Tips

How to Be an Effective Leader

If you’ve recently been charged with leading a team, you may be struggling to figure out what the best path forward is. After all, regardless of whether or not you’ve led a team before, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing. These days, it’s hard not to feel like an impostor, especially when you can see so many other (seemingly more qualified) individuals online.

Whether you’re leading a parent-teacher organization bake sale or have just been promoted to CEO of your company, the nuts and bolts of leadership remain the same. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you truly want to be an effective leader.

Think about the long term.

When you really want to be effective as a leader, you need to think about the decisions you make and their longterm effects. This is how you truly set future employees and initiatives up for success. If you’re only thinking about the short term benefits of any one decision, you may overlook important details that save you more costs in the longterm.

This sort of thinking has been reiterated time and again by business executive and global investment manager Mark Wiseman. Wiseman describes making investment decisions that are forward-thinking, instead of just looking for the next hot IPO or deal with exciting possibilities. The perfect example of this is when it comes to switching vendors or upgrading a piece of equipment in your office. While it might be cheaper to just repair the printer, if it keeps breaking down, perhaps investing in a newer, more resilient printer may be a better solution. If you’re only focusing on the short-term benefits, you’ll miss the nuance of making such decisions.

Listen to others.

One key component of leading is listening. If you aren’t staying responsive to the needs of others, you won’t be able to find success or build common ground. Without that kind of understanding, you may feel like others aren’t respecting your decisions or how you’re going about things.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean listening to your customers. Listening to your employees is just as important. Nothing turns off a team more than when you make a decision that goes against the experts that you’ve hired, whether that’s your marketing team or your IT team. By really listening to and taking in the input from other members of your staff, you’ll be able to make more-informed decisions that make you a more effective and respected leader.

Outsource job responsibilities that make it harder to focus on the big picture.

If you’re in charge of a small business, part of being an effective leader involves managing your time properly. If you don’t allocate the right amount of time to think about the big picture and your broad vision for the future of your company, it can be difficult to get things accomplished. As such, you need to constantly evaluate what’s on your plate and what actually needs to be on your plate.

A perfect example of when it might make sense to outsource one of your job responsibilities is in regards to payment processing. If you run a small business, you’re likely used to running payroll and cutting checks yourself in order to ensure that the books stay properly accounted for.

However, utilizing check printing software or even finding another company that can handle this sort of processing for you could be a major boon. Outsourcing your payment processing doesn’t just free up your schedule, either. It also offers your company a host of other benefits, like added security and a decrease in overall costs. If that doesn’t free you up to be an effective leader, what will?

While the above tips may seem like small ways to change your leadership patterns, a little bit can go a long way in how you manage your time, efforts, and teammates. Don’t get overwhelmed with changing overall patterns before you tackle the small stuff first.