In the modern workplace, being an effective leader means more than just giving instructions and waiting for staff to put them into action. Indeed, a crucial part of leadership development is learning how to empower employees and positively influence them so that they can maximize their potential.
With that in mind, here are five leadership behaviors that can have a positive influence on your workforce.
1. Show Appreciation
One basic step to take is to acknowledge the efforts of your employees. Most people try to make an honest living by working hard, but the routine can become draining. Taking the time to show some appreciation is an easy way to make them feel good about themselves and to reinforce their desire to work at the same time.
"Appreciation is both motivating and uplifting, and saying 'thank you' is a simple, no-cost way to show appreciation," says Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within, writing for Inc.com. "Taking care to recognize the contributions of others increases their confidence and your team's morale."
2. Be a Role Model
As a leader, you should have clear ideas of what you hope for and expect from staff members and the best way to steer their behavior towards meeting those expectations is to act as a role model. Ordering employees around will only get you so far, so it is important to learn to lead by example.
You should try to become an embodiment of your company's values and vision, and aim to inspire your workforce. Moreover, as a role model, you should attempt to connect with your employees during staff parties or on work off-site activities, so that you can demonstrate to your team that you are all in it together.
3. Set Goals For Employees
Another important leadership quality, and one which should be covered as part of your leadership trainings, is the ability to set goals for employees, in order to give them something to work towards. This should be a two way process, where both yourself and the employee set specific targets, which are realistic, achievable and measurable.
"Pick out those with leadership or other valued talent potential and nurture them," says Meghan M. Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture. "Provide a path to success not only for those with leadership promise but for all employees. Have a development plan for all, and a get-well plan for those whose performance lags."
4. Ask For Their Input
In order to be a successful leader, you need to be open to hearing ideas and opinions that are different from your own. Employees may have some excellent ideas, which you haven't even considered and failing to tap into that means failing to get the most out of your team.
Simply asking employees what they think the best solution to a problem is, or how they would approach a certain task is a great way to make them feel as though they are valued by your organization. Of course, you don't always have to take their advice, but it never hurts to be seen to ask for it.
5. Stay Positive
Last but by no means least, it is important to stay positive, for your employees' sake. Inevitably, there will be times when things aren't going so well, and during these times your staff will look to you for guidance. Staying positive does not mean lying to staff, or pulling the wool over their eyes, but it does involve having an optimistic outlook.
"Business has its ups and downs," explains Andre Lavoie, the CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany. "As a leader, it's important to keep employee morale up even when business is down. Sometimes that means adopting a 'fake it ‘til you make it' mentality."
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Alison Brattle is marketing manager at AchieveGlobal, a global sales training and development firm based in the UK. It specializes in providing exceptional sales management and leadership development courses that helps organizations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Alison enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.