Being a leader isn’t always easy. People are looking to you for answers, support, direction, and, in many cases, their livelihoods. While being a good leader can take years of training and experience, there is a lot of satisfaction that can come from achieving leadership skills worth following.
In this article, we’ll cover some great leadership tips to help take your skills to the next level.
1. Learn To Make Others Feel Heard
When leading a company or organization, you have to make lots of tough decisions. When you do this over and over again, it’s easy to start to think you always know best. There’s a difference, though, between having experience and wisdom and being arrogant. While good leaders have learned to be efficient, it shouldn’t always be at the expense of ideas and creativity.
When you have an employee that presents an idea, even if you instinctively feel like the idea won’t work, resist the urge to immediately shoot it down. Instead, let others feel heard. Acknowledge their idea and ask them questions to help clarify or qualify it. If, through asking good questions you realize there is merit to their idea, ask them to continue to develop it. On the other hand, if through asking questions and testing the idea it starts to show its cracks, people will learn why that idea might not work and you’ve helped develop some critical thinking skills with that employee.
No one wants to work for a leader that always shoots their ideas down. Eventually, those employees will stop suggesting ideas at all, and when that happens you’ve created a toxic atmosphere that can’t last.
2. Learn How to Say No
In relation to the first leadership tip of acknowledging ideas, it’s also important to know when to say no. This can go further than just responding to employees, but can also come into play when dealing with clients and new opportunities. It’s easy when you’re first starting out in business to try and say yes to everything. You may take on bad clients on worse deals, or offer to help your employees with all their projects to get things in on time. While taking on new clients and helping with multiple projects isn’t bad, you may be tying yourself up in things that are taking you away from something more beneficial.
Learn to say no to bad clients and projects that are worth less than the time you’re putting into them. These two skills can help improve your leadership skills immensely.