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How to Become a Better Leader (with ideas you can try)

Published 10th October 2016 by Thomas Bale
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Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people", that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. 

Peter F Drucker

We asked Investors in People accredited organsiations, top managers and employees what they wanted most from their Leaders. We captured what they said in a list.

Read these Top 10 Tips and Examples for Better Leaders

1. Build a constructive relationship with your team

Reward, provide feedback and communicate in a way which is productive for the whole team. An inspiring leader is not only personable and approachable, but knows how to build relationships that feel authentic and valuable. Leaders at all levels should be aiming to build constructive relationships with team members, which will inevitably lead to higher levels of engagement across the board.

2. Be self-aware

Don’t just consider the ‘what do I know about myself?’ Ask the question: 'how aware am I of the impact I have on others?’ When leaders can be objective in this way, they are in a better position to understand employee concerns and encourage people to commit and not merely to comply.

Why not try: leaving 5 minutes for feedback at the end of your next one-to-one meeting.

3. Inspire and enable

It’s all about establishing and maintaining relationships, inspiring and enabling people to do things because they want to, because they believe in it; not just because that’s what they’re expected to do.

4. Be a leader who listens

Listen for facts, for feeling and for meaning. Leadership today is about being empowering, acting for all with emotional intelligence.

5. Be a role model

Leaders need to be fully in sync with the organisation’s values, culture and ambition. Set expectations through your own actions - in tune with the working culture and demonstrating leadership capabilities which are in line with the organisation’s values.

Why not try: asking employees whether they believe leaders act as role models

6. Be a visionary leader

As leaders, you should be co-creators and and constantly encouraging creativity. You can order your employees to complete tasks, but you can’t order them to be innovative, or think differently. It starts with a shared vision, purpose and ambition

7. Let your people own their decisions and experience

When a team member asks, 'How do I do this?' the effective leader will turn the question around and say: 'How do you think you should do it?' It’s much better to encourage people to try something themselves and come back to share their experience.Aleaderis a guide, offering congratulations and reward for a job donewell. This approach gives people a greater sense of ownership and in turn achievement.

Why not try: making sure you have formal time to catch up and meet with your people.

8. Be an approachable leader

35% of employees identified being ‘approachable’as the quality they associate with being a modern leader, according to the IIP Modern Leader Poll.

9. Offer up responsibility

High performing leaders can show how they empower individuals at all levels to take responsibility and make decisions. At a level appropriate to their role, give employees ownership and accountability over areas which affect the performance of individuals, teams and the organisation.

10. Credit where credit’s due

Celebrating both individual and team success is a key way to motivate your people towards further success. When people see value in their own outputs, as well as in reward practices, you’ll start seeing a greater alignment with - and commitment to - the organisation.

Why not try: recognising someone based on behaviour instead of outcome.