Being a great and effective leader comes natural to some while not so much to others. However, whether you are a natural at being a leader or not, there are certain rules that anyone in a leadership position should always remember to follow. Effective leadership can benefit you as an individual and it can also benefit your entire company by increasing the productivity of your workers (and your own). And who knows, that may translate into higher profits – who doesn’t want that?
The following 10 rules are rules that all who wish to be great leaders should follow:
1. Always remain optimistic.
Your employees can sense when you’re worried or scared, but don’t give them the chance to do that. Remain as optimistic as possible even when everything else is falling apart. Instilling a sense of hope can motivate others around you to work toward speedier solutions rather than giving in to the possibility of failure.
2. Set a clear direction.
Nothing stifles productivity and employee satisfaction like a lack of direction. A lack of direction ultimately reflects on you and makes your employees wonder if you are even up for the job. Setting goals gives your team(s) something to work toward.
3. Your plans should be flexible.
Always plan but at the same time make sure that your plans can be subject to change at any moment without completely falling apart. This is probably easier said than done, but it is something great to aim toward. Also, it is a lot better than not planning. Something to always remember is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin (and sometimes to Winston Churchill), “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
4. Secure sufficient resources.
A great leader will know how and when to get exactly what they need to get any job done. This can mean getting money, production materials and employees who you can pay and trust to do an excellent job.
5. Talk less and listen more.
Going around giving orders is often seen as a perk of being a leader, but a great leader knows when to stop talking and start listening. Be it listening to employees or to clients, your job as a leader is to take what they say and make everything work.
6. Having a meeting? Have an agenda.
Nothing screams, “Does this person even know what they are doing?” than a meeting without a point, goal, and some sort of structure for how said meeting is to go down. You will run the risk of wasting precious time if you have to make up the points to be tackled in a meeting as you go along.
7. Never criticize employees publicly
Not every member of your staff is going to be exceptional, and sometimes people have off days where mistakes are made or work is not done, but never make it a public spectacle. Your employees will resent you for it, even the ones who may not have been publicly criticized at the time, as they may feel that they could be next.
8. Never ask your employees to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.
Want your employees to work late nights and weekends? Be ready to work along with them. You and your employees are ultimately working for the same goal.
9. Learn to delegate.
A great leader never gets to the point where every single decision is left up to them. Give your employees some room to move and take initiative and tasks will get done quicker. On the other hand, if every decision has to wait for you to have time for it then either you will have too much on your plate or few things will get done.
10. Give your team the credit they deserve.
A great leader also knows the best way to get their team to like and follow them. If something goes wrong you do not blame the team and if something goes right, you give them the credit they deserve. Your team will feel valued and you will be seen, by them, as a great leader.