[box]This is a guest post from freelance writer, Emily Green. Emily has more than six years’ experience in blogging, content, and thesis writing. When she’s not writing she likes to go for a run with her pug. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.[/box]
Developing the traits of a good leader can help you in the workplace, even if you are not in management. The usefulness of good leadership skills transcends the workplace, branching into your personal life. How can you improve your leadership skills?
Be a Role Model
Applying the old quip, “do as I say and not as I do” is time-tested way to frustrate your team members. What qualities do you want to see in people around you? If you are always on time, always work hard, and have a positive attitude, that is likely to catch the attention of your coworkers and your bosses. Plus, developing good qualities and work habits will motivate those around you to do the same, and they will look to you for ideas to improve.
Develop Good Communication Skills
A lack of good communication leaves people confused and annoyed. Work on understanding others and communicating in a way that is easy and efficient. The most important factor in effective communication is knowing how to listen. Once you understand what others are thinking, you are in a better position to encourage improvement and solve conflicts.
Knowing how to communicate also fosters innovation. If you have the seed of an idea and can make others understand what you are thinking, they can help you develop that idea, and together you can come up with clever solutions to common (and not so common) problems.
Recognize and Reward
One expert post points out that, “A good leader knows that offering effective recognition and rewards is one of the best ways to help followers feel appreciated and happy.” Happy people are more productive people, and happy people are less likely to leave you in the lurch when problems pop up. Research different reward strategies and experiment with them until you find one that works for you and the people around you.
Take the Initiative
Do not settle with just doing only what you must at work. If you find yourself with some downtime in the office, don’t use that time watching the clock while you stand by the water cooler. Investopedia.com points out that “Most bosses will assign their employees tasks that the employees have proven to be adept at. Therefore, don’t wait to take on more responsibilities.”
This means that you should take on extra projects, even if the projects deal with an area outside your job description. Demonstrate your willingness to learn, and don’t fear reaching out to experts for help.
Invest in Personal Growth
Changing your mindset to that of a leader is a challenge, especially if you are timid by nature. Take advantage of available resources to help you grow and hone your positive personality traits. You can browse self-help guides at the bookstore, take classes, and develop your management skills online via college courses. It takes time, some money, and a lot of interpersonal practice, but the effort will pay off in the end.
Being a leader is about more than having your name on the door and a nice paycheck. It is about encouraging others to perform at their best for the benefit of an entire team. Applying the above principles at work can help you become a more effective leader.