Leaders today are faced with a business environment that is complex, dynamic, and fast-changing. To keep their organizations on an even keel, every manager has two key roles to fulfill, no matter what kind of business it is, or in what industry, or how large or how small.
The first role is to make things happen through the traditional duties every manager is responsible for: planning, organizing, and controlling. The second role of managers, however, is where the rubber really meets the road -- they must also be effective leaders.
In order to be a great leader, you must master the "art of leadership." If that's your goal (and I suggest it should be), here are four habits that will help you become a truly great leader.
1. Communicate with your team -- openly, freely, and often.
Communication is an essential element for leadership success. Your people depend on you to express yourself clearly, openly, and freely, and you depend on them to do the same in return. We have almost an unlimited variety of ways to communicate with our people today, but it's up to you to determine which works best for your particular organization. Whether that means in-person meetings, telephone calls, email or text messages, videoconferencing, or collaboration platforms such as Slack, decide what works best and then use it consistently.
2. Energize your team -- get them excited.
Great leaders inspire their people to go above and beyond to achieve their goals and the goals of the organization. Inspire and energize your employees by setting a highly visible example of what a great employee does and how a great employee acts. Give your people assignments that get them excited and provide them with the resources (financial, training, etc.) they need to succeed.
3. Support your team -- have their backs.
Even the best teams need the ongoing support of the leader who is in charge of them -- not just to provide resources and other support, but to back them up when they hit a challenge or roadblock. Provide your people with the benefit of your experience and provide them with air cover when others in the organization threaten their mission.
4. Empower your team -- encourage them to be leaders.
One way to measure your effectiveness as a leader is the amount of work your people are able to do, and decisions they are able to make, without your direct involvement. Great leaders delegate as much responsibility and authority as they can, and they monitor their progress toward achieving the organization's goals. They tell their people what needs to be done, and then they let their people figure out how to do it.