How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Founder and CEO of JotForm, sharing entrepreneurship and productivity tips at Lifehack. Read full profile

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

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“Great leaders are born, not made.”

I believed it to be true for the majority of my career — and only recently did I realize how much this perspective limited my personal growth and career development. Maybe you’ve also fallen for the myth that leadership is a skill reserved for an elite few, and in the process, cheated yourself out of a powerful opportunity for growth.

While all of us do have talents and traits inherent to the personalities we were born with, some of the most important components of a successful career can be learned, including effective leadership skills.

If you want to become more productive and efficient in your work environment and inspire others to do the same, start by focusing on becoming a stronger leader. The good news is, developing these skills doesn’t require a special education or degree, or even an official management title; anyone motivated enough to grow can become a leader.

In my own career journey, I’ve noticed some of the most important traits most great leaders have in common. Want to be one of them? Here are six effective leadership skills to adopt and refine in your work, starting now.

1. Communication

To lead well, you have to have a vision — but you also have to know how to communicate it effectively.

When I first started my company, I was so passionate about my vision. I developed my product with this vision in mind, knowing it could transform our customers’ lives. The challenging part was learning to communicate that vision as I grew my team.

It’s one thing to inspire people with a big-picture vision when you’re launching a company, but it’s an entirely separate skill to find creative ways to articulate aspirations for the future and rationale for transformation. [1]

Good communication isn’t just the ability to write a good email or nail a presentation. It’s the ability to inspire, motivate, and challenge people with a broader vision, even in the doldrums of everyday work — finding ways to help each member of your team understand the big picture of where you want to go and how their roles and projects contribute to it.

2. Integrity

When I think of effective leadership skills, the first thing I think of is integrity. And I’m not the only one. In one study of 195 leaders across 15 organizations, 67 percent of participants rated “high ethical and moral standards” as the most important leadership attribute. [2]

Taking shortcuts or being dishonest might lead to temporary wins. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that cutting corners doesn’t lead to lasting success. And it certainly won’t be rewarding.

As author and business leader Jon Huntsman, Sr. writes in his book Winners Never Cheat, character is the defining trait of a successful leader: [3]

“There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life. There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.”

I think of integrity as integrating your values with your words and your words with your actions. When you lead with integrity, you build trust among your team and stakeholders, which means they’re more likely to go the direction you steer them.

3. Decisiveness

It’s not always easy to make a high-stakes decision, especially if you know people are relying on you to make the right choice. More often than not, a critical decision you make won’t pan out the way you planned. If this happens, you will be faced with another critical choice: Will you assume responsibility? Will you be willing to take the blame? And, more importantly, will you be motivated to find a better way forward for your team?

The ability to make a decision under pressure is an important part of leadership, but the true mark of a decisive leader isn’t the ability to make the right decision. Great leaders don’t just know how to make good decisions for those they’re leading; they’re also willing to take the risk of knowing if things don’t work out, they will be the ones held accountable. [4]

4. Focus

Imagine you’re a passenger on a boat. There’s a storm approaching, and the waters are becoming choppier by the minute. Not only that, but it’s getting dark outside, and you’re not sure which way the shore is. Who would you look to for a sense of safety?

A leader is a lot like the captain of a ship. The person at the helm isn’t just responsible for deciding where the ship is going to end up at the end of the journey, but actually steering it in the right direction, even during a storm. That’s why staying focused is such a crucial part of effective leadership.

Great leaders keep their eyes toward success, which requires planning ahead, staying organized, and thinking through potential scenarios and outcomes — all the while considering other paths forward if things don’t work out. [5]

5. Humility

If you want to encourage others to learn and grow, you have to be willing to learn and grow yourself. This requires humility, or a willingness to be flexible, admit you’re wrong, and even more importantly, openness to learning from other people. Another way to look at humility is teachability.

Practically, how can you implement this skill in your workplace? Problem solving is a great opportunity to practice being a teachable leader.

