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It’s one thing to have a great idea. It’s another to take action and make it real. And it’s yet another to inspire others to bring their A-game to work every day for your company.
Leadership is an interesting thing. Hundreds if not thousands of books have been written about it, there are numerous audio programs you can listen to in your car or while walking on the treadmill and there’s no shortage of speakers who will tell you how to lead effectively. Then, there’s learning by doing.
During the time I’ve spent leading people, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is the importance of inspiring others. This requires making a connection with your employees and colleagues, communicating effectively, being confident and decisive, and leading by example.
Make a connection
Making a connection with each person who works for or with you is incredibly important. Reach out to everyone on your team and let them know what your expectations are and also how much you need their contributions. Assure them of their standing and of the value they bring to the company. At the same time, get to know them and learn what their backgrounds, interests and goals are. By doing this, you’ll get to know the whole person, not just the employee. You’ll begin to consider them less a cog in the gear than you will a unique individual whose skills, talents and hard work are helping the company achieve results.
Many of the most effective leaders are also excellent communicators. Whether you’re speaking to an audience of employees or one-on-one with an individual, having strong communication skills can be a real asset in inspiring others. The need to communicate clearly, succinctly and energetically, using carefully selected words, will help you not only when providing direction but also during those times you need to explain a sensitive issue or “rally the troops” for an important project. When you have something meaningful to say, present it in an eloquent manner.
Be confident and decisive
If you’ve launched a company or hold a leadership role in one, you have a certain level of confidence. You’ve been there and you know what you’re doing. As a leader, you’ll want to delegate, guide, coach, and even serve as a mentor for those who work for you. Confidence is key to establishing yourself as the person whose vision sets the tone for the leader-employee relationship. So is being decisive. No one respects a person who has a leadership title but conducts him or herself in a wishy-washy manner. This not only means believing in yourself but also accepting responsibility when things occasionally don’t go as expected.
Lead by example
It’s your company, so you have to set the tone for how business is conducted on a day-by-day basis. This is where leading by example helps to foster inspiration. When employees see you doing what you expect them to do, they realize that you’re doing, not telling. While delegation is a major part of leadership, simple things like adhering to company policies, being punctual, working hard, and acting in a proactive manner communicates to employees that the leader isn’t holding him or herself above the rules. It doesn’t place you at their level, but rather demonstrates the importance of what you’re asking them to do.