Leadership Tips for Improving Your Team’s Performance

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here's an article written by one of the best leaders at MagmaLabs on how to become a great leader. Read the tips and the book recommendations to Become a truly Effective Leader.

Leaders are made, not born

“Leaders are made, not born”, have you ever heard this premise? What do you think about it?

For sure, there are people out there with innate qualities that predispose them to be leaders. To be a leader could also depend on many factors, such as birthplace, family, education (formal and informal), circle of friends, and more. But, I think leaders are mostly made.

You can become a leader if you want and have the right opportunities, meritocracy, or a situational events that puts you on the right spot.

Obviously, to become one, you need to learn first what Leadership means; then you need to identify which strategies would help you to become one, and implement those strategies in your daily life.

What is Leadership?

W.C.H. Prentice defined leadership as:

[...] the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants” and a successful leader as one who can understand people’s motivations and enlist employee participation in a way that marries individual needs and interests to the group’s purpose.

Among Prentice's observations he called for a leadership that gives employees oportunities to learn and grow—without creating anarchy.

Why are Leaders Important?

Mainly, because how leaders motivate employees are essential to support any organization goals.

In many organizations, you will find different types of leaders: those followed by people, the ones that inspire others, and the ones that just are in a leadership position. But wait, this does not mean they are actual leaders!—specifically the last ones.

Leaders are essential because we need someone to rely on, to follow, and to lead our way. In other words, we need someone that can help others to unblock themselves so they do their best.

Taking on a management position can be stressful, fearful, and overwhelming. And, sometimes impostor syndrome will knock on your door. But as a leader once told me: “Fake it until you make it”.

For that reason, I want to give you some advice that might help you. (Just a disclaimer here: some things will help you, some others will not; so, only use what helps YOU. Ok?).

The 6 Ways to Become an Effective Leader

1. Communication skills

Communication is vital in every organization, and at the same time the main problem in most companies. Even though it is hard to be an effective communicator, we need to improve these skills.

Hone your effective communication, prepare yourself by reading about the topic, practicing, asking for feedback, giving talks to a different kind of audience, listening to the people you talk to, and improving your writing skills.

Here are my top 3 book recommendations about effective communication:

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
  2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
  3. Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence

2. Emotional intelligence

We need to learn how to manage our own emotions in positive ways, this will help us to be better leaders. It is easy to write about it, but not to put it into practice.

We need to understand how emotions drift in every direction and what we can control and what we cannot.

In every situation you might face, try to do the following:

  • Empathize with others
  • Relieve stress by pursuing the bright side of things
  • If you can control it, it's fine, but if not, it is okay too
  • Do not take it personally; everyone is doing their best
  • Accept feedback and improve
  • Breathe

My top 3 books recommendation on emotional intelligence:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
  2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  3. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

3. Analytical mind

Every problem you face daily will be so similar and so different from each other. One of the things that helps the most in this case is to use your analytical mind, experience, and common sense.

In any leadership position you will need to make decisions, create strategies and face different situations. So, remember to listen, to think, to analyze, to visualize yourself, to see the big picture, and to act.

My top 3 books recommendations about this topic:

  1. The Systems Thinker
  2. Critical Thinking and Analytical Mind: The Art of Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  3. The Analytical Mind

4. Inspire others

Sometimes we forget this critical step. Inspiring others is not an easy job, and you need to be mean to it. Do it with intention; do not fake it, be honest, be transparent, avoid condescending, roll up your sleeves, guide and help others, accept your mistakes and be always open to your team.

Book recommendations do not come to my mind now.

5. Provide feedback on the performance & abilities of your team members

Everyone wants to know how to improve, become better at what they do, know where they are at, and what they exactly need to improve.

  • Be kind
  • Be honest
  • Be direct
  • Do not be afraid to conflict
  • Empathize
  • Help
  • Praise them publicly and provide them feedback in privacy
  • Finally, provide the tools for for the success of your team

My top 3 book recommendations:

  1. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (1st dysfunction) | Patrick Lencioni
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  3. Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

6. Unblock your team

We are not in a leadership position to give orders; we are meant to lead. One of the best things you can do for your team is to get rid of their obstacles that may be in their daily work. Allow them to do their best, and let them know you are there for them; support is king.

My top 5 book recommendations:

  1. Leaders eat last
  2. Good to Great
  3. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
  4. The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
  5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

I hope this article helps you unleash your leadership skills and help your team to have a leadership figure they can rely on to perform better.

Disclaimer: This article was created based on my perspective, experience, and the way I see things. You can use whatever you find helpful; what works for me will not necessarily work for you. So, use this information under your discretion, experience, and feelings.

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