“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

Anyone can be a boss but only few master the art of becoming a true leader. When you’re offered leadership, or you become the first-in-line of the chain of command, your employees who used to be your co-workers before, get this “instinct” of fear. They’ll have to obey your orders or do as told by you or else there’ll be consequences. As a business leader, you have the power to change this mindset of your employees by your actions that you’re not here to rule on them but to lead them towards success.

But the findings over the past decade reveal that almost 82 percent of front line leaders are rated as incompetent in skills and capabilities as leaders while 80 percent of them are dissatisfied with handling the reigns of the organization. The reason for this is because business leaders are not given any sort of formal training before getting the job. There is no coursework in education institutions that teaches “leadership”. You only learn by experience from your predecessors or your own mistakes.

Without being too hard on yourself and failing in your initial days, there are some of the practices that you can adopt to become or at least try to become a good business leader.

Carol Dweck states in her book Mindset that there are two principal mindsets bosses and business leaders are surrounded by. First is a fixed mindset, which makes people believe that only their innate abilities, intellect, talent and hard work will lead them towards success. They have to learn everything beforehand in order to be better than everyone else. Second one is a growth mindset and people having this believe that mistakes are not failure but a lifelong experience. They think their skills can be developed with time through learning, training and determination.

Research clearly demonstrates that leaders with a growth mindset are much better off and valued by their employees than leaders with a fixed mindset. You can change your mindset as a business leader and your relationship with your employees in the following ways.

  • As a leader your organization’s success “as a whole” is much more important than just your personal recognition. So, focus more on the words like “WE” and “US” than “I” in your verbal communications and even business proposals to some client. Phrases like “My team has presented this” or “We all have worked together very hard” really boost up the morale of your employees and encourage them to do better.
  • Be approachable enough that your employees can come to you for help when really in the time of need but not “too friendly”, that someone can take advantage of you and not recognize your authority. Whether you are a project manager or the head of the IT department, be clear about everyone’s role no matter if it’s your best work buddy or a new employee.
  • Leave behind your “I-know-it-better” attitude. As we said earlier, have a growth mindset. You don’t want to be that boss that doesn’t even listen to what any of his employees have to say about a certain project. Encourage your staff to speak up their minds during business meetings even when they’re wrong. Show them that you’ve trust in them by delegating authority among competent employees. This way they’ll work hard and increase their productivity to get your recognition which would eventually be beneficial for the organization.
  • Fairness is a key to become a good business leader. But it doesn’t always mean equality. Treating people differently is okay as long as you treat all of them fairly. Giving advantages to everyone in your team because there are people with whom you’ve good relations in your personal life, even though some of them didn’t perform up to their ability would be unfair to people who really worked hard, resulting in incompetent employees and a dysfunctional working environment.

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