7 Unique Ways To Become A Better Leader
Becoming a better leader today requires training coupled with a new perspective as to how the modern leader should behave. Successful leaders, from senior executives to front-line supervisors, need to be good communicators and actively demonstrate they care about the welfare of employees. They also develop unique leadership behaviors like the following:
1. Volunteer in a Community Where the Business Operates
A leader today must connect with the communities in which the organization operates. One of the ways to do that is to volunteer personal time to a local nonprofit or support local events like job fairs or health fairs. The community will recognize you are sincerely interested in their welfare. It is also an excellent way to attract diverse job candidates and to build a brand of corporate social responsibility.
2. Step Into Another Manager’s Shoes
It is easy to get comfortable in a particular position and fail to understand other people’s challenges. To overcome this very human trait, replace a manager in a different department for a day or two. You will expand your knowledge of the business and broaden your perspective. This act can also break down barriers between departments that are impeding organizational progress.
3. Work a Swing or Night Shift
Unions like to claim that “elite” managers really do not understand how difficult it is to work swing and night shifts. To be a connected and better leader, periodically work odd shifts. Not only will employees appreciate the attention, but you will learn more about employees’ needs and issues. This is also one way to union proof the organization.
4. Walk Around and Mingle With Employees
Emulate successful CEOs and walk around the department or business unit without notice. Randomly talk to people at all levels about their jobs, asking for suggestions and ideas for job or workplace improvement. This small action is a tremendous employee morale builder because it gives people not often asked for their input an opportunity to share their opinions.
5. Step Back and Let Others Shine
A selfless leader is willing to share the glory of achievement, recognizing that it takes a team of talented employees to be successful. Giving other people credit and rewarding them for their contributions in some manner is motivating and engaging.
Rewards do not have to be monetary. You can email everyone in the organization, praising a particular employee or team for a job well done. Many companies today are delivering congratulatory messages through social media, giving other employees an opportunity to also recognize successful co-workers. These success stories can also be used in a customized, Web-based video for employee training or just to inspire the workforce.
6. Let Employees See the Human Side of Leadership
The co-founder of Twitter, Medium, and Jelly, Biz Stone, believes in making time for family. To show people in his organization that he too must manage work-life balance, he posted “Legos” on his calendar for all to see. It was time he set aside to play with his young son. This unique management behavior humanizes the person at the top.
7. Show You Care About Your Employees
There are many ways for a manager to show caring for employee welfare. There are typical ways, like offering vacation and sick leave, and other benefits. However, when an employee unexpectedly asks to take an afternoon off for a charity event of personal importance, are you willing to accept, even if it means more work for you? Employees are empowered when self-sacrificing leaders work with them to achieve work-life balance. Bottom line: Empowerment increases productivity.
There are many traditional ways to become a better leader, but sometimes the non-traditional strategies are more effective. Millennials have a lot to do with the new leadership approaches because they want to be involved, inclusive leaders who communicate well and appreciate the efforts of their employees. A better leader today is a very human one.