Effective leadership is one of the most important prerequisites for the success of any company. Alexander the Great once famously said, ‘I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.’ We don’t want to argue with one of the most brilliant leaders of all time.
But, even though we all have a pretty good idea about what traits make good leaders, the problem arises when we need to apply these ideas in real-life workplace situations. So, what skills exactly do you need to have to run the office smoother and how to make this responsibility easier. Let us try to find out.
Master the time-management technique
This will help you not only to plow through the daily tasks faster but also to organize your subordinates and help them to achieve the optimal level of performance. Here are a couple of techniques that will help you along the way:
- Use SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) to break down large workloads into more specific tasks.
- Use time tracking apps
- Direct your workers to use the Pomodoro time management technique.
- Keep mornings when everyone works at the peak performance for the most important tasks
- Block distractions and set up the workplace environment that will encourage productivity
- Discourage workers from multitasking and present them with isolated, easy-to-understand goals.
Although that puts more responsibilities on your workers, trial and tribulations are necessary for a high level of proficiency and empowered workforce. Also, delegating some of your tasks down the ranks will help you to manage your personal workload more effectively and avoid over-committing to tasks of secondary importance. If not possible, outsource these tasks altogether. For instance, if you are working with foreign teams, the role of employer of record and payroll can be much more effectively performed by a third-party service provider. Doing these tasks in-house will put too much pressure on your team.
Encourage effective two-way communication
Most managers expect their subordinates to report to them everything going on around the office without any delays. The problem is that most workers don’t always feel comfortable enough to reach out to the bosses with their questions, concerns, and updates. That is why you need to be the one that will incite communication and make employees comfortable to provide valuable feedback. Spending time to get to know them and discover what form of communication they prefer can prove to be of great help. Also, set up the channels where problems will be publicly discussed and reported immediately as they occur.
Find a way to motivate the staff
Good leaders don’t only need to be able to pass effective instructions – they also have to motivate the employees and help them be empowered enough to make instant, on-the-ground decisions. Start doing that by creating a safe work environment where problems will be discussed openly but without any condemnation. Open office concepts, social hubs, and different types of workstations will help in creating that ‘laid back’ attitude you aim for. Also, be sure to set up a clear reward program as well as small workplace perks and never miss a chance to commend valuable workers for good performance.
Present clear workflows
Every project your workers engage in needs to be clearly mapped out, marked with easy-to-understand milestones, and explained to the smallest details. Furthermore, everyone needs to be aware of its role in the process and how that role contributes to the overall goal. If you take time to present the tasks to your workers like this they will be much more able to use the time-management, avoid confusion, notice and report mistakes and engage in independent problem-solving. Just make sure to craft a reasonable timeline and don’t put too much pressure on the team to encourage collaboration instead of blaming.
Actively resolve conflicts and be consistent
Last but not least, you really want to avoid any impression of favoritism. Your subordinates need to know that you are rigid but just and that no one will be punished or amnestied on a personal bias. All your decisions need to be explained and compared to the previous instances when you resolved the problems in a similar manner. What’s also important is not to wait for problems to escalate but stay vigil, and act upon the first sign of turmoil even when your workers are not aware the problems exist. Even the menial conflicts can easily escalate to massive proportions and poison the morale of the whole team.
We hope these few examples gave you a general idea about what makes a good workplace leader and how to enforce that leadership in a fruitful and productive manner. Even the most talented workers in the world are not able to realize their full potential if they don’t have someone to rally them up and help them thrive. That puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders, but now you at least know where to start.