We all understand the role of a manager.  This person is in charge of the team.  They hire and, if necessary, fire people, oversee the day-to-day at the office and delegate tasks to their staff.  A leader, however, inspires people to do their best work, asks for feedback, listens, and makes the company better overall.  Instead of seeing themselves as authority figures, true leaders exhibit traits and habits that make them innovative and above all else, effective at exceeding goals. 

Becoming an effective leader is about what you do, not what you know.  Here are 5 important things that the best leaders do every day to get the most out of their teams.

Rely on others for ideas

Business speaker Patrick Stroh advises leaders to create a truly collaborative environment by looking to the team for ideas and then helping them turn those ideas into a reality.

“Empowering others leads to broader thinking and a more voluminous portfolio of ideas,” Stroh says. “Getting more employees, suppliers, customers and other constituents to ideate and execute ideas not only generates more value but [also] leads to greater overall engagement of all parties to achieve your mission.”

Give employees recognition

Toronto bank executive Sean St. John agrees that a culture where employees feel valued yields the best results.  Leaders have to realize how important recognition is; how invaluable encouragement and positive reinforcement are. Sean St. John says these are all excellent tools in managing people, and teams.

Ask rather than wait for feedback

Sure, feedback is important, but waiting for your employees to offer you solutions to an issue is not going to do you any favors.  Be proactive and ask them for advice, but more importantly, give them the platform to feel comfortable doing so. 

Accept mistakes

Failure can be hard to accept, but it can also be a valuable learning experience to help you and your team make better decisions in the future.  CEO and founder of Accelerated Business Results, Amy Fox, explains that effective leaders know how to embrace mistakes.

“Innovative leaders recognize that an organization can stumble into a great idea if they are willing to fully diagnose the issue,” Fox says. “Most companies choose to quickly push past client problems or poor deliverables. Make sure to push the pause button. Sometimes the smallest changes can produce breakthroughs.”

Keep promises

Nothing destroys your trust factor more quickly than a broken promise or unfulfilled expectations.  Never promise an employee something that you can’t or never intended to move forward with.  The commitment to say what you mean and follow through with it will show discipline and integrity.

When it comes down to it, exceptional leaders raise the bar much higher than their mediocre counterparts.  Their eyes are always set on reaching their goals, and their standards for the success of themselves and their team are immeasurable.

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