For example, if you’re trying to find a solution for an issue, try not to push your own agenda. When your team senses you’re open to (and eager about) their ideas, a greater diversity of potentially transformative ideas will emerge.

Plus, when your team knows you encourage free thinking, they will likely be more motivated to take initiative and work independently to develop their own solutions and ideas.

6. Connection

As a leader, you have the privilege of bringing out the best in the people around you — a key ingredient for success in your company. But to foster success, you have to focus on connection first.

Neuroscience teaches us that if people don’t feel emotionally safe, they won’t be able to access the creative, strategic part of their brain. Instead, they’ll be focused on survival — which isn’t exactly a recipe for flourishing, in life or at work.

It’s the leader’s responsibility to facilitate connection and belonging in the workplace so that others can live up to their full potential.

To foster a deeper connection among your team — and empower them to live up to their potential — view them as people, not just as workers. Say hi with a smile. Remember details about their personal lives. Compliment them when they do well, and let them know you see their hard work and contributions.

As you build meaningful relationships with your co-workers, you’ll be able to live up to your potential as an effective leader, too.

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station*

What makes a great leader? When Chris Hadfield was commanding the International Space Station, he learned that it’s not about seeking out individual greatness to make yourself look good. Instead, he found that excellent leadership is about building up the people around you: trusting them, empowering them, and ultimately, enabling them to contribute their expertise so that the team can become more than the sum of its parts.

The importance of teamwork and leadership

So why is teamwork and leadership important? Together they provide clarity for your team and have a direct impact on the vision of the company. But what does that look like in practice? What kind of actions can you take every day to help your team succeed? Here are ten ways to help your team do better.

1. Foster open and honest communication

Create an environment where openness and honesty in all aspects of communication are encouraged. Ask people to share their views and talk about the obstacles in their way. Ask for — and listen to — feedback. Most of all, ensure your team members have a clear path to your door if they need it. Related: Try these 5 quick wins to make your team more transparent.

2. Create collaborative goals

At the outset, goals should be clearly set and defined. Getting this right at the start may take a little extra time and planning, but it pays major dividends. For the best outcomes, the team needs to buy into the goals (so plan them together), everyone involved needs to be aligned on what success looks like (so outline detailed KPIs right at the beginning), and leaders need to acknowledge and support the team throughout the process (so check in frequently and offer guidance where needed). Related: Set your goals the right way with this cheat sheet, or read our ebook.

3. Celebrate their success

Good job team! Never forget to laud good ideas or targets met. Share your team’s successes with the company at large and champion them to leadership. For big wins, you can even organize a lunch or dinner where every member of the team can share in the achievement. However you choose to mark the moment, do it together. Related: How to express gratitude to your team and build a culture of appreciation.

4. Allow team members to problem solve

Instead of imposing solutions, encourage team members to brainstorm and come up with their own suggestions. By giving your team space to find the right solution and propose their ideas, you can empower them to think creatively, develop their confidence, and foster a sense of ownership.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

5. Provide adequate resources and training

A great leader doesn’t just help their team members to do their current job. They help them to identify room for advancement, so they can develop their skills — and progress their careers. Support your team by giving them the resources they need to excel and reach the next level. Related: More tips on how you can retain your best talent.

6. Keep yourself accountable

In your time as a leader, things won’t always go perfectly smoothly. You might even make a few bad calls. (Hey, you’re only human.) When things go wrong — when a project goes off track, when the scope suddenly changes, when the unexpected happens — you need to face it head-on. Take responsibility and work together with your team to address the issues and get back on target. Related: A few things we learned when projects went wrong.

7. Keep your eye on the big picture

As a leader, you need to strike a balance between zooming in on the details and zooming out to see the big picture. In other words, you need to ensure your team is accomplishing the day-to-day tasks without losing sight of the overarching goals you’re working towards, and how you’re contributing. It’s a balancing act, but it’s one that any great leader needs to learn how to

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

It doesn’t matter if you are running a business, managing a team, or teaching a class–leadership skills are important. Some people seem to be born knowing what to do to inspire and lead people, but for most of us it doesn’t come that naturally.

