5 ways to be a better leader

Team meets Team meets Team meets Team meets

Key takeaways

Build trust, model boundaries, consider wellbeing, connect with employees, and paint a compelling picture of the future to become a better leader in your organization.

The new year is a perfect time to look to the future, reflect on what you can do better, and set goals to become a better business leader. Check out these five ways to become a better leader whether for a team of two or a huge organization.  

1. Build trust with your team.
As a leader, you need to trust that your team is doing their best every day, and they need to trust your decisions are in the best interest of the team and the organization. Two-way trust can improve your team culture and provide employees the autonomy they need to succeed. 

How can you build trust with your employees? 

  • Make personal connections,
  • Be transparent, 
  • Encourage rather than demand,
  • Show appreciation, 
  • Give credit,  
  • Avoid favoritism, and 
  • show competence.

No leader is perfect but practicing these skills can reinforce your trustworthiness. 

2. Perform a wellbeing temperature check.
During economic unrest, your team is likely feeling some anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. These feelings can be compounded by remote work, which is associated with an increased likelihood of anxiety and depression symptoms—and can also be associated with an increased risk of substance use disorder

Improving team wellbeing is an ongoing task, but it may benefit you to perform a wellbeing audit that gauges the wants, needs and challenges your team faces. Keep in mind that workplace wellness could look different for employees of different generations; for example, for millennial and gen z workers, flexibility and greater work-life balance are critical. Other teammates may be juggling caregiving for both kids and their aging parents.

3. Model healthy boundaries. 
Are you setting a good example when it comes to maintaining healthy boundaries for your workload and working hours? If you’re taking on longer-than-healthy hours and burdensome workloads, it can negatively impact your mental and physical health, and will inevitably impact your team, whether by way of missed emails and communication or more serious issues. 

In 2024, focus on setting healthy boundaries for yourself, which will empower your team to do the same. 

4. Improve your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) 
Your business emotional intelligence—or EQ—is your ability to recognize, understand and manage your emotions, as well as those of others, in the workplace. As a leader, it’s important for you to understand and master your business EQ because you set the tone for your team. A lack of emotional intelligence can impact your decision-making abilities and management style. 

The first step in mastering your business EQ is understanding your EQ. Begin by taking a few EQ tests that appraise your emotional intelligence and help you understand your areas of attention.

5. Paint a compelling picture of the future 
How clear is the picture of where you’re going to your team? How will it feel? What will be better? How will customers “win” and how will your team? Do they know or is it ambiguous? 

Your vision is the guiding star for your team. Ensure you make time for yourself and your team to dream about what could be while you all work hard on the day-to-day.

A wealth of research suggests daydreaming can fuel creativity, innovation, ideation and vision. For some, that may mean scheduling time for seclusion and introspection. Others may find their creativity is sparked by activities like walking or hiking. Whatever it looks like for you, make space to think ahead so you can lead your team with clear direction. 

Leadership in 2024 is an intricate balance between timeless principles and contemporary demands. Embrace these tips to create a lasting impact on your team, organization, and the ever-evolving world around you.