Leadership is something many strive for but aren’t sure how to achieve. Simply earning the role of supervisor or manager doesn’t make you a good leader. Leadership requires a series of strong traits to effectively deliver results while simultaneously building rapport with your team.
There are many schools of thought on what signifies a great leader, but ultimately it depends on the people you’re working with, the goals you have, and your willingness to improve yourself to improve your cause.
At Sandbox Centre leadership soft skills are something we work on a lot with local businesses in Barrie. Our office supports start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing the skills, connections, and framework necessary to succeed in their chosen fields. A major indicator that a business has what it takes to succeed falls on those chosen to lead. A team is only as strong as its weakest member, but remember, employees are often a reflection of their leaders. A hard-working leader creates hard-working employees.
Here, we’ll look more closely at specific traits modern leaders require to get ahead, and how you can become a better leader at work.
Show a high level of EQ
Emotional intelligence, also called an emotional quotient, or EQ, is the ability to manage one’s emotions in the workplace. Leadership is not a natural role for everyone and learning leadership qualities like EQ take time. Check out the importance of EQ over IQ here. This is due in part to the stressful nature leaders face in business. If you’re unable to manage your team successfully while nervous, upset, or angry, it could reflect poorly on the company.
EQ is not only managing negative emotions well but managing your positive emotions in a business-appropriate manner. Fist pumping the air and yelling, “heck yeah!” in the middle of a business meeting where your team’s stats have improved isn’t always something upper management wants to see. Leaders must be able to maintain a professional but approachable demeanour with employees, customers, and higher levels of leaders.
Your emotional quotient depends on a few underlying factors. These are:
- Self-control – Being able to control yourself and your emotions in high-energy situations.
- Self-awareness – Knowing yourself and your limits so you’re able to step out or take a breath when energies get high.
- Empathy – Putting yourself in the shoes of another, so you better understand the situation and where that person is coming from before reacting.
- Interpersonal skills – Knowing how to read people and communicate accordingly.
- Communication – Using appropriate language and communicating effectively in any given situation.
When you have a high level of EQ it means you’ve mastered the above traits and can keep your cool, level with your employees, take criticism, react appropriately in tough situations, and become a great leader.
Invest in your professional development
Pro Dev time is often assigned to employees requiring extra training or looking to move up the corporate ladder. Sometimes leaders forget that professional development is important for you too. Learning new leadership skills and improving the skill set you’ve already obtained is crucial to being successful in a management role.
The world of business is constantly changing. From the technology we use to the countries we trade with. Actively updating your technology skills and staying on top of changes within the company will allow you to continue effectively managing your team.
The ability and willingness to learn new skills is a leadership trait that benefits you, your organization, and your employees. Not only do you sharpen your skillset, but you earn a greater level of understanding about the inner workings of your company, and you gain self-esteem knowing you’re at the top of your game.
Professional development comes in all different shapes and sizes. Some examples of professional development at the leadership level are:
- Corporate retreats
- Information sessions
- College courses
- Peer to peer mentoring
- Team building exercises
- Problem-solving activities
- Job shadowing
- Join advisory board
It’s a mistake to assume that as a leader there’s little left to learn. The role itself is constantly evolving. A great example of change requiring new training and professional development is technology. The tech sector never stops developing and being open to evolving with it will save you trouble later. Attending information sessions, researching, and implementing new technology training for yourself and your team.
Act and dress like a leader
One of the great tricks of the business world is acting and dressing for the job you want to have rather than the job you have now. Considering things like time management, maintaining a positive attitude and showing off emotional intelligence all come to the forefront of the mind when developing an effective leadership persona.
This concept has an underlying psychology element to it, but it works. Wearing clothing which would help you fit in with the management team above yours, taking on professional development which would put you in a place where you could take on the responsibility of upper management, and acting with great decorum to inspire your team for long term success all elevate your position as a great leader.
One of the massive requirements of good leaders is communication skills. Being a good communicator allows you to begin building trust with team members, consumers, peers, other networks and organizations and upper management.
Look for opportunities to improve processes which would better your organization
Innovation makes a huge impact on the success of a company and keeps it moving forward in a positive way. The concept of innovation sometimes falls under scrutiny as a risk, but the true risk is avoiding it altogether. There’s always a slight risk when investing in new ideas, but never evolving poses a greater risk of falling behind the competition and starving your business of new opportunities for success.
As we’ve learned above, change is inevitable in life and in business. Taking the initiative to innovate puts you in the driver seat and creates possibilities for new roles, technology and business practices. There’s always something worth updating at a business level, whether it’s soft skills, employee policies, or the tools and equipment you use on-site.
When an employed individual begins innovating within a company, they earn the name Intrapreneur. As the title suggests, this is somebody who while employed, takes on the characteristics of an entrepreneur to move forward with new ideas and expand on old ones. Some benefits of Intrapreneurship include:
- Helping your organizations stay on top of the latest updates in technology
- Being the first to understand new concepts so you stand out as a leader
- Creates a sustainable environment for future business to be conducted both locally and globally
- The stability of having an intact job while reaching for future goals
- Having some say in the day to day improvements of the company
- Everybody wins (You and your organization)
Many modern businesses are embracing the intrapreneur role. In fact, some even host information and development programs to encourage innovation and create company leaders who target this type of change.
In a sense an intrapreneur is an entrepreneur, simply one who isn’t starting a new company, but starting a new way of thinking at an established one.
- Some of the ways to focus your creative mental strength is by:
- Looking for ways to become more socially and environmentally conscious
- Developing new employee protocols to hurry production
- Creating and implementing new methods of training employees for superior performance
- Researching and testing new technology that could improve production
However you choose to increase positive change for your business, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are plenty of external learning opportunities and organizations which focus on internal innovation. Depending on your ideals and methods, you may even find an entirely new group of networking associates to bounce ideas off of and partner for inter-organizational projects.
Visit sandbox centre to learn more important leadership qualities
Sandbox Centre is an Ontario-based business support company located in Barrie. We work with a multitude of local entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses in the area to develop a lasting framework for success.
We know to start a company from the ground up is tough and half the battle is finding the support to get moving. Clients may take advantage of services meant to improve business or get businesses off the ground.
It’s important to us as a local company to continue supporting other businesses in Central Ontario to boost the economy, employment, and positivity meter. If you’re interested in learning more about leadership roles and what they entail, join one of our CNNX Groups. Come visit us at 24 Maple Avenue on the 2nd Floor in Barrie; and for more information www.sandboxcentre.com 705.503.6600 [email protected] and join the Sandbox community on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.