Whether you are an experienced CEO or a first-time manager, your success and overall effectiveness as a leader will hinge on several key traits. Following these proven approaches will only increase the skills of your direct reports, improve the efficiency of your workplace at large, and put you in better shape for potential advancement.
Transparency is a central tenet of effective leadership; it drives nearly every facet of any leadership role — especially as it pertains to internal matters and developmental feedback. Just like with other key leadership traits, there is a right way and a wrong way to be transparent in your position. For example, withholding critical feedback until a quarterly employee review, while technically reflective of transparency in a periodic sense, is generally ineffective, as it bottles up feedback that could create feelings of insecurity and alienation when presented all at once. Therefore, it is best to exercise consistent transparency to keep your reports looped in and aware of both their developmental progress and internal announcements.
At some point, most workplaces undergo a period of change or transition — whether this comes in the form of relocation, accelerated hiring, or internal overhauling. Regardless of the situation at play, a strong leader should be adaptable and flexible. Change (especially change related to personnel shifts) can be daunting for the average worker, so be sure to embody an unflappable and collected demeanor when discussing such matters. A panicked or stressed tone, while potentially more realistic, could exacerbate a worker’s own anxiety or discomfort. You should never deceive your workers by providing them with misinformation or feeding workplace rumors, but also remember that, despite your own feelings toward the scenario, others are depending on you for guidance and stability. Adaptability can be infectious when properly displayed, so equip your direct reports by leading through example.
Many leaders claim to exercise a blend of compassion and authoritarianism, as many are taught to strike a balance between multiple effective leadership styles, but the reality is that many more skimp on the former — sometimes without even realizing it. A strong leader should hold his or her direct reports accountable — keeping their personal development and contribution at the forefront of all internal interactions — but they should also take lengths to ensure these same reports are properly equipped to do a good job, and this includes watching out for their stress levels and other matters that may create an adverse working environment. You want your workers to perform well, but remember that they, like you, are human and prone to bad days. Striking this type of balance is key in gaining employee trust, which, in turn, will make them want to do a better job under your mentorship.