There is a world of difference between being a manager and a leader. While a manager oversees the team, a leader engages them. Unfortunately, although engagement is a key leadership trait, many who are in leadership roles fail to rise to the occasion. An engaging leader is one who builds meaningful relationships, is transparent, and can be counted on to inspire in good times as well as bad.
How can you be an engaging leader? Here are my 5 not-so-secret tips to set you on the right path.
5 Not-So-Secret Tips to Be an Engaging Leader
An engaging leader has a positive energy that pumps up the team, helping them stay excited while they remain focused on goals. A strong leader is tuned in to the journey as well as the destination and keeps the team’s spirits up no matter whether the road is bumpy or smooth. How can you do this? Be positive and encouraging. Recognize effort as well as achievement. Celebrate milestones—not just the final big goal. And always stay cued in to your team’s morale so you know when they need a boost.
2. Be Authentic
You hear this term a lot because it’s so true. Authenticity is at the core of every engaging leader. It’s about walking the walk and talking the talk. It’s about what you say and how you say it, as well as what you do and how you do it. It’s about consistency and always being true to who you are as a leader. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, which are keys to successful leadership—because a team will only follow you if they trust you.
Studies show engaging leaders take a genuine interest in people’s lives. They are connected to their teams. They know what’s going on with their team at work, and they also know what’s going on in their team’s personal lives. How? They take the time to find out. An engaging leader is a good listener and makes it a priority to get to know each member of the team.
4. Seek Opinions
Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of the team. An engaging leader understands how important it is to seek the team’s input, ideas, and opinions—to ensure everyone feels like they’re making a meaningful contribution. Demonstrate your team’s opinions matter by asking them what they think. Then show them those opinions really do matter by putting them into action. When you do, give them the credit. It’s not just the right thing to do; it will also show the rest of the team you’re listening.
An engaging leader has an open-door policy with information. When leaders share, they engage and attract followers. Information drives decision making and results. Good information drives good decision making and good results. When your team is in the loop and has the information they need, they’ll be better positioned for success.
Are You an Engaging Leader
You can call yourself a leader, but until people willingly follow you, you’re really just a manager. Leaders lead by example not coercion. They engage with their team and create a sense of ownership and camaraderie. When you’re able to do that, you can truly call yourself an engaging—and engaged—leader.
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