There's always room to improve as a leader, whether you're just stepping into management for the first time or you've been managing for many years. Constantly striving to improve is one of the marks of good leadership. Here are 7 questions you can ask yourself when trying to grow as a leader:
1. Do I treat my employees like employees or like friends? It's important to have a good relationship with your employees but as a manager, it's also important to keep things professional. It's okay to have fun, but being overfamiliar can blur the lines and cause issues later on.
2. Do I tailor my leadership style for the situation? A one-size-only approach rarely works when managing multiple employees because everyone is different. Employees are individuals with varying strengths and weaknesses. Tailoring your leadership style to fit their needs will help them grow.
3. How well do I know my employees? While becoming overly familiar with employees can cause issues, it's important to still get to know them. Do they have families? What are their career goals? Spending the time to learn a little about all of your employees will help build loyalty and trust.
4. Do I practice active listening? One of the single best things you can do in any situation is practice active listening - whether it's an employee with a problem or in a meeting, listening actively to what others are saying with help you take action and lead better.
5. Am I focused on the big picture? It can be easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging or becoming overly detail-oriented but as a manager, your job should be to see the bigger picture and trust your employees with the details.
6. Do I deal with issues with my employees quickly? Building trust with employees takes time but one thing that can go along way is to address issues as they come up, be it interpersonal issues between employees or performance issues. Don't wait until the annual review to cover these issues - give your employees to correct their mistakes before it affects their review.
7. Do I make myself accessible? Leaders have a lot to do and it can be easy to get lost in work. However, making yourself available is essential for creating an environment in which employees feel they can share their ideas and solutions with you.
-- How many of these questions struck a chord with you? What will you do today to make yourself a better leader tomorrow? We hope these questions will help guide you on your journey.