10 ways you can become an effective leader (and be happy)

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Have you ever wondered what makes an effective leader?

Leigh Howes is a qualified Executive Coach specialising in leadership, business coaching, mentoring and consultancy.

Here are her thoughts on ten ways you can become more effective and happier whilst still taking charge and inspiring those around you:

I am a firm believer that leaders increase their impact (and happiness) by developing two important skills, curiosity, and self-awareness.

Whilst there are many successful leaders achieving big results, a question I always ask my clients is ‘how consciously are you leading yourself and your team?’  Greater consciousness means higher levels of curiosity and self-awareness and greater engagement with those you lead. Empowering them to make their own decisions whilst you take them on the journey with you to the intended destination.

Start by reflecting on what HAPPY looks like for you

Your Happy List is an important temperature check as you evolve on your leadership journey. In work or outside of work. Focusing on the result is important, but what about the journey? There is little point in driving the best super car, if you loathe the work you do to have it and if driving that car means you miss out on time doing what matters most, then what is the point?

Get clear on your direction (personally and professionally)

Where are you heading, when you close your eyes, what do you see? Vision as a leader is critical. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you are on the right track to get there, and that your personal and professional goals align?

Get clarity on your strengths

The things that light you up in your work, which energise you. Do you know what they are and are you doing enough of them day to day?

Get clarity on the holes in your boat

As much as it’s important to know your strengths, it’s vital to know what the performance risks are to you and your business. Some of these holes will sit above the water line (and need awareness but not necessarily immediate attention). However, some will sit beneath the water line and are critical to address. What needs to be actioned now to prevent your boat from sinking?

Review the structure of your team

If you were to start again from scratch, what roles would you hire for? Re-do your organisation chart with fresh eyes to ensure that the seats you need full will enable you ALL to reach the destination.

Consider the team you have in place now

Where are their strengths? What lights them up? What could you do to leverage their strengths more? Are they on the right seats on the bus? Perhaps they would perform even better in a different role that you hadn’t even considered? When you and your team are all leveraging strengths, it can be a gamechanger on engagement and performance.

Open the communication with your team

Get curious. Involve them in your goal setting, strategy, and the journey to get there. Remember the quieter ones in your team who may have some of the greatest ideas and creativity and not be speaking out. Be sure to create a safe space where everyone feels heard, supported, and developed.

Be honest

If there is an issue address it privately and respectfully. Do not shy away from the difficult conversations. If you leave issues unresolved, you run the risk of creating bigger problems further down the line.

Get curious about what you want and need to perform at your best

The opportunities to work differently are all around us. Don’t be afraid to disrupt the norm, challenge the status quo and lead from the front. By being more curious, you can sense check what would make your team happy and engaged and really take them on the journey. Don’t assume anything. Often it isn’t the fancy office and ping pong table, it is that you remember when their birthday is, that they are going through a challenging time, and you remember the name of their dog. Take a genuine interest in them.

Take time out from work and encourage those around you to do the same

Take your holidays, switch off outside of work, look at how you can encourage both physical and mental breaks in the workplace. Being switched on all the time isn’t healthy for any of us. As a leader, you cannot pour from an empty cup, and neither can your team.

Leigh HowesAbout the author

Leigh Howes is a qualified Executive Coach specialising in Leadership and Business Coaching, Mentoring and Consultancy to service-based businesses. With over 20 years’ experience in partnering and advising hundreds of high performing leaders, she has encouraged them to embrace change, elevate performance and realise their potential. Her book, Foundations to Lead From is written for owners of businesses to help them transform how they think, feel, and lead their ventures. It shares ten questions to help put in place solid foundations for freedom, growth, success (and more happiness) and is perfect for those just starting their journey, or who are stuck, have lost the joy and are ready to change. It is available from Amazon and all good bookstores now.

FOUNDATIONS to lead from: QUESTIONS that will transform how you think, feel and lead your business | Leigh Howes

Get set up for success YOUR way.

For the ambitious owner-managed business who wants in place solid foundations for growth, success (and more happiness!)

Whether you are just starting the journey or are stuck and lost the joy; this is a great kickstart.

‘Foundations to lead from’ is the missing piece of the jigsaw that will help you set up your business in a way that works for you and empowers the leader in you to emerge. It guides you through important questions that challenge your thinking and where needed, provokes change. You will be boldly shifted into the captain’s chair to get foundations in place, so your business is set up for success YOUR way.

Whilst predominately focusing on the foundations in your business, it unapologetically tackles the CEO Elephant in the room and the niggling leader stereotypes that may be holding you back from achieving your true potential.

Shining a bright, honest light on your current reality and giving you permission, inspiration, and golden nuggets of knowledge to develop as the leader your business needs you to be. ‘Foundations to lead from’ aims to open your mind to change so you feel enabled to set (or reset) your business for success, with your happiness at its core.

Are you ready for different?

Foundations to Lead - Leigh Howes
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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