudden new awareness – creating a quick action plan for change. Providing a team with a coach and/or mentor, will allow people to tackle issues faster, observe what must be done, and work on themselves individually or in teams, as they are adding a lot of support for the organization, in many crucial ways. Not having enough time for the team can be a harmful way of dealing with the organization. Making sure where the team is, what their needs are, what their main struggles are, and where they may need your support as a leader may make a colossal difference in their effectiveness and work style. If someone is not very vocal about what is going on, don’t just brush it off and keep moving forward. Try to figure out why this is. Do they feel awkward, do they need some extra support, and is there something that you are missing? Having a good HR team to help you also is a great way to keep your team moving forward with less conflict and issues. As well as resolving them in a different manner than they might otherwise.
A leader must be aware of the fact that they need to know their team member’s main motivations, and to know how they prefer to be rewarded. If you have a team member that hates being out in the spotlight, it may not be a great idea to speak about them in front of all of their colleagues – even if you mean well and want to take the opportunity to praise their hard work. Pay attention to what motivates people and what they feel most comfortable with. Everyone has their personal driving factors. Once you as a leader know, how you can bring out the best in them – you will be able to collaborate with them better. It is important to distinguish rewarding people, according to their own preferred ways of acknowledgment and recognizing their professional hard work, in order to uplift and further motivate – and something that is very different – manipulating people and deceiving someone that is naive in order for them to do something for you. This is very different and must be clearly distinguished.
All in all, being a good leader means knowing what is going on with your team, keeping everyone on track with your vision for the organization, and being flexible when it comes to changes in the process of achieving various goals. Speaking with the team to make sure everyone is on the right page, and knowing what the organizational needs of the moment are, as well as how they affect the future and providing support in the process are key.