What does it mean to be a great leader? For many tech companies, the definition of a great leader is someone who rallies his or her troops to get things done. A great leader may also prove something of a visionary, predicting where markets will go.
But people often diverge when it comes to defining a great leader’s personality; some are okay with a boss who acts tyrannically, so long as the ends justify the means. Others think that effective leadership is only possible when one treats employees well.
Whatever your definition, here are some things that anyone in a leadership role can practice to become more successful:
Leaders Tend to Listen
Actively listen to what your employees tell you, and regularly seek their openness and candor without any consequences. This way, the feedback will have a greater chance of being truthful.
The best leaders always respond to questions, address concerns in a short period of time, and, above all, listen with empathy.
Leaders Organize Their Thoughts
Never present an argument you haven’t fully thought through; this tends to undermine leadership and shows weakness. If you’re trying to communicate the vision and direction to your people, spend a few minutes organizing what you want to deliver to ensure the message is clear.
Leaders Know How to Communicate
If you’re a better speaker than a writer, speak more often. You probably have employees who are excellent writers, can design killer presentations, or know how to speak with the media; let them take the lead on those initiatives. Leaders aren’t afraid to partner with people who have the skills to make them better at communicating on any platform.
Don’t limit yourself to any one platform. Anything you need to communicate should go out through multiple streams to make sure you’re reaching everyone who needs to hear your message. (And although you may have multiple platforms at your disposal, you need to observe all personal and professional lines before you communicate; when in doubt, involve your HR team to review missives before they’re dispatched.)
Leaders Involve the Right People
Good leaders make a point of bringing in the right people for all efforts. Involving all stakeholders from the start will reduce duplicate communications. You’ll be able to solve unforeseen problems quicker, keep your team on target, and limit frustrations caused by people with misinformation.
Leaders Convey Context
Your employees want to understand their work means something. By contextualizing their work, your direction, and the evolving progression of the company, you inspire employees to do their best.
Leaders Seek More Than Information
Effective leaders show thanks for a job well done, and recognize employees who demonstrate extraordinary efforts. Make your connections more personal by building your employees up and driving them forward; in turn, they’ll reward you with additional productivity.