Every workplace, no matter the size, can benefit from having a solid foundation of leadership. A strong leader can make a large difference in how a company operates and how the members of a team work together toward the same goal. With strong leadership, a workforce can expect employees to be happy and fulfilled by their work, and for there to be a level of trust among coworkers. In this article, we discuss what strong leadership is, its benefits, the qualities of strong leadership and how you can become a stronger leader.
What is strong leadership?
Strong leadership is when you can encourage, motivate, inspire and challenge your team to produce their best work. Strong leadership connects a team together through a common purpose and builds relationships in the workplace that allow for effective communication, more creativity and better problem-solving skills.
Read more: How To Become a Successful Team Leader
Benefits of strong leadership
How leadership operates is one of the most important parts of any business. Here are just some benefits of having strong leadership in the workplace:
Under strong leadership, employees are more likely to take pride in their work because they realize how important their role is and want to be a valuable member of the team. They may even produce work with fewer errors. Employees take on the opportunity to help their teammates to meet a due date or fine-tune a project for a client.
More trust and confidence among employees
Strong leaders help to develop a workplace culture where employees can rely on each other and trust that everyone is performing their job as they should. Employees trust each other, can approach each other for support and have confidence that everyone in the group is working toward the same goal. Employees also have the confidence that their leader will be there for them should they have any issues or need help to complete a task.
Ability to thrive through adversity
In any workplace, it's normal to experience unexpected, stressful or confusing situations that can include anything from an upset customer to the company going through a merger. However, with strong leadership in place, the team has the resources to pivot, accounting for any changes and coming up with viable solutions. Because strong leaders communicate company news, it may be easier for employees to understand the direction a company is going and how they play a part in its success.
Because a strong leader forms a team where everyone is celebrated for their skills and occupies appropriate roles for their experience levels and what they enjoy doing, a company can thrive. A strong leader has a vision and works with their team to see it come to fruition. They'll be better able to attract top talent and build processes that support the company mission and goals, both of which help grow the organization.
A strong leader inspires their employees individually and as a group. This leads to increased morale, lower employee turnover and a positive workplace culture. Employees will be happy going to work and take pride in what they do.
Qualities and characteristics of strong leadership
There are certain characteristics of strong leadership. Here is what you can expect from strong leaders:
- Self-awareness: Strong leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. They don't hesitate to admit if they don't have the answers or don't have the experience with something. They also rely on members of their team and their complementary skills. Strong leaders are humble and happy to learn from those around them.
- Vision: They can see ahead to what they can do to grow the company and their team, and work on doing just that by supporting and encouraging those they work with. Strong leaders look toward the long-term future rather than only come up with short-term solutions.
- Perspective: A strong leader appreciates the differences among employees. They understand that everyone has certain skills, and they develop ways for teammates to work together for maximum productivity. They appreciate different viewpoints, encourage their team to share their opinions and actively seek creative solutions.
- Support: You'll find that strong leadership also means that every member of a team feels supported. This is because strong leaders authentically engage their team, learn what motivates them and develops a culture where open communication is encouraged.
- Coaching: Strong leaders want to develop strong teams and they realize that the way to do this is by continuing to invest in their team and each member that's a part of it. You can find strong leaders coaching their employees by providing constructive feedback and providing training opportunities that allow their staff to grow their knowledge and skills.
- Results: Even though strong leaders are people-oriented, they are also results-oriented. They work hard to blend the two so that their team is cohesive and wants to see results, too. Strong leaders develop clear guidelines and goals and work alongside their team toward a common purpose.
- Passion: Strong leaders really want to see their teams and organizations succeed. They are more likely to connect a company's goals with everyday tasks and show their team the bigger picture. They believe in the company and inspire those around them.
- Accountability: A strong leader holds themselves, each team member and the team as a collective accountable for their actions. This inspires employees to do the same, resulting in higher-quality work. To hold the team accountable, strong leaders understand that they must equip their team with the tools to do their job effectively and efficiently.
