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From Anita Zinsmeister, president, Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Southern New Jersey

10 Tips To Help You
Become A Better Leader
 
  • Word count for this issue: 793
  • Approximate time to read: 3.2 minutes @ 250 words per minute 
When a business hits some turbulence, an executive’s instinct is sometimes to focus on greater efficiency and productivity by tightening control.  But the truth is that giving up authority and giving employees independence can improve innovation and success, even during crises.  With that in mind, we have put together a number of tips to help you or someone you know become a better leader in the coming months.    
 
10 Tips To Help You Maximize Your Leadership Skills:
 
1.  Build Better Relationships – Great leaders know the value of relationships.  They know who people are, what is important to them, and what motivates them.  Knowing this will help you understand their goals and how you can support them.  When you help people, they will care about you and your goals in return.
 
2.  Get To Know People On A Personal Level – If you take the time to get to know people you like, they will no doubt come to like you, too.  Furthermore, it is always nice to ask people about their families and interests.  You will also find that, if people like you, they will be more open to helping you and taking the extra time to get things done. 
 
3.  Develop A Mentoring Program – Great leaders know that mentoring someone will not only help develop that person’s career, but also help leaders refine their skills.
 
4.  Be Upbeat And Stay Positive – In the business world, it is easy to criticize what everyone does and to be negative, especially in this economy.  As a leader, you need to find ways to stay positive and find ways to do things better, faster and more effectively.  It is important to remember that people are not perfect, and while you do need to address poor performance, great leaders know the value of acknowledging when people are doing things correctly.  Doing so builds a positive work environment that helps make people feel appreciated.
 
5.  Know Your Strengths – We each have strengths and weaknesses.  That being said, you will find that it is better to spend time working on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.  By doing this, you will find that you can rise to the expert level sooner than you would be by working on your weaknesses.  Bottom line: Know what you are good at and keep at it.
 
6.  Surround Yourself With People Who Complement You – As I mentioned above, we all have strengths and weaknesses.  Great leaders know what their weaknesses are and find people who support their shortcomings.  Not because they need to cover their weaknesses, but because they know the benefit of having a strong team — and when the team wins, everyone wins. 
 
7.  Look At Your Career, Not So Much At The Company – Great leaders know that they are the ones who will create their own career paths; therefore, they will work on making it happen.  And once they become an expert in their selected careers, they will find that they can go almost anywhere they want to go.
 
8.  Respect Your People – If you do not like to be around people, let alone lead people, then do not take a leadership position.  Conversely, if you do want to be in a leadership position, start building relationships with people by respecting what they do.  Additionally, it is important that a great leader never misses an opportunity to learn more about the people behind them.  Great leaders never skip an employee’s birthday gathering or a holiday party because they are too busy — they know that work will always be there. 
 
9.  Balance Your Work And Personal Life – Great leaders are often times driven people, but they know the key to success is to balance work and family.  Life is too short for you to live at your job.  One day, when work is winding down, you will think to yourself I wished I had done things differently.  Unfortunately, it will be too late to do so.  Great leaders set career boundaries and know when to spend more time with family and friends. Doing this will make stronger leaders.
 
10.  Evolve Into Someone You Aspire To Become – Great leaders know that they are individuals and that, as an individual, they are not required to be like everyone else.  They also know that they can take the path less traveled, as the risk is sometimes greater than the reward.  To be a great leader, one must become a person of great interest who has great skills.   
 
Executive Summary: When it comes time to lead people, great leaders know the power of information, information they gather from listening to people they respect.  They also know what to say, how to say it and when to say it so that during tough times things get done.

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