A Beginners Guide To Leadership Development : 10 Things You Need To Know

What comes to your mind if we were to ask you about the philosophy of leadership?

  • Having a vision and then taking everyone along to realize it?
  • Always looking out for others before oneself?
  • Motivation and inspiration for others?

While we can all agree that these can be the most prominent leadership elements, there’s much more that revolves around the leadership philosophy. Let’s take the example of the timeless leader – Martin Luther King Jr., who changed the face of American culture forever.

The political pioneer of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Dr. King’s leadership serves as an inspiration to millions around the gl;one. His unshakeable faith towards his cause serves as a lighthouse, even today. His iconic speech, “I Have A Dream” shall continue to inspire generations ahea. His dreams were bigger than the time in which he lived. He held on to his vision even when his life was in threat.

That’s the primary characteristic of every leader – a strong vision and the will to realize it.

How about bringing a similar dedication and commitment to your corporate culture and business ethics?

While leaders can come from anywhere, they often show similar strengths and attitudes towards adversities. You too can learn their strategies, ideas, and values to make a greater impact in your field especially when you are just stepping into a leadership role.

Here are a few things about leadership development that new leaders must know and focus on to tackle the leadership challenges and ensure long-term success:

1. Maintain open communication

To build a connection of trust with the team, a new leader must encourage and enable open communication. But to ensure that it happens especially when an individual is starting out in their leadership role is a major leadership challenge.

Without communication, there’s a lack of trust, and it becomes much harder to lead the team.

Regular involvement in leadership development activities can help to establish trust quickly. It will also hep everyone establish a collective goals and strategies. This will, in turn, encourage effective collaboration. A clarity of purpose can help provide your team with something meaningful to work toward. It also helps minimise confusion and conflicts.

2. Learn to delegate efficiently

If you are a high-performing employee who has recently transitioned into a leadership position, you have to learn the art of delegation. Your day in this new role will look different than it did earlier. But you have to learn to take your share of the work and delegate the rest to other members, efficiently.

Food for Thought

– Your past high performance probably had a lot to do with an effective working strategy. You can now share the same with your team and trust them to deliver the work on time, without compromising the quality. Learning the art of delegating and leading people to get it done is an essential leadership skill.

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3. Grant creative autonomy

Micromanagement isn’t good for building trust and overall productivity. Although a certain stress level might be inevitable at work, it could amplify due to micromanagement. To avoid that, as a leader, you must communicate clear expectations and set achievable goals from the beginning. Following which, it is important to allow employees the freedom to make individual decisions and leverage their unique working styles to get things done.

As a leader, you must also provide your team with proper support and tools. An open dialogue with your team, at regular intervals, will also enable effective trust building.

4. Prioritise effective mentorship

Good leaders are good mentors as well. Team members always look up to their leaders for counseling and guidance. So, effective mentorship is indispensable for you, as their leader.

Prioritise effective interactions with every single member, and often. This will help you understand them better. You can also help them align their individual goals with their roles and responsibility within the organisation. This will, in turn, create a holistic environment for them to grow, alongside the organisation.

A well-designed leadership development program can help you unleash your full potential as a mentor. It will give you the chance to can offer valuable learning experiences to the entire team. This, in turn, will enable a positive influence on your employees and boost their confidence, and overall productivity.

5. Flat organisation structures are better

As a leader, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. Recently, more and more organisations are realising the importance of adopting flatter structures. This is because, a lack of absolute hierarchy enables a collaborative and cross-functional team dynamic.

Flatter organizational structures tend to improve communication between team members. This in turn, helps increase employee morale, and boosts their adapting capabilities. Lack of bureaucracy reduces the need for micromanagement, thereby improving job satisfaction among the team members.

6. Active listening

One of the most important leadership traits to acquire is active listening. For facilitating a culture of open communication within a team, you have to actively listen to what people have to say. You have to be attentive to the team’s insights and open to receiving both positive and negative information.

A team led by a leader who is always willing to listen, runs on trust. This encourages people to open up and share their ideas, effectively leading to improved productivity.

7. Offer constructive feedback

As a new leader, you have to ensure that you offer constructive feedback. It should focus on their improvement instead of highlighting their faults. As the leader, it’s your job to ensure that your team understands the intent of the feedback being given.

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If people are doing something well, you need to acknowledge and celebrate that. This way, when you offer feedback, they are receptive and they work on improving themselves.

8. Build diverse teams

Most highly successful teams comprise of a diverse and unique set of individuals. Although leaders usually like to hire people with a similar personality, eclectic teams with a broad range of skill sets better serves the business. Therefore, when building a team, you need to objectively look at individuals and hire them to create a well-rounded team. You have to see whether the individual you are hiring for the team is a good fit for the work culture, while also being a high performer.

9. Lead by example

Leadership is the foundation on which the culture of an organisation is formed. So, you have to embody the leadership traits within yourself first and then pass them down across the team. This will encourage your team to work and communicate with each other effectively.

10. Focus on employee satisfaction

Employees are the biggest asset of any organisation, and every leader must understand this. One of the toughest leadership challenges that organisations and new leaders face is keeping employee satisfaction levels high.

When every employee thinks like a leader, they deliver a higher quality of work. And this feeling of ownership also enables a deep seated sense of satisfaction. Therefore, leaders must come up with new leadership development ideas to enable impactful training.

Also, it is important to let your team know that their work is not taken for granted. You need to make them feel important in their respective roles. You can organise company-wide meetings and fun leadership development activities, to enable effective team engagement. Make sure to take this chance to appreciate people from the team who have gone above and beyond their call of duty, and all those who supported the process.

Conclusion

When newly promoted to a leadership role, it is common to be excited about the new leadership challenges, while feeling nervous about the responsibilities. Effective leadership development training can be paramount in helping new leaders adapt to, and excel at their new roles. Not only will it help prepare them well, but will also help them find their authentic leadership style. As you incorporate various leadership traits in your working style, you will become more engaged and committed to the success of the team. Consequently, you will have a team that is happier, productive and laser focused on the collective vision.

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