Luckily for us, leadership isn’t a magical gift but a set of skills that you can acquire and practice. It may come more easily to some than to others, but it’s within reach of all of us. You just have to want it, be willing to work and dare to take a risk.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, here are 21 ways you can start to become a better leader today:

1. Manage your emotions. Your emotions give you energy. If they’re low, your energy is low; if they’re running high, you feel positive and optimistic. To be at your best as a leader, manage your emotions–when you do, you manage your energy too.

2. Develop your skills. If you don’t have the skills to lead, no title or position will ever make you into the leader you want to be. There’s only one way to become a better leader, and that’s to work on your leadership skills, develop expertise in your field, and discover the heart of what leadership is about for you.

3. Become a great communicator. Discipline yourself to understand what’s happening around you by observing and listening. A great leader is always a skilled communicator–not only as speaker but as a listener, someone who stays focused and tuned in to the nuance of a conversation.

4. Admit when you are wrong. It takes a strong, confident person to say they are wrong. Sometimes people think that admitting you’re wrong is a sign of weakness, but in fact just the opposite is true–the more honest and open you are, the more people will respect you as a leader.

5. Learn how to spot talent. A huge element of great leadership is knowing how to connect with the right kind of people–those who can move your vision forward and develop successful strategies. But hiring great individuals is only half the game; it’s just as important to understand how people of diverse backgrounds and abilities can best work together.

6. Be part of the team. There’s an acronym that says “team” stands for Together Everyone Achieves More, and great leadership comes from those who see themselves as part of a team, who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to support, help, guide and mentor.

7. Give credit where it’s due. It’s not uncommon to see someone in a leadership position take credit for the work of others, but true leaders are generous with credit. They know that any great accomplishment takes many people and talents.

8. Be a mentor, not a preacher. People are interested in growth and development; they want to know how they can do better and find their own path. As a leader your job is to mentor them, guide them and support them–not to boss them or preach to them.

9. Invest in people. To be a great leader, you need to start at the heart of what matters in your organization–and what matters is your people. If you want to see them happy, engaged, loyal and dedicated, make the time to invest in them, nurture them and provide them with a clear vision of what needs to be done.

10. Give freedom and be flexible. As long as people know how to get the job done right, stay out of their way. A leader who fosters freedom and flexibility gives people room to work in whatever way is best for them.

11. Be quick to praise. Praise people often and openly. Let others know when the work is well done, a job is completed with excellence and the results are great. But when it comes to feedback that’s focused on development and growth, do it privately. It’s likely to feel like a negative assessment, and no wants to feel they’re being berated in public.

12. Bond with your team. It’s easy for people to talk about wanting great teams, but that doesn’t happen by itself. It takes a leader who’s willing to get in the trenches and spend time working with their team to create the bond that great teams share.

13. Get out of your office. Come in early to get your work done while things are peaceful. Then, when everyone else arrives, get out of your office and connect with people. It’s an efficient way to balance the demands of a leadership role, and people feel good about their team when they can see a leader not only working hard but also being available and accessible. It’s a win-win.

14. Give the benefit of the doubt. Many of the bad things that happen in the course of a day or a week–a miscommunication, an uncomfortable moment, an act of disrespect­–happen because someone is quick to judge and to give their opinion. The best leaders give the benefit of the doubt. They work on being fair and kind and on always giving people a second chance or the benefit of the doubt.

15. Stop micromanaging. Leaders who micromanage their teams are not allowing the talented to excel, the gifted to produce, and the experienced to make best use of their skills. If you want to be a better leader, step back and give people the room they need to do their best.

