Leadership is a way of thinking

Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting, and, most importantly, a way of communicating.

Forbes.com asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members what habits leaders can adopt to set an excellent example for their team. Read on for their best recommendations.

“Great leaders don’t simply tell their team what to do: they lead by example and ‘walk the walk’. Staff members are much more willing to listen to instructions and respect leadership if their boss is doing the same.
What behaviours are best for encouraging a strong work ethic, relationship building, and leadership development?

1. Practicing What You Preach

Humans are visual creatures. We learn faster when we see – it’s the reason stories stick better than random data. The same goes for team members and their leaders. Consciously or unconsciously, we pick cues from our environments and act accordingly. When a leader comes and leaves work before everyone else, members of the team will generally follow suit. When they see how their leader handles conflict in the office, they take note. A highly caring and competent leader will inspire fierce loyalty. That care and competence will spread across the team, reducing office politics, and speeding up execution.

2. Personal Development

A good leader admits they still have a lot to learn and instils a habit of personal development. If a leader shows they are working on developing themselves and provides opportunities for their team to do the same, many will follow their example. Leaders can only lead others well if they know how to conduct themselves well, so a habit of personal development is key.

3. Self-Discipline

Your employees and children don’t do what you tell them to do, but they do what you, as a leader, are doing. Being disciplined in aspects like showing up to work early, executing tasks in a timely manner, etc., can create a congenial environment in any organisation. You might have noticed that, whenever you are in a negative state, you might have yelled at one of your unfortunate employees even if they had nothing to do with your mood or emotions. So, stay positive, enthusiastic, and consistent. You will transfer that energy to your team. Confidence spreads.

4. Reading

A habit I worked hard to develop that changed my life is reading. I try to instill the value of reading from a book each day in all of my employees – its been a crucial component not only of my success as an entrepreneur but also of my personal growth. When I was 19, I read Stephen Covey’s book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. It is well known as one of the best business books ever written. When employees tell me they are too busy, I point out that former President Obama made time to read books every day during his two terms.

5. Acknowledging Others For Their Efforts

Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’. From self-help expert Dale Carnegie, these words speak to a timeless truth about human nature: people love to be acknowledged for their efforts. As a business leader, it’s important that you take the time to look for the best qualities in your team members and to genuinely acknowledge these qualities whenever they appear in their work. If an employee delivers a project well ahead of their deadline, comment on their excellent punctuality. Doing so will make your workplace a happier, more rewarding place to work, but it will also help your employee develop a self-image of punctuality and hard work. In time, they will start to see themselves as a punctual worker and will work hard to maintain this reputation by delivering on time in the future.” 

6. Active Listening

Listening skills are a must if you’re a business owner. You’re dealing with employees, vendors, investors, customers, other entrepreneurs, and more. You have a lot on your plate, but to understand the happenings within your company, you need to be able to listen. Most people listen to respond, but it’s important to listen, to understand instead. When issues arise, especially, you need to be level-headed so you can move forward diplomatically. You can easily and quickly reach solutions when you listen to all sides and come to a conclusion.

7. Positivity

To lead by example and to positively impact those around them, an extremely important habit for leaders to adopt is to stay positive. Leaders set the tone and the tenor of the organisations they lead, and the attitude a leader brings to the table day in and day out is as impactful and inspiring as anything. To build a winning organisational culture, leaders need to adopt a winning mindset. If you have a can-do attitude, your team will be far more inclined to believe that it can be done. Leave any negative energy at the door. The power of positivity, like the power of leadership, is exponential.

8. Seeing the Other Person’s Perspective

Truly listening to your employees sends a vital signal that you care about their welfare. Many leaders care more about what’s coming out of their own mouths than about what the person sitting across from them has to say. That’s exceptionally demotivating. When you listen to someone without thinking about what you’re going to say next, you get a much richer understanding of the other person’s perspective, which is the cornerstone of building good communication and trust. You should also want your team to listen well, and the best way to show them how to do this is to do it yourself.

9. Good Communication

Good communication is an essential quality for leaders to adopt. Communication affects work ethic because people need to have communication about their deadlines, details of the task, and the goal of the task. This helps an employee carry out a task to the best of their ability. Communication also affects your leadership towards your team. You want to be a good leader by communicating with your team about new projects, new clients, and other relevant business updates. Lastly, communication is great for building relationships. Communication is like the thread in the relationship – if there is no communication, the relationship can easily fall apart. Communication is the number one stronghold in any business and should be adopted by everyone, especially leaders.

10. Rest

Too many entrepreneurs prize overwork, and it simply leads to ineffectiveness. Without recharging, people can’t make good decisions, and the quality of their work will suffer. Leaders must show their teams that rest is important and lead by example: take a holiday, don’t be checking or responding to email 24/7, prioritise downtime for professional developments, etc. As employees see rest modelled by their leaders, they will produce better work for the company – and you’ll improve your retention rate in the process. 

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#Young Entrepreneur Council members who contributed: Stephanie Wells, Adam Mendler, Aaron Michel, John Hall, and Keith Shields, Samuel Thimothy, Diego Orjuela, Kelly Richardson, Matt Diggity and Amine Rahal.

This post is from the article posted on Forbes.Com https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/07/30/10-leadership-habits-that-will-set-a-great-example-for-your-employees/#5d98efe1f73a