6 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders

Some people are born leaders; they’re naturally decisive and communicate with ease. Being a highly effective leader, however, is a learned behavior—these leaders don’t just communicate and make decisions, they improve the company’s bottom line and keep employees engaged.

The question is: are you a highly effective leader? See if the following six habits match up with your leadership style.

Communicate with employees on a regular basis

“How do the best leaders motivate and inspire their people? Through clear communication. How do the best organizations promote discipline, accountability and strategic alignment? With clear communication. And, how do market leaders sell their products and services? With compelling ads and marketing campaigns — in sum, by clear communication.”

– Lee Froschheiser, president and CEO of Map Consulting

At the most basic level, excellent leaders are excellent communicators. Respond to your employees’ emails, speak up when you see someone in need of constructive criticism or praise, and ask questions.

Related: 15 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Bring a positive mindset to the office

“Your personal attitude is a huge part of the energy you inject into your team and organization. If you aren’t injecting positive, supportive and encouraging thoughts and actions into the workplace, it is far less likely that others will either.”

Kevin Eikenberry, leadership and management expert 

Fear of failure is not uncommon in the workplace. Unfortunately, if your employees are afraid that the company is falling apart or they’re not doing well enough at their job, production slows and morale takes a dip. As a leader, you can mitigate this with positivity, bringing a can-do attitude to the office every single day.

Empower employees with autonomy

“Your role is to encourage and support the decision-making environment, and to give employees the tools and knowledge they need to make and act upon their own decisions. By doing this, you help your employees reach an empowered state.”

Marshall Goldsmith, leadership coach

Highly effective leaders are not micro-managers. They understand that employees thrive when they have clear boundaries but are empowered to do their job without constant guidance and control.

Empowering employees with this autonomy also leads to greater satisfaction in the workplace: in a recent study, 53 percent of respondents reported being totally satisfied with their job when they have complete control and autonomy in their position.

Delegate work on a regular basis

Sure, it may be easier in the short-term to just do a task yourself, rather than develop the skills of your employees. But that just expands your workload, and leaves employees with few challenges or opportunities to learn new skills. Those employees likely won’t stick around long.

Melany Gallant, certified human capital strategist

Every employee has a unique skill set, which likely got them hired at your startup in the first place. Effective leaders are in tune with what their employees do best and delegate work to the team accordingly. Ultimately, the best small businesses thrive because their leaders know and take advantage of their resources—their employees. 

Challenge your teams

“In my experience, most leaders are trying to combine a mix of challenge and support to get the best out of their teams. Achieving this balance is never easy, and is specific to each individual. But in the end, growing others is a worthwhile effort for both noble and self-interested reasons. It’s personally rewarding to help others accomplish more than they’d thought possible. And high-performing employees reflect very well on their leader.”

Kristi Hedges, executive coach and leadership development consultant

Employees must be challenged in order to grow both personally and professionally. Highly effective leaders help employees reach their full potential by acknowledging what they can do and then pushing them to go the extra mile. When employees fail because they’ve taken on a challenging task, effective leaders step in and use the situation as a teaching opportunity and offer constructive criticism.

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Focus on the big picture

“Not only should the company’s vision and mission align with day-to-day activities of employees, it’s the leader’s job to keep the focus top down and ensure that the direction is aligned with motivation and company culture. These alignments and a spotlight on process can also help prevent silos and turn dysfunction info function.”

Holly Rollins, entrepreneur and president of 10x digital

Effective leaders overview

An effective leader ensures that the high-level goals of their company are aligned with what employees are doing every day. In the end, if those tasks aren’t aligned with overarching business priorities, the company won’t be successful.

Highly effective leaders possess a wide variety of skills that empower employees, mitigate fear and keep the company moving in the right direction. Are you a highly effective leader? If not—adopt these habits and watch your skills, startup and employees transform.

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