16. Have fun. Business may be serious, but the best leaders know how to build excitement and fun. They’re great at creating an optimistic culture and an enthusiastic environment–they know fun’s important when people are working hard.

17. Recognize the gifts of your people. Learn to quickly pick up on the gifts and strengths of your people. When you do, you’re best equipped to help them build on their strengths and grow in the most productive direction.

18. Hold people accountable. One of the biggest derailments of leadership happens when people aren’t held accountable. If responsibility and accountability are important to you, don’t let those who are slacking get away with it. You gain respect by sticking to your principles, and your team stays highly functional. It can’t get better than that.

19. Give trust to earn trust. When you trust, you send a message that you believe in people and have confidence in them. And, in turn, they’re more inclined to trust you.

20. Show compassion and care. Compassion helps to bridge the gaps between what the organization needs, what your people want, and what you can give. And it’s the leaders who show compassion who are the most admired.

21. Lead with love. Amor vincit omnia: Even the ancient Romans knew that love conquers all. Love your people, love your organization and love those you serve, and you’ll have discovered the secret of great leadership.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Executive teams play 2 critical roles in an organization.

The first is obvious: They provide strategic and operational leadership to the company. They set goals, develop strategies, and ensure the strategies are executed effectively.

The second is less obvious but just as important. The executive team provides the organizational and cultural DNA for the company. How well the executive team functions as a collective leadership body, and how its members interact, serves as the model that teams throughout the organization will follow.

Executive Team Effectiveness

You could fill entire libraries with the books and studies written about strategy and operations. But the second role of the executive team gets less press. Because it receives relatively little attention, team effectiveness can be the basis of significant competitive advantage for companies that get it right.

In our recent survey of senior executives, 65% indicated their executive teams were experiencing a clash between functional and enterprise accountabilities. But fewer than 1 in 5 rated their executive teams as “very effective.”

In the same survey, nearly all executives agreed that increasing the effectiveness of their executive team would have a positive impact on organizational results.

In other words, when the executive team functions better, the whole organization functions better.

The Best Executive Teams Have These 3 Things

The best executive teams are characterized by 3 vital threads that run through everything they do.

  • Strategic focus. Effective executive teams establish a vision for the organization and invest considerable time and energy at the strategic level. They balance risk and innovation, anticipate future needs and opportunities, and seek to ensure the organization’s sustainability.
  • Collective approach. Top-performing executive teams work together, taking an enterprise-wide view of their individual and team functions. They model for the entire organization ways to break down silos and develop solutions to business problems together. Individuals on top-performing executive teams prioritize the interests of the organization over individual gains.
  • Team interaction. Finally, the best executive teams are intentional in their interactions. They value their differences, listen and communicate well, seek input from each other, and trust and respect one another. These behaviors make teams more effective. Crucially, they also model for the rest of the enterprise what team interactions should look like.

5 Keys to Build a High-Performing Executive Team

Part of every CEO’s job description should be to “build and develop a world-class executive team.” This is challenging because the qualities that typically earn senior executives a place on the executive team are necessary, but not sufficient, for peak performance on that team.

So how does one build a highly effective executive team? There are 5 keys:

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

  1. Get the diagnosis right. The CEO or top leader at an organization should understand what drives individual executive-team members and what makes them work — or not — as a group.
  1. Get the leadership mental model right. Executive team members must have an explicit understanding of, and agreement with, what it means to lead at the enterprise level. Senior executives must understand that their role on the team goes beyond functional responsibilities.
  1. Get the mindset right. For seasoned leaders, the executive team shouldn’t represent the summit of their professional development, but rather a new challenge that requires them to continue to learn and grow. They must also bring this perspective to their direct reports and others with whom they interact, encouraging them to develop beyond their technical expertise.
  1. Get the interactions right. Creating explicit “interaction rules” to guide how team members interact with one another is critical to building effective teams. Members of the executive team must be transparent, vulnerable, and comfortable learning in public; they must also have strong communication skills.
  2. Get the diffusion rules right. Finally, executive teams are only effective when their decisions, thinking, and behaviors can spread quickly across large numbers of people at all levels of the organization. This ensures that strong, healthy executive team actions and values can be modeled by other teams throughout the enterprise.

