Just because a person is a boss and people follow does not mean that person is seen as a leader. A boss has the authority by virtue of the position. However, the leader has the real power which is granted by those led. Perhaps you have noticed people in your company who exercise influence over others although they are not managers. People have given them the power through respect of their opinions and advice. A boss has the authority but a leader has the power. The goal is for a boss and leader to be the same person.
The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. People are not born leaders. Leadership is developed and there is not one set of leadership traits. In fact there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits.
The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not have to possess the traits and style of George S. Patten to be an effective commander. People with totally different traits such as Colon Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf were equally effective leaders.
A great leader understands what motivates people. If you wish to lead your team in your company, your agency or your office you should understand that as well. It is important to understand that today’s workforce does not react the same as Patton’s troops did. Fear and incentive motivation does work but it does not have lasting results. Today’s leadership is positive. So in order to be a great leader you must understand the motivation of your people as well as what motivates you. Keep these points in mind:
1. Clearly explain your vision, your goals and objectives as well as those of your organization. A clear vision lets people know what to do.
2. Convey a positive attitude. In order to empower your people to achieve results you must begin by developing positive attitudes toward yourself and your abilities.
3. Be confident in your ability. Others on the team may have self-doubts but your ability to lead is connected to your confidence level. Your confidence will help others overcome their self-doubts and replace those doubts with positive beliefs.
4. Be a good listener. Good communication is essential for building trust and understanding. In order to understand other people the leader must listen much more than he or she talks.
5. Lead by example. If you tell your people that they must set goals, manage their time, and measure success you need to be doing that and it must be visible to your team.
6. Give meaningful feedback. People are most productive and have the best attitudes when they receive a balance for both positive and negative feedback. Remember to catch people doing things right as well as when things are wrong.
Remember that leadership is not given it is granted. You can call yourself the boss, the owner, or you can be promoted to manager. But the team will work best with you when they see you as the leader.
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