how to be a good leader

Did you know that by 2030, there will be 300 million university graduates worldwide? In 2018, Singapore had close to 15,000 fresh full-time degree graduates. Can you imagine if we were to include post-graduates and part-time degree graduates? As the world sees more graduates with each passing year, the competition to get a promotion or even a job will get tougher. What sets you apart from the competition is no longer the degree certificate, but your soft skills. Regardless of whether you are a fresh graduate or looking for a career switch, leadership skills are highly sought after by companies. Being a good leader not only opens up doorways to greater career paths but also makes you more resistant to retrenchment. Climb the corporate ladder and unlock your access to a wider array of jobs with these pointers.

Strengthen Your People Skills

What is a good leader without some charisma and empathy? If you could choose between a friendly and understanding boss versus a cold and detached boss, which will you choose? (I would definitely choose the former). While it is important to maintain professionalism, a leader will just be a title if you do not have influence over your colleagues. So, be a leader who can connect with your colleagues and know when to draw a line between a boss and a friend. You are more likely to gain support and help from colleagues who enjoy working with you. Put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues to understand them better and be an active listener.

Balance Vertical And Horizontal Leadership

Both leadership styles have their plus points, but balancing both leadership styles will make you a great leader. You want to have the respect and the ability to deliver results while maintaining personal relationships with your colleagues.

Vertical leadership comes in handy when you want to transform all that talk into action. The leader makes the decisions and delegates work. Sounds like a tyranny? But without a leader to start the ball rolling and set the direction, it would be difficult to attain your organizational goals. Even if you encounter crossroads, have the courage to make tough decisions. Be decisive and understand your purpose. The first step is always the hardest and it only gets easier.

Horizontal leadership is the ‘trendy’ brother of vertical leadership. Think flattened hierarchical structures and democracy, but most importantly, persuasion. Rather than being labelled as ‘bossy’ or ‘micro-manager’, show your colleagues how they can benefit from helping you. Creating win-win situations will encourage colleagues to self-organize and invest greater effort into their work. 

Foster A Connection And Sense Of Belonging

Imagine, waking up every morning and going to work with nothing to look forward to. Your job becomes just a 9-5 routine without a compelling vision or a sense of belonging to your company. If your organization is struggling with issues like high turnover rates and low job performance, relook at your organization culture and set goals with your colleagues. Your colleagues are not just people to help you get the work done but also human beings. Get to know them on a personal level and include them in goal-setting to strengthen their relationship to the organization.

Be Supportive

Want your organization to achieve greater heights? Start acknowledging your colleagues’ hard work! Studies have shown that employees are more motivated and invested in the organization when their efforts are being recognized. Don’t forget to provide opportunities for your colleagues to learn and grow. A good leader is one who empowers others to great things. Encourage feedback and organization learning. Colleagues can provide a fresh perspective or an innovative solution to an old problem.

Maintain High Ethical And Moral Standards

I’m sure we have seen so many companies being driven by profits at the expense of their employees. It is easy to look at the numbers and statistics and focus on what’s practical, but what we need is a leader who can do the right thing. No doubt, everyone has a different definition of right and wrong. But the first step is to go beyond the numbers and start looking at alternative success factors like employee satisfaction and company image. The type of leader you are will attract the same type of people into the organization. So remember, be a leader that walks the talk and treat your colleagues like how you want to be treated.

Being a good leader takes time and experience. It took me a while to learn the ropes and discover my leadership style, so it is alright if you are still trying to find your footing.  If you find yourself being a ‘tyrannical’ leader, it’s not too late to change your ways! Use these pointers as a guide for you to become a better leader and watch your influence and value grow.

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