How to Become the Leader Your Employees Need

Nov 15, 2018 7:53 AM by David Hamilton

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Without positive, self-aware, life-giving leaders, organizations and employees fail to flourish. Effective leaders create healthier, more productive employees, reducing burnout, anxiety, sick leave, and stress. And with 52.3% of employees reporting job dissatisfaction, we have some work to do. But how do you become the kind of leader that your employees need?

Develop the following characteristics to become the healthy leader your employees need—in and out of the workplace.

1. Self-assurance

At some point, you and your company will fail—it’s inevitable for growth. Avoid leading with fear or allowing failure to motivate your leadership. Strive to create a company culture in which failure is seen as a part of the creative process, modeling this mantra through your own sense of self-assurance. It’s tempting to think that success is a result of talent, hard work, or discipline, but studies show luck has as much, if not more, to do with meteoric rise than talent. Don’t look to your triumphs for confidence; instead, practice internal confidence that will persist regardless of your circumstances.

2. Humble Communication

“A crucial, but often overlooked, function of leadership is creating a culture in which effective communication can flourish.” (Greg Satell, Forbes)

In today’s workplace, passive-aggressive behavior thrives. Don’t fall prey to workplace gossip or the barrage of negative emotional expression. Instead, communicate expectations clearly and disappointments honestly. Never let the purpose of your communication be to vindicate yourself or shame another. Instead, when you find yourself frustrated address the issue directly, and allow those on the other side of the issue to explain their position without judgment. Try to be okay with being wrong—inevitably, you will be. Humility is one of the two most vital leadership characteristics in a great company. Practicing a communication style centered around humility creates an environment of input and innovation.

3. Work/Life Harmony

A healthy diet promotes a positive mood and friendliness, while exercise such as yoga actually shrinks the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes stress and anxiety. If we don’t allow ourselves time out of the office to take care of our bodies, we do our employees a disservice as we aren’t mentally or socially capable of leading an effective workplace. As Jim Rohn famously said, you’re the average of the people you spend the most time with. Build a circle of influencers that encourage you in positive interactions and forward-thinking behaviors. Find a leadership mentor that you admire and deliberately spend time getting to know them, organically developing qualities you aspire to possess.

4. Continual Learning

Finally, invest in continual personal growth. Deliberately setting aside an hour a day to learn—to read, research, or simply think—keeps successful people such as Oprah, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk at the top in their field. Refuse to grow content with stagnation. Your employees need to be challenged to stay satisfied, and your organization needs continual innovation to stay relevant. Make time for new ideas and to improve yourself.

“The idea of deliberate practice is often confused with just working hard. Also, most professionals focus on productivity and efficiency, not on improvement...We need to move beyond the cliché, ‘Lifelong learning is good,’ and think more deeply about the minimum amount of learning the average person should do per day to have a sustainable and successful career.” (Michael Simmons, Inc.com)

Bad bosses become a party anecdote. Instead, become the kind of leader that your employees will remember—one that builds bridges, encourages creativity, and creates a positive workplace environment.

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