A Surefire Way to be a Leader – How to effectively Lead People

First things first, being a leader does not automatically mean knowing how to lead. There is actually a big difference between merely being a leader or really knowing how to lead.

Maybe you know a story of your own life where you were dealing with a so-called “leader” (let’s say a team leader at work) but you really never had the feeling that you were led.

Leaders who don’t know how to lead are simply profiling themselves with the word “leader” and are assuming that just because they have that title they automatically deserve respect. But that’s far from the truth.

Nobody likes to be given orders by somebody they don’t believe in, somebody they don’t respect or someone that just isn’t an inspiration.

This is why knowing how to lead effectively is such a crucial skill in today’s world.

There are a plethora of so-called “leaders” out there who don’t have a clue about leading. Leading is not something you can learn in a fancy university neither is it something that you automatically know how to do once you are in a “leading position”.

Leading is something very natural and very basic.

It doesn’t take much to be a good leader and if you know how to gather people around you and how to make them WANT to do the things you expect you have a golden ticket to success!

So today we are going to take a sneak-peak at how to lead effectively and the keys for being a successful leader.

I know, there is way more to it than we could cover in a simple post and learning to be a leader still takes time and practice. Nevertheless, what you read here will already give you a major advantage at being a great leader.

Rule #1 – You are human

The first rule to being an effective leader is so simple yet so many people seem to fail at it. No matter what your position at work is, no matter how much money you (might) earn – you are still a human being.

Countless times have I encountered superiors who seemingly forgot that they too are just human beings. Treating your inferiors like garbage and not respecting them, not validating their efforts and acting like they are always wrong are surefire ways to instantly kill your ability to inspire and lead them.

Remembering that you are human is, therefore, an invaluable trait in becoming a better leader.

Simply understanding that human beings make mistakes and that your co-workers, subordinates and most importantly yourself are not except from that rule makes people want to collaborate with you way more.

Showing empathy and being able to understand that mistakes WILL happen not only makes you a better leader but also a better person.

Imagine how your group of people whom you are leading will react if you don’t criticize and condemn them for making mistakes but instead you are showing empathy for them.

Forget hierarchies for a second and remember that we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Being able to talk face-to-face with somebody higher up the hierarchy and feeling that you can meet, talk and discuss on an equal footing raises trust.

Trust breeds loyalty and loyalty is what makes people believe in you even when the odds are against you.

Rule #2 – Questions Over Orders

Questions are way more powerful than orders.

Nobody likes to follow orders (at least I don’t). We like to do things out of our own free will and we like to help.

This is why questions could work wonders compared to giving orders. If you are asking somebody if he or she would do something, chances are that they are far more likely to say yes.

That’s because we all regard ourselves as “good people” and believe that we are benevolent and good-willing. It also gives us the feeling of choice, we can choose to say yes or no to a question but saying yes or no to an order most likely ends up in feeling guilty.

Freedom of choice is what questions give us. Fear and guilt is what orders give us.

Following orders makes someone feel inferior. Answering a question makes someone feel equal.

Thus, the next time you are about to rally out some orders, take a second and think about how you could rephrase that order into a question.

Remember that we all have the desire to be useful, to be good and this desire can be filled by questions instead of orders.

Saying yes to a request gives us a feeling of importance and responsibility whereas accepting an order merely gives us a sense of what we HAVE to do.

Freedom over Compulsion. Questions Over Orders.

Rule #3 – A Sense Of Importance

Humans have a desire to be important. This has always been the case and will always be the case. So giving someone a sense of importance is a major key in leading people.

Imagine that you are the manager of a construction company. Your company constructs and builds houses for people to live in. Naturally, you can not do everything by yourself and you would need people with specific skills to build a house. You’ll need a contractor for the territory, construction workers to actually build the house, plumbers to implement and maintain the watering systems and so on. You probably get the point.

Now imagine that everybody in that company has a sense of importance and knows that “I am working on this beautiful house, it will one day serve as a comfortable home for somebody”.

Everyone from the top down in this company knows that and everyone believes in it. How motivated an inspired do you think these workers will treat their daily work, no matter how hard and repeating it may be?

This is why giving people a sense of importance goes a long way in building loyalty and diligence.

If everybody feels that they are contributing an integral and important part of a task then everybody will do their very best. They will take it seriously and are probably willing to do the extra work just to make sure that the end product is satisfying.

Everybody is equally important in the chain of tasks and everybody has an equal chance to contribute to the bigger picture.

Focus on the bigger picture and let people be a part of this cause!

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6 thoughts on “A Surefire Way to be a Leader – How to effectively Lead People

  1. Lorraine Whitworth says:

    Thank you for this information. I was an operations manager for a while and I am also very compassionate in nature. I valued the staff and I achieved successful results by being myself. You don’t have to be loud to get a message across!
    Thank you for this informative post

    Reply
    1. Kofi says:

      Hi Lorraine!

      Yeah you’re right you really don’t have to be loud to get a message across. Simply being yourself does make a huge difference, people can subliminally notice when you are not acting like yourself and try to impose an attitude.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  2. Thais Gomez says:

    This is a good article, I like the way you approached being a leader. Normally, I read things like set goals for the team, improve your communication skills to open the channels of communication with others, mentor, etc. But you explored other areas that are wider and should be the foundation of all the rest. For example, leaders should remember that their team members are human is a good reminder to respect others and treat them in the best possible way. That’s inspiring and would make people respect and follow more their leaders. I wished more politicians would remember this 🙂 I have never been in a position of team leader at work, I’m not sure if I would be a good one because I’m too friendly lol.

    Reply
    1. Kofi says:

      Hi Thais!

      Thanks for the comment! I spoke from my experience in this post because I’ve seen both effective and friendly leaders but also ignorant and rude ones. And I can assure you that it’s always better to be friendly than to be an a*se (excuse my language). Although it’s a bit dangerous at times because if you are too friendly then probably people won’t take you that serious. The key point with being friendly is that it has to be honest and not made up – we have inner senses that detect fakeness pretty fast!

      I hope that if you ever manage to be in a position of team leader that this article will be useful to you.

      Kofi

      Reply
  3. Thomas Lawrence says:

    Hey,

    Great post and thanks for sharing.

    I love Leadership and learning about it but it’s probably one of the toughest things a person could ever do is lead a team. I manage a team of around 30 people for a Train Company in London. They are all Engineers and it’s so hard because they think they know better than everyone. So they make it so difficult for the Leaders.

    Do you have any advice on how to deal with those situations as a Leader, without blowing a gasket?

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    1. Kofi says:

      Hi Tom!

      It is my pleasure to share! You are right it is something very tough although the basic principles are pretty simple. Have you ever thought about what motivates those engineers you are overlooking? My bet is that if it is only the money then of course everyone is just in there for himself and that’s why they act like they know better than everyone.

      I’d probably recommend that you try to figure out a common cause, a bigger picture for everybody to work on so that their motivation for money becomes inspiration for a higher cause! Perhaps you could inspire them with the belief that they are providing a more efficient and more secure future for London’s rail network? Give them a reason WHY they are coming to work bigger than money and you won’t have to blow a gasket (in the end, you are all in this together).

      I hope this could help you!

      Simon

      Reply

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