Anyone can become a manager, a supervisor, or a business executive.
However, having a good title isn’t the same as being an effective leader.
As a CIO, COO, or CEO, you could have the power to transform the dynamics of your workplace and improve how people work together.
It’s what you do with that power that determines whether or not you’re a good leader.
Unfortunately, it’s often much easier for today’s business leaders to tell their employees to do as they’re told, rather than guiding them into a better way of work.
Finding the right balance between controlling the environment that you’re managing and becoming a dictator can be a difficult task. It’s not something that everyone can do successfully without help.
If you’re ready to make a positive impact on your workplace, here’s how you can make a start, without moving too far in the wrong direction.
The Difference Between Authoritarian and Authoritative
The first step in becoming a successful leader is understanding the difference between being authoritative and authoritarian. While the two terms sound very similar, they refer to two very different leadership styles.
Let’s start with the authoritarian leader. This is the “Do as I say” kind of manager that takes a single dictatorship approach to managing the workforce.
As a professional at the head of a specific group or team, it’s important for you to know what kind of authority you have and take ownership of that. You will need to make decisions and be firm. However, it’s common to let this go too far.
Authoritarian leaders often spark distrust and unrest in their teams, because they refuse to listen to anyone that they’re leading.
They make choices based entirely on their own ideas and don’t accept criticism or input. This means that your team members often feel as though their expertise and knowledge is overlooked.
Alternatively, an authoritative leader takes a very different approach.
Considered the best leadership style in many scenarios, authoritative professionals work with their teams to achieve common goals.
They still lead and make important decisions, but they also listen to the feedback of their employees, and pivot according to the needs of the group. It’s these kinds of leaders that ignite enthusiasm in the people that follow them.
So, how do you use the authoritative leader style to control workplace dynamics in a positive way?
Address Problems Quickly
Problems happen all the time in a business environment.
There will be moments when employees clash, or when strategies aren’t working according to your expectations. When problems occur, don’t just tell your employees to fix them, or demand that the issue be addressed according to your guidelines.
Sit down and speak with the people involved. Find out what’s happening from the perspective of the people who are engaged with the issue. These employees and team members are likely to have insights that you couldn’t possibly have gleaned from the outside looking in.
Once you’ve gathered information, you can suggest a resolution based on what you’ve learned from your team. Also, you can help your employees to implement that strategy too.
For instance, if you’re failing to reach deadlines because employees are under too much pressure, you could take some tasks off their plate and delegate them to other members of staff.
Build the Right Team Culture
Building a good team culture is one of the best ways that any leader can ensure that they have the right workplace dynamic in place.
Team culture isn’t just another buzzword in today’s environment, it’s an insight into what makes your employees feel more comfortable and supported int heir roles.
Think about how you want your staff to feel when they come into the workplace each day. If you want your employees to think outside of the box more often and deliver creative ideas, then reward them for sharing their ideas with the group by giving prizes out in weekly brainstorming sessions.
If you want the people in your team to prioritize supporting their team members, then encourage that by investing in team-building exercises that strengthen the relationships between individuals and get rid of unhealthy competition.
Concentrate on Communication
Part of creating a workplace that supports success, wellbeing, and enthusiasm for work, is concentrating on communication.
Open communication between your team members will allow them to share ideas and build relationships more successfully. However, it’s important to make sure you’re allowing for open communication between different levels of staff too.
Rather than just giving your team members an email address where they can reach you when they need you, make sure that they always have a way to arrange a time to meet with you face-to-face.
You don’t have to have an open-door policy all day. However, have certain times of the day or week when you’re wandering around the office and interacting with team members. Setting up your office in a way that breaks down physical barriers between you and the rest of your staff can also help to break down the communication barriers at play too.
An open layout can easily make the manager of a space feel more approachable while encouraging more communication between team members too.
Pay Attention to Your Team
As part of the leadership team for your organization, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Look out for unacceptable behaviors that are harming your dynamic, including groupthink and buying. This will help you address these problems more immediately when they happen.
Be ready to reinforce and reward positive behaviors like successful collaboration and idea-sharing. Remember, excellent group dynamics are essential to facilitating employee satisfaction and productivity while giving your teams the support they need to reach their targets.
However, it’s up to you as a leader to ensure that the dynamics in your workplace continue to be effective and productive. Be authoritative and inspiring, but don’t become a dictator.
Guest post courtesy of Lisa Michaels