The very essence of a CEO is to lead like a futurist, observes Kajol Chavan.
Over the last few years the number of female working professionals has increased across the globe. However, the representation of women in boardrooms, in mid or senior leadership roles is not significant enough.
To change this, we must encourage young women to take more responsibility and nurture other potential leaders for the future.
Being a leader at work or in life doesn't mean you need to be the best at everything.
It means empowering others to be the best version of themselves.
This involves training them, boosting their morale, teaching them and helping them reach their goal is essential.
Legacies are not just built by one leader but also by successors who then take up the leadership roles after the leader.
One important leadership skill is the ability to give into others and help them develop into strong leaders.
Great leaders see people's strengths, often hidden, and help them develop the same.
They offer their employees challenges and opportunities to grow and excel.
If you want to improve your leadership skills or train someone to be a future leader, here are some pointers to help:
1. Be their cheerleader
Supporting your task force is a major role as a leader.
Motivating them and asking them to try new things or drive them to take up a new project helps you create a sense of passion and a feeling of ‘I CAN DO IT’ attitude in individuals.
By doing so you set an example of how they too should motivate others and ignite the fire when someone needs that push in their life or at the workplace.
2. Step back for them to step forward
There will be certain opportunities where you could let individuals take the lead.
You could let them take up the presentation with clients after you train them.
Prepare them for future tasks and provide them with resources necessary for a presentation or a project for them to take lead and become more responsible.
Taking up responsibilities and roles helps individuals learn better and it helps future leaders to lead better.
3. Be their safety net
When you let your team take the lead let them know you got their back.
As a leader, be prepared for the worst when you let them lead, so that you too are prepared if anything goes wrong.
Young leaders need a place of refuge where they can recover, renew, and refocus.
Let them know that it's alright to make mistakes provided they learn from their mistakes and rework on it and perform better. Because nothing succeeds like a good failure.
Organisations that learn from failures go farther than ones that punish them.
4. Be direct with corrections
Do not play around. Describe wrong behaviours, mistakes and explain the path to success.
The goal is to guide individuals to correct performance or behaviour by identifying the problems, causes and solutions, not to take severe actions.
If you invest in the development process and have the correct elements for success in place, mistakes and errors will be gradually reduced over time.
5. Constant Learning
A good leader is also a keen observer and a good leader.
S/he will constantly educate themselves and develop new skills to become a better version than what they were yesterday.
If you want to build more leaders, make your team participate in activities that help them learn new skills which would indirectly help them perform better and also give them a taste of things that are not necessarily their KRAs! (Key Responsibility Area)
6. Make them a part of your Vision
Interpersonal communication has to be an integral part of a leader’s skill set.
If a team only has a vague idea of the company’s goals, they’ll also only have a vague understanding of how to help reach them.
It’s necessary that you communicate with your team what your story, goals, vision and expectations are.
Communication is the cupid of any good love story!
Just like in every relationship, communication solves most of the issues.
The same goes in your relationship with your teams.
Let them know that you need them to work together to achieve your vision, which in return helps them achieve theirs.
7. Don't hesitate to highlight their small wins!
Recognition at work is something every individual desires.
Fostering an environment that not only encourages individuals to perform better but also rewards or applauds them for their wins and progress is important to ensure they feel valued and assures them that their work is noticed.
Tangible rewards are of course a plus, but not always necessary.
It may also not be feasible in case you are a new or growing company. But that shouldn't stop you from awarding and appreciating them.
It can be something as simple as an appreciation mail or awarding 'best employee of the month' accolades.
8. Be a mentor not a boss
If you want to prove that you are a good leader, try to be a mentor than just being a boss.
Rather than commanding orders and sounding authoritative, a leader should encourage growth by teaching or leading by example.
Individuals won't grow if they aren't taught anything valuable in life or at the workplace.
Every individual wants a leader or a boss who has a heart and cares for his/her people.
No one wants to work under harsh leaders who denigrate him/her and make him/her feel bad.
Individuals tend to respond well to managers or leaders with a strong sense of compassion.
Be the boss you wanted when you were an intern.
9. Accept feedback positively
When you communicate you tend to accept feedback positively, it creates an environment of productivity.
It's not just your team that benefits from feedback, you need to ask them for feedback too and accept it positively.
It shows that you too are human and learn every day from your mistakes.
Nobody has all the answers and it certainly helps to see things from a variety of perspectives.
10. Think macro
Most leadership books, videos, podcasts and blogs talk about how the greatest strength of a leader is to be able to think about the 'big picture'.
The very essence of a CEO along with several other things is to lead like a futurist.
As an entity that is giving direction to the growth of the company, it is imperative that you think of things from a bird's eye perspective.
It is important to remember that the sole reason why you have on boarded other people with subject matter expertise is so that they can get things done on a daily basis and keep the show up and running.
A great leader requires a range of qualities and leadership skills that will encourage the team to follow and stand strong in times of success and adversity.
She needs to be constantly growing, improving and moving forward.
Kajol Chavan is the COO and co-founder of One Impact, a digital branding company.