How to become a stronger leader
If you want to realize all the benefits of strong leadership, it's important to learn how to become a strong leader. Here are just some items to consider if you want to grow in your leadership role:
Get to know your team
If you want to become a stronger leader, it's important to get to know the people who you'll be leading. The process of getting to know them may involve planning outings with team-building activities that emphasize working together, or you may want to schedule one-on-one time to chat with each member of the team. Some leaders select many ways to connect with members of their team. No matter which path you choose, explore how you can learn more about everyone who works alongside you.
Consider asking them about their goals, aspirations at work, their needs and their wants. Show that you're committed to helping them achieve everything they're hoping for. Through having these meetings, you'll come to understand what motivates each person and you'll be better able to lead them as a result.
Admit to mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes, including leaders. Employees want to see that their leader isn't afraid to admit that they have made an error. If you've messed up a report or made a poor decision about the direction to take a project, think about addressing it with the team so they can see that, despite holding yourself to a high standard, you are also subject to human error. This shows your employees that you know mistakes happen and if they have one, you'll be by their side to correct it with them.
Read more: Steps To Take After Making Mistakes at Work
Honesty is one of the qualities that employees value the most in their leader. Once someone on your team feels that you're honest, deeming you trustworthy is soon to follow. It's important for your employees to know that you operate with integrity and that you want to inspire them to do the same. You can display your honesty in a number of ways, including being open to giving an employee constructive feedback on their performance, keeping the team abreast of company news and admitting when you just don't have all the answers.
Communicate with your team
Strong leaders rarely sit in their offices with the door closed all day. Instead, you're likely to see them among their team, working alongside them to finish a project on time or brainstorm solutions to problems. Establish an open line of communication where you can ask how a task is going and an employee feels comfortable using your open-door policy if they need to. The communication you offer to your team should inspire them, motivate them and let them know that you know and appreciate their value.
Effective communication isn't just one-sided — listening is part of it, too. To communicate with your team, listen to what they have to say, ask questions, look them in the eyes and empathize with a stressful situation they may have come to you with. Also, take the time to observe how members of your team speak to each other.
Read more: Q&A: Why Is Communication Important?
You can also become a strong leader by having some fun at work. There may be tight deadlines, upset customers or a failed marketing campaign, but with the right culture, the team has the resources to take most setbacks in stride. When the team can laugh together and enjoy each other's company, it's easier and more fulfilling to work together, and you would have earned some respect as being a leader that employees actually want to follow.
Provide coaching and training
Employees appreciate having a leader who values the work they do and wants to invest in them. One way to do that is by actively providing coaching where you discuss their job performance and provide helpful feedback on how they can get to the next level. Consider establishing a peer-to-peer coaching program so employees can learn from their coworkers.
Also, if there are conferences, webinars, panel discussions or networking events specific to your industry, think about offering your employees the opportunity to attend. Consider not only letting them go to relevant events but encouraging them to attend training that focuses on a topic that is complementary to their current work tasks. This will show that you have faith in their abilities to grow their responsibilities and learn a new tool or process.
Encourage your team
By encouraging your team, you are creating a supportive work environment that employees will appreciate. Most everyone wants to receive recognition for a job well done alongside encouragement to keep going. Employees want to know that their manager believes in them and trusts them to make important workplace decisions. If a member of the team lacks the confidence to apply for a promotion or to share their idea during team meetings, your encouragement can go a long way toward your employee being able to take action on something they may not have felt comfortable with in the past.
You can also encourage your team to think outside of the box, drawing on their creative side to come up with unique solutions. The more encouragement you provide, the more employees trust that you want what's best for them and will look up to you as a strong leader and ally in the workplace.
Show your passion
If you show your passion for the company, your team and the work you do, your staff should follow. A strong leader inspires others by their actions and general attitude. Especially at work, it's important to show that you believe in the company's values and want to operate by them while you lead your team.