How to be a great leader

Leadership skills are not quite the same as management skills. While leadership relies a lot on trust, management is mainly about coordinating and controlling the processes and people that form an organization. 

To be a true leader, you must be able to build a solid relationship of trust between you and your employees. Building a high level of trust is crucial in order to create an effective, motivated and positive work environment. 

Usually people think trust is about honesty and integrity. That’s true for some parts but in the workplace trust is even more connected to building a strong personal connection that represents a consistent and compatible working style following the company’s vision.

One of the first steps in developing this trust is identifying the current baseline of your leadership skills. This is a very important starting point for your efforts in order to develop the skills required to increase the level of trust between you and your people.

7 helpful questions to ask your people:

  1. Am I actively asking for your feedback?

  2. Am I authentic to you?

  3. Are people following me?

  4. Do I actively listen to what you tell me?

  5. Do I communicate in an appropriate manner?

  6. Am I making decisions based on our company’s vision?

  7. Am I leaving a legacy?

When asking these questions, make sure to not only ask for quantitative feedback, but also for more qualitative comments to help provide a better understanding of the answers given. After receiving and analyzing your first results, you can repeat this survey on a monthly basis to keep track of your development as a leader. Reflecting on the results will help you identify your key strengths and weaknesses that can then be transferred into a clear and strategic development plan. 

What makes these behaviors so important for great leaders?

  1. A simple rule in building trust is to ask for feedback. Once you have received feedback, accept it and utilize it to create clear and operative plans for improvement. Doing this will not only benefit your development as a leader, but will show respect and value for the opinion of the person giving you feedback. Adapting a continuous feedback system will increase trust as it becomes more and more of a routine process. 

  2. Being authentic means sticking to your values and beliefs as a individual and as a leader for your organization. Take a moment to reflect about what your values are and how you can communicate them through your relationships with your colleagues, in situations of conflict as well as your personal relations. Sharing personal stories of success and failure as a leader can help create strong personal ties between you and your people. 

  3. Often, being a leader means having people follow you. This places you at a higher capacity of influence over the motivation of your people. A manager with a strong sense of open communication and transparency is more likely to be looked up to than one who is ambiguous and difficult to communicate with. Scheduling regular 1-on-1s with your employees is one way to achieve this transparency. This is an opportunity to actively listen to concerns, comments and anything else that is getting in the way of a trusting relationship between you and your colleague.

  4. One of your challenges as a leader is to have a fine sense of what is going on within your team. Understanding how people feel about their job, their colleagues and the company culture requires a habit of active listening. Asking some very basic questions such, “Are you happy working here?” or “What are we not doing that we should be doing?” directly translates into an open expression of thoughts that you as a leader must capture, express value in, and act upon. However, remember to be practical and be careful not to promise solutions to issues that may require more time and effort in order to be resolved.

  5. Communication is often one of the most common areas of concern for many organizations. Ensure that you keep an open door not only for fun and personal chats, but also professional, directional talks. Allow for a relaxed form of communication that permits a fun work environment where people can be themselves. In the case of arising conflict, address the issue in a timely and effective manner, before the elephant in the room grows bigger. 

  6. Everything you do and communicate on a professional level should be aligned with your company's vision. When making changes in policies and processes within the company, it's very important to clearly communicate why certain decisions need to be made and what impact they have on the company's overall success. People need to continuously face the common vision and feel that you fully strive for the company as a whole. 

  7. As a leader, you need to think of your long-term impact on the company. Taking actions that will have a lasting impact on the company instead of short term benefits will create a sense of purpose and belonging for the people within your company. This will create a vision of the future of the company that keeps your people in mind, as well as a legacy for you that will be looked up to as an example of great leadership. 

  8. If you build a strong personal relationship with your team, follow your vision consistently and keep the level of open communication high through real-time feedback, you have good chances that your people will follow you along the path as they feel that you have a purpose and care.

Access your leadership skills with Impraise and learn from your co-workers how you are doing and how you can improve. Impraise makes it then really easy to request feedback and keep track of your improvements.


For more insights on how you can use feedback to motivate engage and develop your team download our free eBook