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Information overload: Concrete steps to become a better boss

If you just Google "leadership advice" today, you will experience an information overload of tips, tricks, and general knowledge about how to become a better leader. While much of it is extremely helpful for improving your managerial style, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is best practice and what is not. Some experts swear by being true to your own personality as a leader, while others urge bosses to adopt an aura of confidence and control.

While neither are necessarily wrong, many leaders today want straightforward advice they can take to become a better manager or team leader. Afterward, they can handle more subjective pieces of advice, such as "not sweating the small stuff" or "being a visionary." For those of you who want to begin taking concrete steps today without the loaded leadership jargon, here are a few simple ways to begin that journey:

Talk with and listen to your team
This step is not as subjective as it sounds. No matter your leadership style, employees need direction and want their voices to be heard. It's as easy as that. On one hand, while certain industries and companies operate best in a continual state of creative ambiguity, the vast majority of companies rely on concrete goals, projects, expectations, and deadlines. You can trust your team and encourage innovation while simultaneously giving them direction and insight. Being a helpful resource for your staff is never a bad idea.

While talking with your team to outline their work is simple, so is being a better listener. Host collaborative sessions with your staff so that they can have the opportunity to share their feelings, opinions, ideas and more in a comfortable, safe setting. If your employees feel like their voices are heard, you have done your job.

Show your employees you appreciate them
Though how you follow this through looks differently at every company, the essential nature of it remains the same. Meeting with employees one-on-one, providing incentive opportunities, handing out rewards and planning fun activities in and outside of work are all excellent ways to show your staff you care about their well-being, while boosting office engagement.

To begin taking this step today, schedule 5, 10, or 15-minute sessions with each of your employees next week to encourage them. Let them know what they are doing right and even how they can continue to grow. Essentially, you want to build up your employees' strengths and position them for success, not failure. If you work in a smaller office, you can even handle out personal cards or treats as well.

Practice makes perfect - or at least better
Maybe you are a nervous public speaker or tend to ramble when writing company emails - today is the day to change that! Being a good boss is not only about changing the way you interact with your staff, but it is about improving yourself as well. To begin, take communication classes to boost your speaking skills or proofread each of your emails. While there are some people who are naturally gifted with extraordinary leadership ability, the vast majority are not. While practice does not always ensure perfection, it can at least help you improve.

While not everyone on your team or department will love you 100 percent of the time, so long as you are following these suggestions, you will be on your way to becoming a better boss. At ProSolutions Training, we are passionate about helping professionals succeed in advancing their career and knowledge of their field. Contact us today to learn about our online child care courses or social services training!