In every workplace, there is at least one leader. Some leaders head gigantic organizations with thousands of people and numerous levels of leadership, while others lead small teams. There are plenty of differences between the type of leadership a huge organization needs and appropriate leadership for a smaller team, but in every workplace, leaders have to inspire respect by demonstrating that they are the heads of their teams. Otherwise, their workplaces can suffer from disorganization, poor communication and a lack of direction.
Types of Leaders in the Workplace
A quick look at different industry leaders and one’s own past bosses will show a wide range of examples of leadership. There are many different recognized types of workplace leaders, including:
- Autocratic leaders who give clear commands and expect total compliance
- Democratic leaders who ask team members for input on company decisions
- Charismatic leaders who rely on their own charm and personality to direct their leadership
- Servant leaders who promote collective decision making
A leader can understand how his team perceives him and can diagnose leadership challenges he faces by examining the type of leader he embodies. How he approaches team building and if he prioritizes team building at all says a lot about the type of leader he embodies. Similarly, how he employs people skills, often known as soft skills, is a key part of how he demonstrates his leadership.
People Skills as Leadership Skills
An effective leader is a leader who inspires her team to work productively and reach their goals. In many cases, these goals are individual as well as group goals. To inspire her team, a leader should be somebody her team respects. While an autocratic leader demands respect, a democratic leader inspires it by making individual team members feel like their contributions are valued.
Examples of leadership skills that are also interpersonal skills include:
- Respect, even during disagreements
- Problem solving
- Emotional support
An effective leader responds to her team’s needs and takes the actions necessary to make it possible for them to work effectively. This could mean altering the workday schedule to guarantee that every employee has a rest break or instituting an anonymous sexual harassment tip line so employees feel safe to report any sexual harassment they face. Employees see their managers demonstrate examples of leadership
Leadership and Team Building
Leadership and team building go hand in hand. Without a team to lead, there is no leader. Organizing team-building activities is one way an individual can demonstrate leadership. A few examples of team-building activities a leader can organize and execute are:
- Role playing various workplace scenarios
- Team-building games like truth and lies, workplace charades or the minefield
- Scavenger hunts
The key overlap between leadership and team building is acting as a guide to team members. Through team-building activities, a leader can encourage a team to work together and rely on their own problem-solving skills and critical-thinking skills to work through challenges, which mirrors the leader’s role in the workplace.
Honing Your Leadership Skills
Nobody is a perfect leader the moment he steps into a managerial role. There are many ways an individual can develop his leadership skills, such as:
- Reading books about leadership and managing people
- Attending leadership workshops
- Being mentored by an experienced leader
- Watching videos about leadership
- Asking his team for honest feedback on his leadership
Leaders who commit themselves to continually developing their skills are often the most effective workplace leaders because they are willing to reflect on themselves and fix problems rather than ignoring problems or blaming others for them. Being transparent about the ways he works to improve his skills is an effective way for a team leader to demonstrate his position.