Leadership isn’t easy. You might have a leadership position in an organization, but that doesn’t mean your employees will do what you say. Too often they agree to your face, but then ignore your instructions when you aren’t around. From sales policies to safety protocols, leading can be challenging. This is why you should use these five proven steps to maximize leadership success. These steps can help you achieve day-to-day goals as well as build the kind of organizational climate that fits your vision.
What Is Leadership?
Leadership is not about the position that you are in, but it is about your ability to influence followers. Leaders are able to create a vision of what needs to be done and convince followers to accept that vision. Effective leaders influence what followers do and what they avoid doing. In a work setting leaders are able to create visions of what needs to be done to achieve organizational goals. The best leaders can create visions that link the goals of organizations and people, and support their employees to reach those goals. Beyond achieving goals, good leadership can build the sorts of organizational climates that support your vision.
Five Proven Steps to Maximize Leadership Success
Leadership success is about influencing people, and the best way to do so is to follow these five steps.
- Correcting: Good leaders pay attention to what their employees are doing, and take corrective action when necessary. Corrective action provides feedback about what is being done incorrectly. It is best approached as a sequence of actions that fits the idea of progressive discipline. On the first offense, such as failure to wear necessary protective gear, the employee is given the benefit of the doubt and is given a reminder. Subsequent offenses are given increasingly harsh corrective actions, which can eventually result in dismissal if the employee continues to ignore important instructions.
- Messaging. Much of what a leader does is talk about the vision of how and what needs to be done. This means talking to employees, formally at meetings and informally one-on-one, about what is important. For a sales organization this might mean talking about the importance of customer service and how to best go about achieving it.
- Modeling. The most effective leaders lead by example. They not only talk about what needs to be done, they do it themselves. Modeling can be an effective means of reinforcing the importance of the messages that are provided. After all, why would you expect employees to take something seriously if their supervisor appears not to.
- Rewarding. Feedback should not just occur when someone does something wrong. Positive feedback is necessary to encourage employees to continue doing what they are doing. Praise for doing the right thing can be a powerful motivator that helps maintain good performance over time. It goes hand in hand with correcting so employees know that they will get negative feedback when they do the wrong thing, and positive feedback when they do the right thing.
- Teaching. It is important that leaders do more than just provide visions. They need to instruct employees in the best ways to achieve that vision. That is why effective leaders are also teachers who take the time to develop their employees by helping them enhance their knowledge and skill as needed to achieve their goals.
Adopting these five steps when dealing with employees will increase the extent to which they will commit to achieving your vision.