How to Be a Good Leader

Good leaders must be good role models, knowledgeable in their fields, and worthy of respect. There are many ways to lead, whether it's by taking on a leadership role at work, or being the captain of your sports team. Here are some tips to help you excel as a leader in any situation in life.

Leadership in a Business Environment

Be a good role model.

  • To earn respect, it's important to show that you know your stuff. People will respect and listen to you, if they know you are knowledgeable in your field.
  • Discuss your experience. Without showing off, let your employees understand how long you've been in the business and what you have achieved while you were there. Not only will they have a better understanding of why you're sitting in the boss' chair, but they'll be more excited to be a part of your team and will admire you.
  • Act professionally. Though you may be the boss, you should still be cordial to all of your employees. You should also still meet the basic standards of professionalism such as; dressing appropriately, coming to work and meetings on time, and communicating in a professional manner.

Be clear about your rules and expectations.

  • Whether you're the CEO of a company or the manager of a team of four people, it's important to make your expectations "crystal" clear from the beginning.
  • Have a code of conduct or a rule book that you can point to which shows employees how to act.
  • If you're working on a project, your goals and expectations should be clear from the beginning. Then your employees will be more motivated and not confused. It is preferable to have your goals down in written form.
  • Don't change your instructions in the middle of a project. Though some adjustments in the workplace are necessary, it's important to not only be clear about your expectations, but to also be consistent. If you change your mind about what you want halfway through a meeting, your employees may not take you seriously, or they might be frustrated.

Leave room for input.

  • Though it's important to be firm, you should still leave some room for the considerations of others. This way you won't look like a dictator. Also, there's a lot you can learn from your employees, which might help your business thrive.
  • Ask for feedback. It's important to ask for feedback after you've wrapped up a project, set up guidelines during a meeting, or you have thrown a charity event. You can do this without scaring your employees. Simply ask through email, or send an anonymous survey to them.
  • Ask for opinions in a face-to-face situations. At the end of a meeting, you can casually ask if people have any questions or opinions. This will give your employees time to consider what they're working on. You may also pull individual employees aside, or invite them to your office, to discuss the project further. Tell them that their perspective is crucial to your success.

Reward employees for good behavior.

  • To be a good leader, you need to maintain high team morale, and to motivate employees to achieve their goals in a timely manner. Also, make your rewards desirable and fun!
  • Have a monthly team dinner to celebrate a completed goal. This will be, not only delicious, but a fun way to bond with your colleagues and to motivate them to achieve goals in a timely manner.
  • Give individual "shout outs" when necessary. If one of your employees accomplished something incredible, there's no harm in announcing his or her achievements through an email or at a meeting. Though this may make him or her blush, he or she will see that you're paying attention to his or her hard work.
  • Reward your hard workers with prizes. A prize, whether it's the latest technological gadget or just a pair of free movie tickets, can give your employees the incentive they need to work hard, and will make them think you're a cool boss.

Be liked.

  • Though it's important for your workers to respect you most of all, it couldn't hurt for them to think you're a person who is worth spending time with. This will make them more excited to work for you and to have you as their leader! Here are some ways to make sure you are liked:
  • Admit your mistakes. You aren't perfect, and occasionally showing that you could have planned something differently will show that you are only human and will make people respect you more. Of course, you can avoid always admitting that you've made a mistake, because you want to look like you know what the heck you're doing.
  • Share the occasional personal story. You don't have to be best friends with your employees, but talking about your family, or your background, can make them open up to you and see you as a person.
  • Be consistent in your interactions. If you're very friendly during group meetings, but chilly when you pass an employee in the hall, your workers may get mixed signals and may not like you very much. It's important to be cordial at all times--not just during the important ones.
  • At the same time, don't be too chatty or social with your employees. It's healthy to make friends in the workplace, but if all you're doing is chatting everyone up at the watercooler, people may think you're more focused on gaining approval than being a good leader.
  • Avoid romantic relationships in the workplace. This almost always ends badly and can lead you to lose everyone's respect, not to mention your job.