You may be wondering whether your company is getting all the value you could out of your executive team. Read Are You Getting the Best Out of Your Executive Team? for tips on how to increase executive team effectiveness, symptoms of ineffective teams, and tools to evaluate and improve executive team performance.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Build your executive team effectiveness, drive change, and execute strategy across the business. Partner with us for a custom executive team development engagement to assess the effectiveness of your executive team and help them work more cohesively and effectively, manage complexity and change, and lead the organization to achieve what matters most.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Being the leader of a team is a huge responsibility, regardless of whether you’re the CEO, department manager, or supervisor.

As a leader, it’s your job to inspire and motivate the others on your team to work to the very best of their abilities. Being an effective leader demands a number of qualities and characteristics that encourage those around them to succeed. This article will examine eight leadership qualities that can help to inspire and motivate your team.

1. Provide a vision and purpose

Create an inspiring vision of the future that also gives your team a purpose – something to look forward to, and something to work towards. Make this vision achievable and realistic and work with your team towards achieving this goal. Think of practices or services that could help make both yours and their job easier. Use personal stories and anecdotes to explain your vision and inspire your team members, it will make you more relatable and less of a separate entity.

2. Set clear goals

Set clear goals for completing a project so that your team knows what is expected of them. Ensure that your team agrees with goals and deadlines you have set, and can identify with them on a personal level. This way they can be motivated to work harder and achieve those goals, boosting productivity levels in turn. Making sure that your team are in agreement and happy with goals and deadlines you have set will help them feel more involved in their work.

3. Lead by example

One of the most powerful motivational tactics you can use is to lead by example. Working hard, showing professional integrity, and having a can-do attitude are all qualities that will have a positive effect on your team members.

If your team recognises that you value the time and effort they put into their work, and you demonstrate the same actions and values you expect from them, it will inspire them to do the same.

4. Encourage teamwork

Encourage members to work together as a team by stressing the importance of and the connection between teamwork and achieving group goals. Note the fact that when people work together, work is much easier and quicker to do. You can further motivate your team by linking performance with team goals.

Encouraging teamwork will help individual team members feel less isolated and separate from the workplace. Employees will feel more engaged and a part of a larger community, inspiring them to work harder and enjoy what they do.

5. Be optimistic and positive

Having a positive attitude and an optimist outlook, even when times are tough, can inspire your team members to adopt the same attitude and outlook and continue to work hard. Remaining positive will show your team that it’s not the end of the world if things are going wrong, and keep them focused on the greater picture.

You can also help motivate your team by reacting positively to goal or project completion, and to the skills and abilities that each member brings to the team. Make them feel valued and appreciated, and your team will work harder.

6. Give praise and rewards

This is one of the best ways to inspire and motivate your team to work harder. When you praise one person in front of others, it encourages them to work harder or perform better, simultaneously motivating the others to work hard in order to be praised. When a reward is linked to performance, people will work even harder and be more committed to their task in order to win the reward.

7. Communicate with the team

You should be contactable at all times so that your team members can ask you questions about a project, get your opinion, offer ideas, and give feedback. Being available for your team plays a key role in motivating them, as it shows that you value the project and their feedback. Making yourself more available also avoids making your team members feel isolated and separate from management. Ensuring you’re always available for your team can boost productivity and improve the quality of your work.

8. Empower team members

When you give team members the power or authority to do something with complete control, this helps to motivate them to complete the work. You can also keep motivating your team members to work hard and bring out the best in them by offering constructive feedback. This will result in an empowered, happier, and more productive team.

