1. Listen, learn and communicate
To successfully lead your staff, you must first master the art of communicating with them. This means listening to their concerns and empowering them to find the best solutions.
“Too many managers don’t register signals from staff and customers that are around them every day, and often plough ahead regardless of what the outcomes might be,” says DeBrincat. “And some managers believe that it’s a waste of time explaining what they want and emphasise ‘just getting on with it’. However, communication is the key to getting the best results for any team activity.”
Although good communication plays a major role in reaching your business goals, it’s vital that you keep it professional. Make sure you stay away from conversations about your employees’ personal lives and keep your own under wraps while you’re at it. It’s also important that social media stays social. While LinkedIn is designed for professional purposes, avoid adding your staff on Facebook and Twitter – these channels serve as a forum for your employees’ personal lives and they’re unlikely to appreciate you intruding.
2. Focus on the business
Behind every great organisation you’ll find an inspiring boss – the type of manager who genuinely believes in the business they lead and encourages staff to do the same. However, empty promises and mission statements are less effective than committing to your core business activities.
“It can be difficult to focus on the core business activity and not be diverted by passing opportunities. But once you create a plan and begin executing it, give it time and it will fall into place.”
3. Act with integrity
“Sometimes managers make bad decisions because they are told to, even when it goes against their core principles.”
This is why it’s vital that you act with integrity and stay true to your personal values. This applies equally to big-picture management decisions, such as hiring and firing, and relatively minor behaviours like drinking one wine too many during a weekly team-building lunch. Setting a high standard also helps foster a healthy and productive work culture and gives your staff inspiration and incentives to aim high.
4. Be decisive
Solid decision-making is crucial for earning the respect of your staff, and DeBrincat identifies indecision as a major threat to management credibility.
“It’s better to make a decision and move forward than stagnate and lose the confidence of your employees and customers.”
The ability to make strong and confident decisions is an essential element of good leadership and can establish a clear direction for your business and your team.
5. Lead by example
Great managers understand that leadership isn’t about barking orders or delegating work, but making a concerted effort to lead by example. For DeBrincat, this means demonstrating a stellar work ethic, staying committed and being honest and transparent when it comes to client and stakeholder relationships.
“The worst thing you can do is not put the hard yards in yourself, but have different expectations for your people.”
Being an exceptional leader means leaving mediocre management practices behind. However, if you put these rules into practice, you’re bound to reap the rewards.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Neha Kale is a freelance writer and editor with over six years’ experience in the media and finance industries. She has held senior editorial positions at various business and technology publications and specialises in online strategy, innovation, creativity and management best practices.