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Improve Your Leadership Skills: Three Moves

August 22nd, 2014

Regardless of their specific industry and specific goals, most successful leaders have a few core traits in common: 1.) They WANT to be successful leaders. They’re interested in bringing victory to their teams and organizations, not just grabbing at power for its own sake. 2.) They have high levels of social intelligence; in other words, they know how to shift their focus outward and assess the needs, fears and desires of other people. And 3.) they know how to share a vision that others can invest in and rally behind.

If you’re looking for new ways to inspire your teams, drive them forward, and earn their respect, try these three moves.

1. Keep your Ears Open.

Effective leaders don’t use one-way communication channels. They keep both ends of the line open and they listen twice as often as they dictate. Open your door, your ears, and your mind, and be ready to respond when employees ask for resources, information, and training that can help them do their jobs. You’ll also need to stay receptive to criticism and feedback on your own performance. And just listening won’t do the trick; you’ll need to actually respond and change your ways if you want to keep your teams behind you.

2. Words are Powerful…And Actions Are Even More So

Don’t neglect or underestimate the power of words. A well-crafted message designed with a specific audience in mind can move mountains and change the world. But in order to give your message real impact and your leadership real sustainability, you’ll need to follow through. If you want others to follow your orders, follow those orders first. Set an example in everything you do, and keep your promises, both stated and implied.

3. Don’t Mistake “Busy” for “Hard Working”

Take a close look at the most effective and respected people in your workplace at every position in the hierarchy. Are these people haggard, stressed, and stretched to the limits of their energy and attention? Nope. No matter how “busy” they may be behind the scenes, they don’t let their busyness become part of their demeanor or their personal brand. They always seem content, fully engaged and fully present no matter where they are or who they’re with. Those who seem distracted, restless, annoyed with their present company and wishing to be elsewhere are not granted the same respect.

For more on how to build loyalty and give your teams a sense of direction and purpose, contact the leadership and business management experts at Merritt.

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