The eight qualities above are essential in making you an effective team leader. By developing your leadership skills, you’ll see your team’s performance, productivity, and morale improve significantly. In turn, this can lead you and your company towards greater success.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

The first rule of team building is an obvious one: to lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.

  • Consider each employee’s ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea.
  • Be aware of employees’ unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings.
  • Act as a harmonizing influence. Look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disputes; point continually toward the team’s higher goals.
  • Be clear when communicating. Be careful to clarify directives.
  • Encourage trust and cooperation among employees on your team. Remember that the relationships team members establish among themselves are every bit as important as those you establish with them. As the team begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.
  • Encourage team members to share information. Emphasize the importance of each team member’s contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.
  • Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Let the team work on creative solutions together.
  • Facilitate communication. Remember that communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. Instead it means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by doing everything you can to avoid confusion in your own communication.
  • Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance. Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that employees get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards. Discuss with your team:
    • What do we really care about in performing our job?
    • What does the word success mean to this team?
    • What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?
  • Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.
  • Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee’s commitment to all phases of the work.
  • Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.
  • Establish a method for arriving at a consensus. You may want to conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals, or establish research committees to investigate issues and deliver reports.
  • Encourage listening and brainstorming. As supervisor, your first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that’s how you’ll spur your team on to better results.
  • Establish the parameters of consensus-building sessions. Be sensitive to the frustration that can mount when the team is not achieving consensus. At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution.

Top 5 Trends Among Ving’s Community Of Users — Big Positive Impacts From Changes Within Reach

We all have someone that comes to mind when thinking about great leaders whether it’s a colleague, a political figure, or someone from your personal life.

Regardless of who these people are, they all exhibit certain traits that set them apart. It’s one thing to lead — but yet another to be a strong, effective, and successful leader.

The secret to standing out are these key principles of effective leadership communication that drive collaboration and success. Anyone can take charge, but you need the right tools and skills to be the best. Let’s explore the top 10 principles for great leadership:

10. Openness

Successful leaders communicate with an objective of gaining understanding from the person they are interacting with. Keep an open mind when communicating with your team to see things from their point of view; it will make it easier to explain what you want from them if you put yourself in their mindset.

9. Lead by Example

As a leader, you need to exemplify the qualities that you expect to see in your employees. Instead of telling employees want you want them to do, show them by setting an example. Since leaders are in a position of influence, they need to face obstacles with confidence, determination and a positive attitude because you set the stage for the rest of your team. If you wouldn’t take your own instruction, why should they?

8. Personalization

One thing I’ve always respected about great leaders is their ability to make everyone in a room feel like a VIP. When these people give speeches, they make you feel as if they are speaking directly to you, even though there might be thousands of people in the crowd. On a smaller scale, getting to know your employees on a more personal level and making it a point to say hello in passing can go a long way in getting your team behind your vision.

7. Prioritize

There are a few facets to this principle. First, and most importantly, a strong leader knows that time is valuable and communication can take up a lot of it if conducted poorly. Prioritizing your communications is important because if you waste employee’s time, they’ll be less productive. Communicate exactly what you want from your team by stating the goal of the task, how long you expect it to take, any resources they’ll need, and finally any relevant details that might help streamline the process. Keeping emails short and concise is part of this, as well.

6. Avoid Monologue

Don’t talk TO your team, talk WITH them. People are more receptive to a dialogue-type of communication than if they feel they are being commanded to do something without any chance for their input. Approaching communication this way will help you to gain understanding and insight into the inner workings of your team, which is a valuable thing to know for the future.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

5. Clarity

Effective leadership communication is clear and simple. Don’t be vague when discussing what you want from your team, make sure they know exactly what you expect and when you expect it. If they don’t understand what you’re saying to them they won’t know what they should be doing. You lose productivity when they have to circle back around to you for clarification on important information.

4. Trust

One of the most important things a leader must establish for effective communication to take place is trust. If your employees don’t respect you, they won’t listen to you. Simple as that.

