Thursday, November 26th, 2020

7 Keys to Becoming a Better Leader – Part 3

By Catherine Rocheleau on May 23 2011 • Filed under Business

Become a better leader in 7 steps.

In the first two parts of this series, I shared five key attributes of a good leader. This month I share the final two. Although left to the end, these two attributes are probably the most important for a leader to be successful.

6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Clear and effective communication is probably one of the most important traits of good leader. A leader’s role is to establish and share their compelling vision in such a way that it energizes the team to move forward with them. Open communication, both verbal and written, is the key to achieving this goal. It builds trust and engages your team, allowing your business to be more flexible and healthy. Also, when your team has access to the information they need they can do their job more effectively and they’re more productive.

Effective listening is a critical skill and separates great leaders from the average person.Effective listening involves asking the right questions at the right time, ensuring there are no misunderstandings, and no one is left unheard. Great leaders respect the opinions of others and listen objectively rather than defensively. This takes patience and a willingness to empathize.

Non-verbal communication makes up over 55% of all communication. To be a good leader it is important to find a way to use your own non-verbal communication to portray your messages authentically, clearly and with more impact. Learning to read the non-verbal cues sent by others will help you to better understand the messages you receive from others.

Regardless of how the information is transmitted, the key focus is making a connection between yourself as the leader and your team. When you make a connection, information flows more freely. Information flow can lead to small changes, especially when your messages motivate your team. This results in the creation of more suggestions and ideas, and goal attainment.

In today’s small business world, your team may not work in the same location so communication is a key link between you and each member, as well as between the team members themselves. Communication becomes the link that ties everyone together and maintains a focus on your vision!

How are your communication skills? Do you listen effectively? Are you aware of your own non-verbal cues? Are you able to remain objective when others offer comments or criticism so you truly hear their message?

7. Pursue life-long learning.

Change is a constant in our life, and in business. Embracing life-long learning allows you to keep moving forward. Life-long learning involves receiving feedback without being defensive, learning from our mistakes, being open to new ideas and opportunities and expanding what we know. Even experts need to keep learning or they will get left behind. Experts know more than most about a specific topic or area but they don’t know everything.

As a good leader, you want to build personal and professional development into your weekly, monthly and annual plans. When you integrate new learning into your products and services, you can continue to lead a business with a competitive advantage. New information will spark your creativity, offer new options and inspire you to do what you do best!

What about your team? Do you support the integration of their personal and professional development into work routines, systems, products and service development? When you incorporate training and development of your team into your plans, you set your business up for long-term success. Employees (or team members) are happier, more productive and stay with you longer.

What are your leadership development plans for the next year? Do you encourage your team to integrate new skills into your business operations?

Be a leader and step forward! Lead others toward your vision. Provide direction and ensure communication is in place to keep your team in the loop. As a business owner it is critical that you develop your skills as a leader for your own success. Embrace the changes you face to keep your business on the leading edge of the wave.

For Part 1, click here.

For Part 2, click here.

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