Four Steps to Becoming a Great Leader

Four Steps to Becoming a Great Leader

Truly great teams are few and far between. One thing they share in common: a great leader who isn’t afraid to make the tough decisions and demand more from his or her team members. History has shown us team leaders who consistently turn out success, year after year – just look at college sports teams, for example. Great leaders are hard to come by, but those who lead, often follow similar tips. Read on for four tips on leading a team in an effective, enjoyable manner. 

  1. Understand your team members. Each person on your team has different strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, habits, and preferences. Great leaders are able to bring out the best in their team members, utilizing their strong suits while strengthening their weak spots. As a leader, you need to take the time to understand your group and develop a plan to utilize their special gifts and talents.
  2. Lay everything out. Make sure your team knows exactly what you expect of them. After you have completed step one, you can then let everyone know what their specific role is, within the group itself. Make it known that each person’s role depends on the others: the interconnectedness of the group means that success or failure depends on their ability to work together and help each other out. Team members should understand that, although their task or project may lie outside of their specific job description, what they are doing is important for the company as a whole.
  3. Offer feedback. In his article on successful teams for Forbes, Glenn Lopis asserts that “feedback should be proactive and constant.” Don’t wait for a problem to occur before you offer feedback – although we are naturally inclined to operate this way, you have to train yourself to offer feedback on a regular schedule. You want your team to be continuously improving, not lurching along on the path to success, taking one step forward and two steps back.
  4. Reward your team members. Although people like recognition, they value respect much more. Don’t get stuck in the mindset of “one should not be rewarded for doing their job,” says Lopis. People want to feel like they are doing something, making a difference, and making an impact. Don’t shy away from recognizing your team members when they do something exceptional – it will make them better members of your team and better employees overall. Recognition is not something to avoid, because it makes your workers work harder!

This post was written by a guest contributor for MSU Broad College of Business. Learn about their Executive MBA program here.
Computer keyboard keys labeled LEARN and LEAD