8 effective leadership tips and why they're important

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An effective leadership style is a major contributor to the success of an organisation. Accomplished leaders know and play to their strengths, and those of their colleagues, to ensure effective performance. If you're aspiring to become a leader, some knowledge of the best leadership practices may be useful. In this article, we list eight effective leadership tips and explain how a leader's qualities can benefit an organisation.

8 effective leadership tips

Leadership comes naturally to some people more than others, but regardless of your personality, studying effective leadership tips is a proven way to develop your abilities. Becoming a successful leader is a challenging but rewarding process that requires you to continuously work on your attitude, skills and qualifications. Working on the following leadership qualities can help you understand how effective leaders guide, support and influence others:

1. Learn to make decisions

One of the most important things to do when you want to become an effective leader is to learn how to make informed decisions in and out of the workplace. A good leader is a confident decision-maker, a creative problem-solver and an accomplished communicator. Three main types of decision-making are common in the workplace:

  • Reactive decision-making is required when the leader and their team members concentrate on quickly resolving an urgent problem which has arisen, including ones occurring externally.

  • A proactive decision is when a leader consciously sets out to influence the direction in which their organisation, or part of it, is heading by expressing and implementing a clear vision.

  • Thirdly, the leader's leader makes a decision, issues instructions and implements a change or improvement from an idea conceived by their own senior leader.

Related: Decision-making skills: definition and examples

2. Understand your team

Whether a team is large or small, everyone benefits when the leader genuinely understands each member, their role in the team and aspects of their personality, such as what motivates them. An effective leader can influence the motivation and performance of team members both individually and as a whole. Leaders consciously work towards making the most of team performance and welcome the responsibility. They know what each team member cares about and what their capabilities are. By regularly applying this knowledge in the way they manage their team, leaders can effectively encourage teams to become more productive and self-respecting.

As part of this understanding, the leader comes to know each team member on a personal level while accepting and respecting mutual boundaries. This leadership principle results in cohesive teams working together to achieve the objectives of the organisation. When problems occur, team members know they can discuss them with their leader and work together to overcome them. By applying this wisdom consistently, leaders foster trust and a strong sense of achievement amongst the team.

Related: 10 important high performing team characteristics to know

3. Communicate clearly

Communication is an essential transferrable skill everyone begins to develop the moment they begin their first job. An effective leader uses it to give clear and concise direction and provide each team member with the necessary information at the right time. As a result, leaders can share knowledge with their subordinates and assure them that they're performing adequately.

Experienced leaders use all forms of communication including written, non-verbal and verbal communication. They can effectively apply this skill to any situation. An expert communicator can, for example, explain complex subjects to less experienced team members who might struggle with performing certain tasks or adjusting to a new work environment. The most important thing about communicating from a leadership perspective is that it's not just used to give direction but as a tool to support employees and boost their confidence.

Related: 4 types of communication (with examples)

4. Respect people's needs

As an aspiring leader, it's critical to have the ability to respect other people's needs and opinions regardless of your own viewpoint. Remember that team members work in different ways and at different paces. Effective leaders recognise these differences and can effectively analyse team members' strengths and weaknesses to determine the best way to work together as a high-performing team.

It's also important for leaders to show employees that they're aware of their individual needs and preferences. For example, leaders can do this by encouraging team members to maintain a healthy work-life balance and showing respect for their time outside work. As a result, employees can feel more valued and important in the workplace, and they may want to express their gratitude by being more proactive at work.

Related: Showing Respect in the Workplace: a Step-By-Step Guide

5. Lead by example

When you become a leader, it's likely that others within the organisation might look to you for inspiration and see you as a role model for their own outcomes at work. When team members see that you're always trying to give your best to the role, they can feel motivated to do the same and improve their own performance. This happens because effective leadership can act as a sort of 'mirror' reflecting the team's behaviour, giving each other clues as to how they might perform.

Related: 8 strategies to help you lead by example in the workplace

6. Be positive

Maintaining a sincere and positive attitude is another important leadership quality. Showing genuine enthusiasm for your subordinates' good work, giving positive reinforcement and praise for team members' achievements helps build positive morale. People always appreciate a smile, the use of appropriate humour and a manager's acknowledgement of their efforts and ideas.

Related: Positive thinking benefits (With Tips)

7. Be self-aware

Another thing you can focus on to increase your chances of becoming a successful leader is to become more self-aware. Being self-aware allows you to recognise your feelings and understand how others perceive you. It's an important component of developing your unique leadership style, which you can improve by conducting voluntary and anonymous workplace surveys where team members can review you as their leader. Typically, actively encouraging and listening to their team's feedback helps leaders and team members understand each other.

Related: How to improve self-management skills and use them at work

8. Practice objectivity

Being objective is another helpful quality for leaders. Objectivity is the ability to remain neutral and avoid favouritism towards any team member, even if you share the same opinions. By judging your team's performance and behaviour on objective, realistic and measurable metrics, you can manage the team in a fair, understandable and non-judgemental way. By treating everyone equally, you increase your chances of maintaining your position as a fair leader who others ask for help and support.

The benefits of effective leadership

Effective leadership helps companies execute their visions by ensuring team efficiency and securing resources. Below are some of the most important benefits effective leadership can bring to both a team and an organisation:

Higher productivity

Effective, easily approachable leaders are more likely to motivate their team members. As a result, employees can become more productive because they know their leader values their ideas and input. For this reason, many companies looking to improve staff efficiency and productivity invest in advanced leadership training which allows them to equip their organisational leaders with further knowledge they can use to inspire others.

Related: How is productivity calculated? (With formula and examples)

Good morale

It's important to create a satisfied workforce who can approach tasks with a positive attitude. Leaders who know how to take care of their team members' well-being are more likely to increase morale in the workplace. As a result, employees can become more engaged because they know they can always look to their leader whenever they need guidance.

Talent retention

Every team has members with unique talents, attributes and skills. Because these people are in high demand in their industry, businesses want to retain them for their contributions to overall company goals. These employees are more likely to stay with the organisation when their leader recognises their potential and supports them in their professional development.

Related: What is an employee retention strategy and why is it important?

Increased innovation

Motivated team members are more likely to innovate and generate new ideas, either for new or improved products or processes. Good leaders encourage their team members to be innovative and build the ideal work environment for this to happen. Team members appreciate leaders who develop a culture of recognising and rewarding diligence, perseverance and commitment.

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