3. Critique

Feedback is one of the most valuable things you can give to your employees (other than a paycheck). The key is to give praise when it’s due, and give constructive criticism where it’s applicable. It’s true what they say, you really do attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. Think of feedback as a positive means to a more productive end. Employees will appreciate that you took the time to tell them how they can improve, and that you see potential in them.

2. Listen

Communication is a two way street. You have to be a good listener before you can start talking. Listen to the interests of your team and get a feel for their perspective on how to achieve goals. Effective listening will help you build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, and improve accuracy. Taking a moment to listen will help you waste less time in the long run, making you more productive.

1. Inspire

The number one principle of effective leadership communication is the ability to inspire those around you. As a leader, you have a vision of success that you want to achieve with the help of your team. It’s up to you to rally your team around that goal and help them embrace the vision, too. Inspiration is the fuel that keeps everyone working hard toward the ultimate goal, and great leaders know this. Think again of those great leaders we brought to mind earlier, and I bet you’re familiar with at least a few inspirational quotes attributed to them. Inspiration is the motivation behind success. Inspire greatness today for success tomorrow.

Now that you know the secret behind great leadership is as simple as effective communication, you can start using these principles in your own interactions to grow as a leader. Ving digital packets will help you become a more effective leader by making you more efficient. Inspire your team by uploading a video and easily track its progress with Ving analytics. Know what works for your employees and be a better leader today with Ving.

Have other tips for effective communication to add to our list? Share your suggestions in the comments section, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

Being the leader of a team is a huge responsibility, regardless of whether you’re the CEO, department manager, or supervisor.

As a leader, it’s your job to inspire and motivate the others on your team to work to the very best of their abilities. Being an effective leader demands a number of qualities and characteristics that encourage those around them to succeed. This article will examine eight leadership qualities that can help to inspire and motivate your team.

1. Provide a vision and purpose

Create an inspiring vision of the future that also gives your team a purpose – something to look forward to, and something to work towards. Make this vision achievable and realistic and work with your team towards achieving this goal. Think of practices or services that could help make both yours and their job easier. Use personal stories and anecdotes to explain your vision and inspire your team members, it will make you more relatable and less of a separate entity.

2. Set clear goals

Set clear goals for completing a project so that your team knows what is expected of them. Ensure that your team agrees with goals and deadlines you have set, and can identify with them on a personal level. This way they can be motivated to work harder and achieve those goals, boosting productivity levels in turn. Making sure that your team are in agreement and happy with goals and deadlines you have set will help them feel more involved in their work.

3. Lead by example

One of the most powerful motivational tactics you can use is to lead by example. Working hard, showing professional integrity, and having a can-do attitude are all qualities that will have a positive effect on your team members.

If your team recognises that you value the time and effort they put into their work, and you demonstrate the same actions and values you expect from them, it will inspire them to do the same.

4. Encourage teamwork

Encourage members to work together as a team by stressing the importance of and the connection between teamwork and achieving group goals. Note the fact that when people work together, work is much easier and quicker to do. You can further motivate your team by linking performance with team goals.

Encouraging teamwork will help individual team members feel less isolated and separate from the workplace. Employees will feel more engaged and a part of a larger community, inspiring them to work harder and enjoy what they do.

5. Be optimistic and positive

Having a positive attitude and an optimist outlook, even when times are tough, can inspire your team members to adopt the same attitude and outlook and continue to work hard. Remaining positive will show your team that it’s not the end of the world if things are going wrong, and keep them focused on the greater picture.

You can also help motivate your team by reacting positively to goal or project completion, and to the skills and abilities that each member brings to the team. Make them feel valued and appreciated, and your team will work harder.

6. Give praise and rewards

This is one of the best ways to inspire and motivate your team to work harder. When you praise one person in front of others, it encourages them to work harder or perform better, simultaneously motivating the others to work hard in order to be praised. When a reward is linked to performance, people will work even harder and be more committed to their task in order to win the reward.

