A lot supervisors and managers have no formal training in leadership.
And to be completely honest, a lot of times it shows.
However, being a decent boss requires no rocket science, brain surgery or sorcery. In fact, all you need to do is develop these 17 little habits.
1. Ask questions
Being a great boss is much like being a great therapist: All you really have to do is ask a ton of questions.
Trust me, even small things like “how are you?”, “what are you working on?”, or “do you need help with anything?” go a long way.
2. Listen to the answers
Right. So you bugged your team with all those questions – now what?
To make sure that your team is not drowning in their endless to-do lists and that everyone is spending their time wisely, you may want to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes all it takes is a minute, but that doesn't mean that you're off the hook with your regular one-to-ones.
3. Communicate openly and often
Here’s a good rule of thumb: there’s no such thing as too much communication.
Sure, there are things that you can’t share with your team – like a new candidate’s salary request or the reason for a team member’s sick leave, but pretty much everything that doesn’t involve privileged information can – and should – be shared.
4. Be humble
Never act like you’re better than everyone else. You’re not.
5. Celebrate success
Whenever one of your team members does something well, tell it straight to her face.
Heck, tell everyone! Nothing drives people quite like positive feedback.
6. Embrace failure (and move on)
Another surprising source of motivation? Constructive criticism.
And I don’t mean that you need to be harsh, but try to be honest and then move on quickly. Let your team know that you’re willing and able to help them get better.
7. Be yourself
If your team is expecting you to be a superhuman, set them straight.
After all, leadership is about human interaction, and you can only achieve that if you’re… well, human.
8. Delegate tasks
I repeat: don’t be a hero.
I’m sure that you’re great at your job and everything but with any luck, so is everyone else in your team. Don’t feel like you have to do all the work just because you rank higher on the organizational ladder.
9. Match your leadership style to your team’s needs
Not all leadership styles are created equal.
But how do you find the best way to manage your team and the individuals in it? By asking each and every one of them.
After all, it’s impossible to match your team’s expectations, unless your understand what those expectations are.
10. Be approachable
Now matter how busy you are, always make time for your team. Let them know that they can come to you with any questions they may have.
And if you really don’t want to be interrupted, set up office hours. It may sound dumb, but it may be the best thing you’ve ever done.
11. Accept that you don’t have all the answers
What if they ask difficult questions that you don’t have the answers to?
Be honest and make a promise to find out. Like I said, your team should understand that you’re only human, and unfortunately for them, humans are imperfect by design.
12. Ask for help
Asking for help is hard. It’s painful, it’s embarrassing and yes, it lets people know that you’re human.
But sometimes people can surprise you. Something that may have taken you 10 hours, may be done in two with an extra pair of hands or eyes.
13. Take calculated risks
Wanna know the biggest risk of all? Not taking any risk.
14. Practice what you preach
If you make a big deal out of being on time, helping out with some of the less-than-inspiring admin tasks, or respecting one another’s quiet working time, make sure to follow your own rules.
Nothing is more annoying than a person who says one thing and does the opposite.
15. Lead by example
Help your team members understand the ambition level that you’re after by frequently demonstrating your own work to them.
Staying accountable to your team makes everyone work harder.
16. Focus on solutions, not problems
While it’s important to understand the problem you’re solving, don’t dwell on it.
What’s done is done, and crying over spilt milk will only spoil the milk. Or something.
17. Pick your battles and know when to fold
Throughout this post I’ve been desperately trying to convince you that you are, indeed, just a person.
Now apply that same compassion to your team members, and remember that you don’t need to win every battle. Sometimes your team will ask for silly things, and sometimes the best thing to do is obey.
Need help with becoming a great leader?
Innoduel can help. But don't just take our word for it.