A fancy title and office with a window will not make you a strong leader. Being a great leader is no easy task as you must inspire, motivate and be effective while becoming a well-respected member of your company. Whether or not you are comfortable with it, you will be in the spotlight with high expectations for your effectiveness. Those who work for you are looking for direction and guidance while your direct reports expect to see results.
Here are eight tips to help you improve your manufacturing leadership capabilities.
Tip #1: Actively Listen
Having an open-door policy is excellent because it fosters conversation, honesty, and openness. One skill needed to become a better business leader is the ability to actively listen to the challenges faced by your employees. You then must work with them to correct the areas that are causing problems.
However, you must also create boundaries in order to complete your own work. This can be accomplished by scheduling brainstorming sessions so your staff can vent their issues. If there is a personal situation which requires a one-on-one discussion, then it must be managed appropriately.
Tip #2: Always Improve Yourself
Another method of becoming a better business leader is through continuous self-improvement. The strongest leaders are often never content with themselves or their employees. Instead, they focus on continuous development and improvement for their company, employees, and themselves.
Good leaders strive for new knowledge and have the ability to adopt and implement those ideas. They are able to keep an open mind, study failures and successes and prioritize growth. By showcasing flexibility, you can engage and inspire your staff at every level and be a stronger manufacturing leader.
Tip #3: Be Emotionally Aware
Being emotionally aware is often an overlooked yet critical skill toward becoming a better business leader. People always advise to keep emotions separate from business matters, yet business is about relationship development between people. Therefore, to maintain those relationships, you must be emotionally intelligent; which often means being sensitive to different backgrounds and points of view.
Therefore, when using your head to determine what is best for the company, also use your heart for your employees.
Tip #4: Communication
Like in all aspects of life, communication is the key to success. When striving for becoming a better business leader, you must have excellent communication skills. The greatest leaders in history developed a reputation for being superb communicators because they knew their audience.
In today's business environment, there is little room for ambiguity as your audience will make their own interpretations. Therefore, you must give them the news (good or bad) straight and provide regular updates with regards to the successes and failures of the company. This will give your team insight into what is needed to reach success.
Tip #5: Know Your Own Limits
Even the most fair, modest and kindest leader has limitations. Therefore, on the path to becoming a better business leader, you must set boundaries and stick to them. Knowing what you are able to tolerate can save a lot of frustration at the end of the day. Maintaining those set boundaries helps to prevent future confusion.On the path to becoming a better business leader, you must set boundaries and stick to them
Tip #6: Lead by Example
Showing your employees how to do something is more important than just telling them. If you want your staff to be punctual, then you must also be punctual or early. If you prioritize professionalism then dress for success and treat all contacts with courtesy. Your team wants someone to look up to and admire. Set the tone of the requirements of the position and your employees will follow the lead.
Tip #7: Learn from the Experiences of Others
A famous quote by philosopher George Santayana states, “Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” History is filled with examples of spectacular business failures as well as amazingly successful business models. Discover what your heroes do well and learn about what went wrong for those who ended their careers early. Lessons are available all around you.
Tip #8: Re-frame Relationships
Although you may not want to do this, it will make management much easier if you place some social distance between you and your employees. Although you can spend time together outside of work, avoid venting about the company and do not go overboard during happy hour. If you are going to be financially compensated as a manager, you must act like one. That does not mean you cannot have fun, but it's important to be a responsible leader in your company.
Leadership is not easy and it takes years to find a balance. Becoming a better business leader has always been "a work in progress" goal that requires tenacity, a huge dose of humility, and the willingness to embrace new ideas. The aforementioned tips will help you align a workforce behind the company goals.