What is a Leader and How Do You Become One?

Anyone can get promoted to manager and delegate daily tasks, but does that necessarily equate to being a leader? A leader does far more than manage the daily operations of a team. A leader is someone who listens to employees, values their opinions, and motivates them to succeed. Leaders not only have a huge impact on the team members they manage, but their company as a whole. That’s because they engage with employees and drive them to be more productive for the organization. The following tips and strategies can help anyone become a great leader. 

Engage in open and honest communication

One of the most important elements of leadership is fostering an environment where employees feel they can speak freely and openly. At the same time, leaders are honest, straightforward, and transparent with their employees in return. Fostering open communication and transparency helps to build trust among your team and thus improves overall morale. Furthermore, leaders understand that every employee may have a different communication style so they tailor communication based on the individual. 

Be a motivator

One of the best traits of a leader is their ability to motivate others. Not only is this done through their words, but also by uniting with team members to create goals. This helps team members feel more personally invested and inspired to work toward the company’s vision. Leaders work alongside their employees and empower them to continue growing and developing in order to help reach their goals. 

Show empathy

Empathy is often described as one of the most important leadership skills.  Many managers get promoted based on past performance or industry credentials, but they lack empathy, which is hugely important. Empathy means sharing your common human experiences, tearing down the walls, and showing that you are a person too. Empathetic leaders are caring and understanding of their employees’ needs and they are approachable and well respected. This helps to improve morals and increase productivity. 

Teach instead of giving orders

One of the main differences between a manager and a leader is the fact that leaders do far more than “tell” others what to do. Rather, they teach them by coaching them through guidance and collaboration. Instead of controlling the actions of their subordinates, they encourage them to share their own ideas and take charge of their own tasks. In turn, their employees take greater ownership over their work. 

Communicate realistic and clear expectations

Employees often get frustrated with lack of clear direction. Rather than expecting employees to figure out what to do on their own, leaders provide clear goals to be met, expectations of what happens if those goals are not met, and a roadmap for getting things done. Effective leaders also ensure that their employees have the tools they need to do their job well.