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Be a leader and not just a boss.  We hear all the cliché’s about not just being a boss but be a leader to your team, but how many of your “leaders” really listen?  All boss’s, I believe have the desire to be a great leaders, but what are some simple ways to gain the respect of your team and give them the desire to give 100% each and every day they walk through that door?

To be a leader it’s not about being a friend to your team but being a support system. Sometimes our team members need a shoulder for support or a hand to lift them up.  A leader does not turn their back on their team member if they are in need, you will gain their respect by being available to listen.  Listen to your team don’t just hear them.  Checking your texts, voicemails and emails while they are talking to you is not only rude but will make the team member feel like they are an afterthought.

Give them freedom to make mistakes. It is unrealistic to believe we as leaders can control everything, or that we know it all.  Embrace the team’s knowledge; give them your knowledge, and give them the opportunity to develop processes that work for their specific work style. Leaders cannot do it alone.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Our teams are not our whipping posts.  If you’re having a bad day, sending an email out may not be the best idea.  You will drive down morale with the click of a button.  Instead, keep it to yourself until you can see more clearly.

It is not the team’s job to adjust to your leadership style, it is your job to adjust to their learning style.  I have an extremely diverse team, not just ethnically or culturally, but age ranges and personalities.  When guiding them through projects or conflict resolution, I put on a different hat for each individual.

To be a great leader it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be “great”.  But the hard work pays off when you see that 20 year old excel in ways you never thought imaginable or that rough around the edges, anti-social team member take a lead on a project and shine!  It’s all worth it, just be patient with yourself and with your team.