How to be an effective leader

Alastair Paterson our consultant managing the role
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In this article, Owen Morgan, MD of our sister HR consultancy company, INTOO, outlines the qualities of an effective leader, and how to get there.

When you become a leader, you are responsible for other people; however people do not magically become leaders overnight ‒ it requires training, leadership coaching, experience and hard work to become an effective leader.

What makes a good leader?

There isn’t a single formula that can be applied to create the perfect leader ‒ each one may have different goals, ideals and methods that can all be used to guide and build a successful team. However, there are some basics that must be considered to enable someone to be the best they can be. 

Qualities of a good leader

Trustworthy

It’s imperative that there’s trust between you, as a leader, and your staff, or team members. They need to trust in your leadership, be confident that your decisions are the correct ones and trust that you can easily resolve issues, whether personal or professional. It can come from a result of your actions – when you say you will do something, it’s important to follow through with it. Over time, staff will learn that they can trust in you.

You will also need to invest time in your team members. Being a leader often requires that you wear two metaphorical hats – business objectives and team empowerment. You should switch between these two approaches to ensure your team is motivated, resilient, happy and focused and that, at the same time, you can achieve your business goals.

Trust can take some time to build up, so if you’re new to management, be patient."


Knowledge 

When you are a leader, your team members will expect you to know the correct answers and make the right decisions. For this reason, it’s important that you are knowledgeable in your field. You must clearly understand what it is that your team is expected to deliver; and ensure they can do it to a high standard. Lack of knowledge can become a real barrier for team members, and so such barriers should be taken down to allow staff to deliver their work properly. As their leader, you should be able to guide, direct, coach and answer any issues in order that any project challenges can be identified and rectified.

Adaptability & Resilience

As a leader, there are a whole host of situations that could befall you, many of which cannot be predicted or foreseen. Therefore, it’s important that you are able to adapt your skills and leadership style depending on what is required of you. You will need a good level of emotional intelligence – as well as personal resilience - to be able to navigate through any situation and find the right outcome.

Organisation & Administration

Organisational and administrational skills – understanding what needs to be done and by when are key in almost any job role, but particularly so when you’re managing a team. It’s important that you stay on top of the work being delivered, understand the projects being worked on simultaneously, and recognise where there are tight deadlines. It may be that you decide to collaborate via project management tools to help you, or make use of real-time calendars.

Communication

Clear and open communication between team members is imperative. As a leader, you will not only be required to communicate with your direct reports, but also report  ‘up’ through the chain of command. Information needs to be shared accurately and in a timely manner between these hierarchies of people to keep things running smoothly.

Communication is also key with your team members on a personal level. It’s important that team members feel like they can be open with you, discussing any challenges they may be encountering that could be impacting their performance.

How to become a good leader

Let’s look at how you might apply these qualities to become an excellent leader.

Get to know your employees

Getting to know your team members is really important, so it’s wise to take the time to do exactly this. Holding regular team meetings to update them on projects is a good way to do this, but it is also important to invest time individually with each team member. Regular one-to-one meetings are important. They allow you to learn more about your team members and their preferred working style so that you can effectively engage with them. One-to-one meetings are also key for helping to develop your team and address any minor issues before they become major ones.

Communicate effectively

Knowing what and when to communicate is imperative, and you will need to exercise discretion and analyse what information can be shared and what should remain undisclosed. Is the information on a ‘need to know’ basis, or should you provide them with everything you have been told? This judgement will, in many cases be yours based upon the organisational culture, the information itself and your understanding of your team’s likely reactions.

Acknowledge your team’s successes

Morale is important for any business, and it’s important that you acknowledge and celebrate your team’s successes, either individually or as a whole. You may choose to share their success company-wide, via email or in a company meeting. Personal thanks never goes amiss. You could promote their story in a newsletter that goes around internally and to clients or customers. You might even choose to reward them with a prize, such as an extra day of annual leave, a gift card or a nice lunch where they can chat to you one to one. It doesn’t matter how you acknowledge the team’s successes, just that you do.

Use your team’s strengths

It’s likely that every person you lead excels in something different, and it’s important to recognise these strengths and use them to your advantage. Doing so helps to create a cohesive team, where each person understands exactly why they are there, and what their role is.

When you understand the strengths of your team, work can be delegated more effectively and be completed faster, giving your employees an overall sense of positivity and increased motivation.

Being a good leader comes with time, experience and practice, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t come naturally straight away. If you’re looking to increase your confidence in a leadership role, don’t be afraid to ask for training and coaching.

About INTOO HR Consultancy

INTOO is a HR Consultancy passionate about supporting organisations with their most important asset – their people. During times of change, assisting retention initiatives, restructuring or simply improving personal and business performance, our solutions are designed to assist. Our areas of expertise include outplacement, change management, coaching, leadership development, mentoring and career development.

We are committed to helping people reach their true potential and use our extensive experience and deep expertise to create environments and services that help people thrive. We work hard to provide our clients with quality, people-focussed solutions that they can trust.
We are creative, curious and knowledgeable, providing you with insight into traditional methods and breaking trends, mobilising the very best team around you.

We are genuinely diverse in our breadth of clients and the types of organisations we support, from global multinationals to local SMEs, from private sector, to public and not for profit, we support companies of all shapes and sizes with their people solutions. Visit our website to find out more on how we can help.

Outplacement Services

Whether you’re at the start of your career or you’re a seasoned business leader, being made redundant is stressful. At INTOO, we understand this. We also know that providing personalised and effective outplacement support makes a real difference to those affected.

It gives individuals the reassurance that they will be supported during this period of transition and encourages them to look to the future. Crucially, by showing care and consideration for talent, it also helps organisations to protect their ability to attract and retain future talent.

Find out more about our outplacement services.

22/09/22
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