What does it mean to lead? The question may sound trite but what exactly is effective leadership in the workplace? Does one become a leader just because he or she holds a title like ‘manager’ or’ ‘vice-president?’
True leaders are not defined by their external titles, ranks or tenures. They are defined by their personal qualities and skills. Some are natural leaders but anyone can acquire the characteristics of a good leader if he or she invests enough time and effort into learning and applying the principles and techniques.
What leadership qualities are relevant in today’s workplace? Read on and find out.
1. Develop empathy
Empathy is the awareness of your colleagues’ feelings, needs, experiences and concerns. It is the conscious attempt to establish and maintain authentic relationships with your peers in the workplace.
Empathetic leaders have high emotional intelligence. In communicating with peers, empaths make sure their information will be clearly understood by their listeners and be relevant to them. Empaths are not afraid to reveal their real, vulnerable selves and will encourage peers to do the same. Such an attitude will create an atmosphere of camaraderie and community where colleagues can freely and confidently share ideas.
2. Keep communication lines open
In this day and age of social media, millennials in the workplace value open communication more than any other generation. Millennial leaders thrive on this constant connection in order to create high-spirited, cohesive teams. Thus, collaborative leadership has now become the buzz word.
This ‘flat’ type of leadership allows better information dissemination across the whole team. In today’s millennial culture, leaders need to show team members the ‘why’ of things before they can start working on the tasks and goals assigned them.
Team members have the responsibility 1) to make sure they are aligned to their leader’s goals 2) to regularly update their boss 3) to meet deadlines 4) to come to their superior with solutions and not problems.
3. Be proactive
Leaders are initiators. They volunteer to do things as long as they believe in the underlying principles and values governing those actions. They will even go beyond their call of duty and take part in a worthy undertaking in the organisation.
These assertive individuals continuously find opportunities to lead and gain experience. Examples of initiatives are recommending solutions to workflow issues, participating in a cross-functional team or leading a special projects committee.
Eventually, their superiors will recognise their proactive efforts and see how these impact the organisation in a positive way.
4. Commit to the goals of your organisation
In order to ignite the fire of passion and commitment in an individual, millennial leaders must be able to connect the team member’s role to the overall objectives of the company.
When individuals see the relevance of their roles to the grand scheme of the firm, it makes it easier for them to make a genuine commitment. And when leaders also manifest a sincere pledge to the company, the team member’s commitment is further strengthened. Pledging to company goals means that employees are working side-by-side with upper management in the pursuit of these objectives. And team members must also inspire their peers to make that commitment as well.
5. Be a role model
Here are 12 ways to further reveal your leadership qualities:
a) Be punctual.
b) Always display a positive attitude.
c) Leave work early only for important reasons.
d) When you are sick, inform your superior immediately.
e) Dress appropriately and practice good hygiene.
f) Manage your work time well. Exhibit self-discipline and show your superior that you need minimal supervision.
g) Communicate in a positive manner, listen openly. Give due respect and praise to others.
Know by heart the history of the company as well as its vision, mission, products and services.
h) Keep your skills and industry knowledge relevant through continuing education.
i) Keep an open mind when given constructive criticism by colleagues and superiors.
j) Keep your work area clean and organised.
In today’s corporate landscape, more millennials are entering the workforce. And the key to being a successful leader today is to promote a culture of honest and continual feedback. It should be feedback that goes both ways: leaders check-in daily with millennial team members while employees speak up about their superior’s decision or about a recent company-wide policy.
Such a culture of transparency will not only strengthen the working relationship of leader and team member but will help identify products, services and processes that can be improved.
Successful leaders will leverage on this culture of honest feedback by giving millennial team members short-term, relatable goals for which they will be held accountable. With this environment of transparency, millennials can craft creative solutions to challenges thus, make their impact in the workplace.All content is produced and published by IMPACT! Brand Communications.