10 Leadership Essentials

By Karyn Rhodes, VP/Director, Complete Payroll Solutions
Simple techniques can transform supervisors and managers into effective leaders. Whether they’re new to the job or experienced employees, it’s critical that they understand how to lead workers to boost productivity, quality, service and morale. Here are 10 things you should teach your staff to build first-class leadership skills.

  1. Know the Difference Between Power and Leadership. When employees take on a leadership role, it’s critical they understand that flexing their power isn’t an effective approach to lifting performance. Instead, explain that leadership is: understanding, not commanding; consulting instead of directing; asking rather than ordering; and influencing, not controlling.
  2. Build Trust. One of the best ways to build credibility with a team is to be a good communicator. So train your leaders how to communicate effectively, transparently, and proactively to get buy-in from staff.
  3. Delegate and Motivate. As a leader, it’s critical to have employees take initiative. Be sure to teach your supervisory staff how to share their vision and inspire people to do the things they want done. Rather than micro-managing, they’ll empower people and take them where they need to go.
  4. Instill Accountability. When a leader keeps commitments, admits their mistakes, and tells the truth – even in difficult situations – they set a positive example for others about the importance of being accountable. When training new leaders, encourage “ownership.”
  5. Reward Performance. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. An effective leader celebrates their team’s successes so teach the importance of giving positive feedback regularly, such as after a big project, and make it specific.
  6. Solicit Feedback. Great leaders understand that good ideas can come from others and seek the input of others. Leadership training should stress the importance of encouraging “team” action in decision making, problem solving, and improvement.
  7. Prepare for Change. A company’s direction can change over time, but as long as leaders maintain consistency in their approach, they’ll be able to help employees through transitions. Remember to also show them how to provide support and assistance if employees need it.
  8. Agree to Disagree. At times, leaders will disagree with people on their team. But it’s how they handle the conflict that’s telling. Teach your leaders that they should share their disagreement respectfully and internally within the team rather than publicly criticizing. And once a course of action is decided, share the importance of showing buy-in.
  9. Contrary to what some people think, leading also means doing. Instead of expecting others to contribute while they sit back, make sure your leadership is actively engaged in the work to demonstrate their commitment to the team’s success.
  10. Many times, morale takes a hit because employees don’t understand their tasks or lack the knowledge to do a job well. Show leadership the importance of simplifying and offering solutions that everyone can understand.