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Contributing Author: Courtney Gordner
Whether you're the head of a department or the president of an entire company, it is often difficult to be an effective leader.
As a leader, you are both the person others should look to for support, as well as the person who will decide their fate.
All too often, people are intimidated by their leaders — they may have excellent questions or ideas, but are afraid to approach the person in charge.
In addition, leaders often must make difficult decisions for their group. Inevitably, some of these decisions will be unpopular, but if your colleagues can discuss the matter with you, they will better understand and respect your choice.
Thus, approachability and effectiveness often go hand in hand.
Here are five effective ways to be a more open and a less intimidating leader.
1. Earn the Trust of Others
Out of all of your friends and family, who are you most likely to talk to when you have a problem?
It may be your mother, an old friend or even your roommate, but no matter what, it has to be someone your trust.
All successful relationships, including business ones, are based on trust. If your colleagues don't think you can keep a secret or use discretion, they won't trust you with information or allow you to make important decisions.
2. Respect Each Other
If you're new to leadership, don't think your employees will trust you automatically.
You have to earn their respect.
While you’re at work, present yourself as a knowledgeable and motivated team player.
Do your fair share of work, but don't be afraid to delegate tasks to the appropriate persons.
Trust and respect — if you have faith in your employees to do a good job, there's a good chance they'll have faith in your leadership.
3. Be Knowledgeable
If you want your employees to trust and respect you, they have to think you know what you're talking about.
As a leader, it's important to have a good idea of how company systems work.
You should also have a basic idea of how the market for each of your products works, as well as how they perform against their competitors.
Furthermore, you should know current events, especially when they pertain to your industry. That way, when a colleague or employee wants to discuss a specific product or service, you'll be able to hold your own in the conversation.
4. Learn to Relax
If you're tense and stressed out all the time, no one is going to feel comfortable talking to you.
Employees may avoid you unless directly confronted and they might even be afraid to ask questions. That’s why it’s imperative to have a calm, relaxed demeanor whenever you're in the office.
If you're often tense or lose your temper easily, you may want to consider therapy or another method to help calm yourself down. Little things like adding a meditation routine to your daily schedule can make a big difference.
5. Be Open to Advice
If you want your employees to share their ideas, opinions and questions, you have to let them know you're open to feedback and willing to make changes that benefit the company.
You'll never be able to please everyone, but if you never take others' ideas seriously, you won't be an effective leader.
Let others know their opinions matter and that you'll do your best to incorporate their ideas when appropriate. Soon, you’ll find your employees are approaching you with suggestions more often.
Once you start applying the tips above to be a more approachable and effective leader, you will develop healthier relationships with your team.
Recommended Resources to be a More Approachable Leader:
About the Contributing Author:
Courtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist with a passion for writing and the latest trends online. You can read more from her on her blog: http://talkviral.com/. You can even connect with Courtney on Google+ and on Twitter: @CourtGordner
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