I know what you’re thinking…another article about how to be a good leader? The short answer is yes…but this time, from someone who has learned (and is still learning) from her own mistakes.
A good leader in any capacity is a servant leader. Your team will support you if you support them. Provide and facilitate a healthy, fun and open work environment in which your team is encouraged to learn and grow, and they will rise to the occasion every time.
Know your team and your company; be invested. If you do not know the ins-and-outs of your team and their responsibilities, then you are simply not capable enough to lead them. Degrees and previous management experience may help, but they do not make up for what you don’t know about the people you lead every day.
There is a precise way to be firm and provide constructive criticism and feedback when needed, without being demanding, demeaning and disrespectful. Learn this art and master it. If people cringe when you walk into the room, or breathe a sigh of relief when you leave, chances are, you’re doing something wrong. That isn’t the moment to become defensive or avoid a character flaw, but rather, challenge yourself to improve daily.
Finally, deeply understand that every single employee will learn differently. It is not your job to have an “I am the way I am” mentality. As a servant leader, it is your job to have a “What can I personally do/change?” mentality. Observe, learn and adapt to the needs of people around you, and manage each one in a way that they will respond positively to, even in a negative situation.
I watched one of the best leaders I know openly converse with and earn the respect of hundreds of employees, effortlessly. He commanded respect when he walked into a room, yet he was never demanding. There was an unspoken desire to get every task done quickly and make sure it was your best work ever, simply because of his encouragement, not because you felt pressured or threatened. When he provided feedback, there was never a condescending or demeaning tone and you never left feeling “less than”. He adapted and learned the strengths and weaknesses of the people around him.
Today, I strive to be that and more, every day, and we all should. Corporate America is often known for encouraging employees to “leave personal issues at the door”, but we would be completely remiss to think that our team is not made up of real human beings who want to be appreciated and treated with kindness and respect. There are already thousands of articles that provide tips and suggestions on how to be an effective leader; let’s use just one more to not only learn about being a great leader, but about being a better human being as well.
Azurdee Ramasar is the Assistant Vice President, Portfolio Manager for ENGS Commercial Capital, a division of ENGS Commercial Finance. Azurdee has over a decade of experience working directly with business owners to help leverage their cash flow and working capital needs in the accounts receivable financing, inventory financing and asset based lending space. Azurdee can be reached at 205-690-2205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.