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6 Smart Tips That Make You a Better Leader

Business.com / Entrepreneurship / Last Modified: January 8, 2018
Photo credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

One quality that every entrepreneur must possess is successful leadership. How do you tap your core strengths and apply them to become a better business leader? This article explains how.

The biggest pitfall that can impede a business leader's success is to fall into the rut of routine operations management. A bit of savviness is all you need to keep improving yourself and strengthen your brand as a business leader. Here are six smart strategies.

1. Ramp up your communication tactics.

You're already communicating with stakeholders every day. None are as important, though, as your employees. Communication is the biggest differentiator between good and great leaders. You can never stop improving your communication. Here are some suggestions to improve your skills:

  • Employees can smell baseless talk from a mile away. Keep things real.
  • Use credible sources in your motivational talks.
  • When giving goals to your people, make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound).
  • Continually innovate with communication channels. Use email, telephone, video calling, and instant messaging, depending on what best serves your communication needs.

Remember, communication is a two-way process. Invest in communication-enhancement training for your employees.

2. Focus on what you do best and delegate the rest.

Your time comes at a premium. Though delegation is not exactly a secret of operations management, as a leader, it's important to delegate. Here's how the pros do it:

  • Hire virtual assistants to handle your menial and tedious tasks.
  • Use cloud-based apps to organize and manage your work on the move.
  • Use the Ivy Lee productivity hack; it marries the best elements of prioritization and focused work.
  • Trust project management tools and communication-management apps to usher in process-level efficiencies.

3. Keep upgrading yourself.

No one wants to work for a leader whose knowledge is so dated that it ceases to deliver any practical advantage to the team or business. It could be a revelation for a manager to realize that their trusted methods and formulas no longer work.

Here are some tips to stay up to date while assessing your effectiveness as a leader:

  • Subscribe to one of the cutting-edge podcasts in your business niche and listen to it during your commute time.
  • Look for quick reads, such as book summaries, to quickly catch up on the latest news and ideas from your market.
  • Don’t be an island. Seek out a mentor who can help broaden your horizons.
  • Ask yourself these questions daily:
    • What did I learn today?
    • What mistakes did I make? What lessons did they teach me?
    • Did I empower someone to do better and win the day today?
    • What do I need to let go of?
    • What legacy do I want to leave behind? What did I do today to ensure this day wasn't an outlier?

4. Cultivate a culture of innovation.

Great business leaders drive their teams to step out of the confines of routine and achieve the extraordinary. Building teamwork and rewarding collaboration are key to achieving your goals.

Cultivating a culture that values innovation is one of the most difficult responsibilities a business leader has. Here's how the best nurture innovation in their companies:

  • Proactively introduce mechanisms that naturally boost creative and innovative thinking.
  • Make incremental improvements in the workplace to facilitate out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Use tools to measure how employees spend their time.
  • Encourage practical shuffling of duties and departments to help employees gain a wider perspective of the organization's work.
  • Show employees how they can use time-tested methods of creative idea generation (brainstorming, mind mapping, story boarding, etc.) by organizing and participating in sessions.

5. Don't waste time in meetings anymore.

Any guesses on how much time top business managers spend in meetings? It's roughly 50 percent of their work time!

Imagine the improvements you can make each workday by eliminating the need for meetings by 30 to 40 percent. Meetings have slowly become the most common platform for interaction for leaders and their employees. Rather than relying on meetings, use these smart tricks:

  • See where you can use video calling so that meetings don't become your only way of interacting with employees.
  • Send a clear agenda with your meeting invites; this sends a clear "no slacking" message.
  • Be very clear with action points and their assignees (avoid multiple assignees unless the task needs more than one person).
  • Motivate the art of lightning-quick updates. Never stretch meetings, and thank an employee when he or she saves the team vital minutes with an update or input that reflects thorough preparation.

6. Strive for perfection but also understand that no one is perfect.

As a business leader, you should always strive for perfection in your work. At the same time, it is essential to understand that no one is perfect.

A leader should not scare away employees; instead, an employee should feel secure in the presence of the leader. Here are some ways you can lead effectively while working toward perfection:

  • Identify the potential of each employee and delegate tasks to them based on their work persona.
  • Do not scold employees when they do something wrong. Help and guide them when they need you the most.
  • Continuously groom the skills of your employees and motivate them so they feel greatness is achievable.
  • Cultivate a culture of working smartly so employees achieve more in less time.
  • Don't let your quest for perfectionism turn into an obsession.

Your evolution as a business leader should never stop. Try the six methods suggested above to take control today.

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