10 rules successful leaders must follow

What are good leadership qualities? What makes a good leader? Leaders are not born, most good leaders cultivate the art of leadership through practice. Here are the secrets to making a good leader. A what to do and how to do guide, for improving leadership skills.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending talks by some really talented guest speakers, at a symposium that I was invited to. The speakers were greatly experienced in their respective fields - knowledgeable, witty and eloquent and kept the crowd in rapt attention.

I came away a little more learned. Sharing here some of the rules of leadership that I picked up from the talks. These rules must be etched in the handbook on leadership and be part of every discourse on the subject.

They are simple rules, but the key is in their application. If you want to display true leadership qualities then you must put to practice each of these rules in all your interactions. Great leaders are an asset to any organisation, be that leader by mastering these leadership rules.

Clarity of thought and direction

Good leaders know what they want, they display clarity of thought and do not flounder around. They have the foresight to plan ahead. They also know that having foresight is not enough; they must also transfer their ideas and thoughts onto their team members, enabling them to have a clearer vision of the project that they have in mind.

It is easier to work and get results when everyone is on the same page. Therefore, this transmission of thoughts from them to the team must be part of the drill. Failing which the team members will not be able to perform to its best ability.

Optimistic attitude

Leaders are defined by their attitude. A positive attitude is a sign of a great leader. Optimism and positivity are key here because team members look up to their managers for guidance, support and encouragement etc. A positive attitude rubs off on them and it reflects in how they cope with the pressures that the job brings.

Leaders who constantly voice their concerns and problems in front of the team set a bad example. Your job as a leader is to pump in positivity into the team, show that 'we can get this done attitude' if you want results. Showing concerns is paving the path for failure. The team gives up even before it begins. Learn to believe in the capabilities of your team and the power they bring to the table, as a whole.

Create practical plans

There are two lessons to be learnt here. Nothing is impossible is a good maxim to believe in, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons and the feasibility of the task. The plan should be workable and shouldn't be something that needs all your resources.

The second lesson about a workable plan is that it should not be cast in stone. Plans should be flexible and easily amendable when the situation demands. It creates a better work environment. Be open to ideas and suggestions and accept and introduce changes as you proceed. The aim should be to complete the task at hand, whether you use plan A or shift midway to plan B.

Start with the right resources

Your job is to get things done, you stand on the sidelines and provide guidelines – what to do, how to do when to do etc. The team and you must be equipped with the right resources to get the job done.

Equip your team with what they need and see them wield magic with the resources. You can't cook a meal without the ingredients right, similarly, a team needs access to every possible data, infrastructure etc., for it to succeed.

Listening is more important than being heard

This is true in every situation; you learn more by paying attention to what others have to say. What you have to say can wait, but what others have to say can give you more ideas to get your plan going.

Leadership is not about lecturing others, issuing orders and seeing that the job gets done. There is more to leadership than that. Listen to what your team has to say, even a small voice can have a big impact because of the message it carries. Suggestions should be welcome from all corners and implemented if found worthy.

Meetings always need agendas

Plan an agenda before calling the team members for a meeting. Inform them what is going to be discussed, so they can come prepared with relevant data and questions.

Meetings without agendas are like headless chickens running helter-skelter. No one knows what's happening and the discussion goes on for hours without constructive results. Everyone's time is precious, value that time and conduct the meeting in an orderly manner. Have an agenda and adhere to it as it provides direction that everyone is seeking and helps increase productivity.

Topics that do not need everyone's presence can be discussed separately, with the people concerned.

No public humiliation

You may have a bunch of nincompoops and lazy characters in your team who create inexcusable blunders or shirk responsibilities, but that is not reason enough to humiliate or criticise them in front of their colleagues. Public shaming is the same as bullying and there is nothing good about it. Criticism in public creates hurt and resentment.

Reprimand them in private, when no one is watching. Though reprimand is too stringent a term, a talk should be more like it. Talk about responsibilities and expectations and commitment etc. Throw the burden on them and let them see they are doing wrong.

Lead by example

Good leaders do all the right things, and others emulate their actions. Be on time, whether it is for a meeting or to work. Be responsible instead of blaming others. Don't expect team members to do things that you would not do yourself. Take responsibility when you go wrong.

Create an environment where others feel comfortable working in. Do your job diligently and others will follow. A true leader will straighten their chair or clear their mess before they leave a room.

Give freedom

A good leader allows the team members the freedom to work and take critical job-related decisions. Allow the people working with you to make decisions rather than you having a say in every final decision – major or minor. If team members have to come to you for your concurrence for every little thing that will create a holdup as well as not give them the confidence required to do a job.

What you can do is delegate jobs, discuss what needs to be done, get inputs from the employees, provide feedback and allow them to carry on with the job. Do not ask for minute-by-minute updates of how the job is progressing.

Don't hog the limelight

Don't be a leader who takes credit for everything good that happens under their watch. Give credit to those who deserve it – the team, individuals by name. Credit them for all their efforts and dedication. That's what true leaders do. And this one action of yours will make all those working with you your most loyal subordinates.

As a leader, you should be willing to take the blame and the backlash when things don't go as per plan and take no credit when everything works according to the plan. You will be appreciated for your leadership qualities and traits.

What are your leadership rules? How do you lead a team? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Author: Varghese10 Jun 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Most of the points are covered & thanks for sharing some of the points for everyone. I think, a Leader should also be a person who is -
- Open to learning new ways, methods & ideas.
- Easily approachable & easy to mingle.
- Appreciates & is motivating
- Understanding (Others, Situations & Circumstances)
- Caring & humble

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