7. Communicate with the team

You should be contactable at all times so that your team members can ask you questions about a project, get your opinion, offer ideas, and give feedback. Being available for your team plays a key role in motivating them, as it shows that you value the project and their feedback. Making yourself more available also avoids making your team members feel isolated and separate from management. Ensuring you’re always available for your team can boost productivity and improve the quality of your work.

8. Empower team members

When you give team members the power or authority to do something with complete control, this helps to motivate them to complete the work. You can also keep motivating your team members to work hard and bring out the best in them by offering constructive feedback. This will result in an empowered, happier, and more productive team.

The eight qualities above are essential in making you an effective team leader. By developing your leadership skills, you’ll see your team’s performance, productivity, and morale improve significantly. In turn, this can lead you and your company towards greater success.

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at work

How to lead a team more effectively and be a true leader at workThis post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2019.

What defines a great leader?

Is it the ability to listen to others, to motivate, to overcome challenges?

Great leaders can achieve balance—a balance between interacting and guiding a team while still maintaining authority.

When you take away all the fluff, a great team leader can be defined in two simple words:

Team player.

A great leader never forgets they’re a team player.

When people lead, they take on a role of responsibility: the captain of a ship, the leader of an expedition, the coach of an Olympic hockey team.

Many people mistake a great leader for one who jumps in with their team and works with them. Think of this:

Who do you respect more, the captain of a ship who tells her team to row harder while she watches, or the captain that motivates by rowing with them?

While someone who motivates their team by working with them is more respected, that may not necessarily be as effective.

Remember: hard work is smart work.

A great team leader achieves extraordinary living by making the most out of his or her team each and every day.

They do this by being a motivator, and by setting an example. They show their team what can be accomplished when everyone works together. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a team leader must work with them.

He or she must lead their team by showing them the way. By guiding them.

When a leader jumps along with their team to work with them—when a captain rows alongside their team—who is in charge of navigation?

So, while it is necessary for a leader to motivate, a great leader should always keep in mind that their job is to lead. To communicate. Not to do what other people on the team can and should do. They can show their team how to do it, but a good team leader should have faith that they have taught their team well.

An effective leader watches over his or her team: the weaknesses, the strengths, the challenges, the opportunities for improvement. This allows them to do their job and make their team the best it can be.

Think about it this way: does a good coach take the court or the field during a game?

A team leader knows their team.

An effective leader knows their team members’ strengths and weaknesses.

This ensures that you allocate work accordingly to make sure your team is doing their best most impactful work.

This means working hard to make sure your team is working hard. This doesn’t mean you have to do the same work as them. It does mean that you have to work as hard—if not harder—than they do.

This will earn you respect.

Help by teaching, not by doing.

When team members do something new, they need assistance. The most effective leaders help not by doing the work, but by teaching their team how to do it.

Encouraging, showing.

A good team leader encourages and supports others. They lead by example and ask for input when necessary. They are someone the team trusts to ask for help when they need it.

Success and failure test a leader. Whether they achieve success or failure, a good team leader will always seek input.

There is a difference between leaders who command, and leaders who seek input. Leaders who command are dictatorial team leaders.

Effective leaders show respect for all their team members, and always ask for suggestions and feedback—they keep lines of communication open at all times.

Be the kind of team member you want everyone on your team to be.

Show–don’t just tell–your team how to be successful.

Lead by example.

  • Help by teaching, not by doing.
  • Encourage always.
  • Ask for input.
  • Lead by example.

For tools and resources on being the best leader you can be, check out my leadership books and tools, which can catapult you to success and show you how to be the best leader you can be

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Author: Mark Sanborn

Mark holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association (NSA) and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. He was recently honored with the Cavett Award, the highest honor the NSA bestows on its members, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the speaking profession. In 2020, Global Gurus named Mark the #5 Leadership Authority in the world.