Leadership is as important as any other skill in managing a successful business and promoting a quality environment for employees, managers, partners, and customers. In this article, Ryan Rock of Ankeny, President of Empire AG, LLC, shares tips for business owners and managers who want to become the best leaders they can be.
The people in your organization know when you are paying attention to the things that matter. Genuine respect is shown when a team member knows that a leader is invested in their part of the overall mission and values good work with appropriate praise and recognition.
Don’t fall into predictable routines when offering praise and recognition. People become cynical when an organization develops bland habits and falls into ruts. Getting involved and offering specific acknowledgment of work well done goes a long way in combatting company fatigue and complacency.
Every member of your team should feel like an essential part of the mission and vital to success. This sort of inspiration starts with your attitude toward every individual in your organization, from entry-level to the very top.
Great leaders are always great teachers. You do not have to have graduate degrees or decades of experience to be a teacher–you have to have a strong dedication to being a great student. Teachers learn by having a permanent mindset of learning and sharing the learning experience with others.
Leaders spend time with team members in the actual work processes they go through and share experiences, skills, ethics, and moral values. Coaching in an organizational setting doesn’t mean classroom teaching; it means actual involvement in work tasks and daily challenges. As leaders gain experience, they learn to spot the opportunities to give teaching experiences with a patient and helpful attitude.
No one trait stands out among great leaders than humbly and sincerely accepting responsibility. Leaders who shift blame, or stand for organizational blame-games through a company’s ranks, will find that their team members become jaded and untrusting. On the other hand, your standing grows immensely when you accept and acknowledge a bad or unfortunate decision while showing your team a commitment to learning from the mistake and moving forward from it.
Accepting responsibility isn’t about personal gratification, however. It is essential because of the example it sets for all team members. When people know that mistakes can be handled with grace as learning experiences rather than as scapegoating missions, the organization, and every member gain strength and resilience.
Leaders are usually eager to accept challenges and love competition. Leaders also prefer to exude confidence and strength. These are qualities to be admired and worked towards. However, traditional leadership qualities are often in conflict with one of the most overlooked traits of outstanding leaders — humility.
Influential leaders know when to ask for help, who to ask, and how to ask. When you show trust and confidence in a team member to assist you with a task or a learning project, you develop trust that really can’t be duplicated. Remember to give others the resources they need to provide the help you need and to acknowledge their work after successful collaboration.
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to have a great sense of humor, but you probably already know that. You must understand that team members look to you for social cues on how a work environment should feel. Being yourself means that your signals and impressions will be authentic and meaningful.
Having fun at work should mean finding a daily enthusiasm for the positive return you and every member hopefully receive from a good day of work. Look for positive energy that can be authentically shared, and your company’s concept of fun will become apparent. When you are having a good time at work, the example will not be wasted.
Ryan Rock of Ankeny, Iowa, developed leadership skills through his experience in school and the military. Rock built his work ethic from the ground up in founding, launching, and leading his company, Empire AG, LLC. He surrounds himself with an innovative and ambitious team, and his talented employees meet all of their clients’ needs by creating custom solutions for each individual problem.
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