A leader who is a lion makes recruits into lions as well. – Ancient Roman proverb
Having a good leader in the workplace can make a massive difference in your productivity, overall effectiveness, talent retention rate, and your public image. Still, what does it take for one to be a great leader? This is a difficult question without a straightforward answer.
Like any other career path, being a great manager, entrepreneur, and leader requires knowledge and experience. Also, like with any other position or occupation, there’s a lot you can do in order to improve your leadership abilities.
Despite what you may have heard or believed in the past, leadership is an amalgamation of skills. When you improve these skills individually and use them in the right way (an adequate framework), you’ll get a massive boost to your workplace efficiency.
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are several important leadership skills for workplace success.
If instructions are not clear and commands are not explicit, it is the commander's fault. – Sun Tzu
Communication is an essential skill for anyone in a position of leadership. It determines the cohesion of the team, the accuracy of information transfer, and much, much more. Before you can start communicating on the subject matter, you need to master the terminology in question. This, however, comes with the experience.
Being able to give orders in a clear and simple (non-ambiguous) manner can make a massive difference while running a project. However, reading non-verbal communication is just as important. A lot of people are scared of asking a question (even to one seen as a benevolent leader/manager). So, instead of waiting for them to ask you to repeat the instructions, you need to recognize the situation in which doing so is right.
One more thing you need to do is learn how to actively listen. We already hinted at this when we said that you need to read other people’s non-verbal communication. Learning how to get feedback is essential to your ability to chart a future course of your company. Are there any complaints? What can you do to address them? Can you turn some of these positive feedback examples into a USP (unique selling proposition)? All of this can be learned by listening.
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy
Having enough industry-specific knowledge can make all the difference when it comes to the overall success of your enterprise. You see, the overall leadership and leadership skills (charisma, attention to details, etc.) are universally applicable, but dental team leadership is something else. In order to lead a dental practice, you need to possess an in-depth understanding of what it is they do.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that one has to be a certified dentist or dental assistant to successfully run a dental practice. Still, it will help if they understood what the responsibilities of their team members are. This will help them in work delegation, schedule-making, and much more.
Also, bear in mind that learning is a never-ending process. There are always new trends out there, and you need to keep up with them. Furthermore, it’s essential that all your staff keep learning throughout their lifetime in the dental industry. If you do the same, it will be a lot easier to lead by example. Not to mention that being knowledgeable about the subject matter will make them respect you even more.
Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around. – Robert Breault
Charisma is not an innate trait. Instead, it is a skill that you can acquire and improve. You need to make people feel good when you’re around, and this is not nearly as hard to achieve as you would assume. The first trick is to start actively listening to them. It’s not just about seeming like you’re giving them your full attention. It’s about memorizing what they say and bringing it up in conversation later on.
Another thing you need to do is show them that they have value. This can be done in two ways. The first one is to show this directly by telling them, giving them a bonus, or rewarding them for their work in some other way. Another method of doing so is actually taking their side in a confrontation with the client. No, the client is not always right, and it is this kind of attitude that makes people leave you as soon as possible and see both you and your enterprise in a negative light.
Making an extra effort to help make people feel welcome, accepted, and appreciated will make you much more desirable as an employer. People (your employees) will talk about you, which means that this is also a viable PR strategy. This means that any hiring process must have a greater success rate. Not to mention that it will be a lot easier to keep the talent that you already have. The bottom line is always in your favor.
A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say they did it themselves. – Lao Tzu
As a leader, it is your job to provide your staff with the tools and working conditions under which they can create their own success. When you work towards improved sustainability of your business, both you and your team will flourish. In other words, it’s your job to monitor, evaluate, and gather feedback. Then, based on this feedback, you need to recognize potential bottlenecks and address them before they become chokepoints. It’s that simple.
Still, you need to understand that you can’t just fulfill every whim of your staff. Some of their requirements/desires are unrealistic. Other ideas are not as great as they believe them to be. Then again, you have the budget and cost-effectiveness as a factor that you need to weigh against every single one of these ideas. Needless to say, the task is far more difficult, and it might involve stepping on some people’s toes.
This is why one of the biggest requirements for one to be a great leader is courage. Your decisions will affect everyone. You need to make sure that you’re making the right decision and stick by it, no matter how many people believe that you’re wrong or argue against it. Sure, you need to listen to what others have to say, but you’re the one making the final decision. It’s much easier to give advice from the standpoint of a bystander. As a leader, you’ll face full responsibility for your actions and decisions.
What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. – Stephen Covey
In the end, you need to understand that knowing what to do and actually doing it are two separate things. Everything listed in this article takes practice and getting used to. For instance, deciding to pay more attention to what your staff members are saying is one thing but effectively listening to them is something else entirely. It will take time, and it will take practice. Still, the sooner you start, the earlier you’ll pick up this momentum. Enrolling in a leadership course or two might not be such a bad idea. Picking up a book or two on the subject matter might also help you out.