12 Leadership Examples For the Workplace
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Effective leadership may help professionals motivate their teams and colleagues at work. In addition to directing a team to achieve results, successful leaders typically listen, are proactive and support individual and company goals. Learning what good leadership looks like can also help you excel in a management or executive career. In this article, we share some leadership examples and discuss common characteristics of good leadership.
What is leadership?
Leadership is the ability to manage individuals or a group of individuals at a company or organisation. Leaders may create or develop strategies to help advance business goals and delegate, influence, train and advise those that report to them. Possessing basic and unique leadership skills can help you in many professional roles and is especially valuable in advancing your career to a managerial level.
Here are some reasons leadership is important:
Improves workplace morale
Increases colleague engagement
Inspires confidence in teams and companies
Creates a positive work environment
Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a CV
12 examples of good leadership
Here's an example list that highlights strong leadership skills:
The ability to assess information quickly and effectively is an example of a successful leader. As your knowledge and skills improve, you might predict outcomes better, allowing you to decide on plans or solutions faster. Here's an example of decisiveness in management:
James, manager at Big Toys, Inc. has a few hundred cases of dolls and must decide if he will order a new shipment of popular dolls. When analysing the sales data, he forecasts that a new shipment order may be too much, and they'll eventually have to sell at a discounted price. Prior to the ordering deadline, he decided not to reorder and created a promotional display to sell the last of the stock.
Integrity in the workplace may help leaders make ethical choices to help the company maintain a positive work culture and image. Having and showcasing integrity at work may encourage your team to do the same. Here's an example of integrity in the workplace:
Mei Mei promised her team that with every new process, she would practise with them side by side to ensure she understood their needs. When her company introduced a new system, she sat with each team member as they learned the system, gathered their feedback and suggested system updates to her manager so the team could work more efficiently.
3. Relationship building
Leadership requires the ability to build and maintain a strong and collaborative team that's working toward the same goal. Relationship building is potentially one of the most important skills to a leadership role as it helps with effectively communicating tasks, managing responsibilities and achieving goals. Here's an example of relationship building:
Andrew invited his team to a weekend team-building exercise. Using a real, current project, they worked together to identify clear roles, practised communication techniques and developed a plan to work more effectively as a team. After the exercise, the team expressed they felt better equipped to do their job and mentioned their overall satisfaction with the outcome.
4. Problem solving
Possessing the ability to problem solve effectively is also a skill that leaders have. Effective problem solving often requires you to stay calm and identify a step-by-step solution. Here's an example of problem-solving in leadership:
Sara noticed the deadline was approaching for a new project, and she was likely not going to make it. She identified what she might have ready, what resources she might need to complete the task on time, how late she might be and the overall impact. After evaluating the situation, she scheduled part of the project to send on the due date and the rest to send the following week.
Creating an environment where team members are comfortable communicating and depending on one another is also another important aspect of an effective leader. Being a dependable leader means setting clear and consistent expectations, providing feedback, fulfilling obligations and communicating risks early. Here's an example of dependability:
In Kevin's 10 years of working, he completed every task on time. As a manager, his team shared this same quality, always reaching their quota and completing work early. When their company received a new client that had strict deadlines, the director assigned Kevin and his team to work with them, so they could fulfil the client's needs.
6. Ability to teach and mentor
One skill that differentiates leadership from many other skills is the ability to teach and mentor. Leaders typically possess this skill and use it to build relationships with team members to help them reach a certain level in their careers. Here's an example of mentoring as a leader:
A member of Jon's team expressed his interest in pursuing a career path similar to his within the company. Each week, Jon met with the employee to show him a new skill, task, system or process related to the management role to prepare him if a newly opened position.
Showing a team you have empathy may motivate them to approach you with issues or concerns, and may help them show empathy to each other. Consider implementing processes early on to show you value them as part of the team and show your openness for wanting to help them. Here's an example of empathy:
Entering data is Amy's strength at work, but she notices her colleague Julia continuously misses some required fields. Rather than expressing frustration, Amy helps Julia by showing her a few shortcuts and tips she can employ to complete the job correctly.
An effective leader may motivate their team to work efficiently and take pride in their work. This may also help create a positive and efficient working environment, which may help improve output, productivity, energy and commitment to a job. Here's an example of a leader motivating their team:
Sales numbers have been down for three months, and the team's morale is also slightly low. The manager offers a new incentive as one additional day off to the person with the highest sales for the upcoming month. To show his devotion and motivate his team further, he informs the team he plans to increase his cold-call quota by 20% for the upcoming month. The following month, the team and the manager increased their quotas by 25% and met their sales goal.
A good leader may also think creatively in order to lead a team effectively. Tasks may vary as business needs change, so managers often create unique ways to complete tasks, motivate teams and grow business. Here's an example of creativity in a leader:
A writing agency received 500 new tasks for the teams to write and edit in the upcoming months. Tom, the manager, calculated current productivity and determined how many employees they would need to complete the task within the requested schedule. He then proposed three different ways they could handle the situation for executives to choose.
Delegating work is the ability to assign tasks to team members if there's a deadline approaching or if a member needs to focus on one specific area. This may be important for leaders to know or learn in order to prioritise tasks and assess resources needed within a team. Some aspects of delegating work are knowing a team's strengths and weaknesses, and communicating individual roles clearly to each team member. An example of delegation in leadership might be:
Ken received a new account to create a brand awareness campaign. He assessed the client needs and decided on the four members of his team to manage the major components they needed. Ken enlisted his assistant to manage the project schedule and roles to ensure the tasks were clear and each team member could complete the task.
Making informed decisions, requesting feedback and asking questions may show your team you take your responsibilities seriously. An effective leader may take responsibility for both individual and team errors and may work with others to ensure proficiency in the future. Here's an example of ownership:
After evaluating the sales numbers, Shelly, owner of The Coffee Shop, opened a second location. Although advisors suggested a year wait for the new location, Shelly evaluated the numbers and moved forward with the selected open date. As a second location owner, Shelly also accounted for a slight decline in revenue in the first two months of the second location opening, because it was in a different town, and adjusted the store hours for the location.
Being self-aware means understanding how your words and behaviours might affect others. Although you may have a specific intention in mind, another might perceive your tone or requests a different way. Here's an example of self-awareness:
When her team reached their quota, Kim would let them go home early. She thought this was a rewarding activity, but noticed the team was less motivated to fill the quota and more concerned with filling their hours. After reflecting and discussing with her team, she adjusted the quotas and goals to ensure they reached their quotas and work hours each week.
Related: How To Write a Self-Appraisal
Characteristics of good leadership
Here are some characteristics of good leadership:
Ability to keep the team motivated
Help improve results
Help team relationships improve
Communicate and define roles clearly
Help team adapt to change
Receive thanks from the team
Ensure core values are in place
Help team learn and apply critical thinking
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