5 Keys to Successful Leadership

by Amy Szymarek

leadership - megaphoneWhile some people jump at the chance to lead a team, a project, an organization … others run away as fast as they can. Why is this? Leading people and projects is more than just a task. It’s about achieving long and short term goals, managing budgets, losing sleep over deadlines, supervising employees, and hitting targets. One of the greatest challenges of leading is managing people’s performance – or lack thereof. Truth be told, the list could go on and on all day.

Successful leaders typically portray behaviors or habits that help them manage all these challenges without losing sight of their goals or their people. If your goal is to become a successful leader, keep these keys in mind:

leadership - keyKnow your end result and pave the way to get there
Yes, strategy is a big part of this equation, but so is building trusting relationships with the people that you need to move your initiative forward. Make sure there is clear direction on roles and responsibilities and build a culture where it’s ok to ask questions, spin ideas and take ownership.

leadership - keyKeep your communications transparent
Whether you are moving a deadline, planning a last minute meeting or managing performance, communicate with your team or counterparts so they remain clear on the direction (or sometimes misdirection). At the drop of a hat, things can change and the worst way to hear about it is through the infamous grapevine. Be clear, fair and informative and trust should build. Barking orders does not make anyone a good leader… or an effective one.

leadership - keyTry to leave surprises out of the equation
You can’t control everything. Deadlines change, performance fails, bad weather happens – and everything in between. So stay on top of anything that can impact you and your team and make sure everyone is well informed. Sometimes responsibilities will change and honest conversations need to be had, but think of the flip side of not addressing these. Dominoes will fall and you will wish you spoke up sooner.

leadership - keyMotivate and develop your team
Accomplishing a task is just that, accomplishing a task. How you motivate others around you to complete that task is where the leadership behaviors make you a good leader, or even better, a great leader. Did you help employees develop new skills along the way to make them higher performing? How you got there is sometimes more defining than the end result.

leadership - keyModel the behaviors (and work ethic) you seek
If you are shouting from the rooftops about deadlines and commitment, it will do you good to be down in the trenches with your team. A committed leader that acts with integrity will set a good example and become a role model for the team.

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