At Extra Space Storage, we know that good companies are built on strong leadership. Studies show that a company’s leadership can have a significant impact on employee performance and can even lead to higher profits. But what makes a good leader? Below are nine qualities and habits good leaders embrace that lead to better and more inclusive work environments for employees.
Be a Team Player
Good leaders act as part of their team. Even if you’re in a position of authority, it’s important to treat your teammates as your coworkers, not subordinates. Knowing that you’re on their level can help your team feel more comfortable around you, which can foster better communication, a sense of trust, and good morale.
Stay Open to New Ideas
One of the best ways to be an effective leader in the workplace is to encourage collaboration. Recognize that each person on your team brings a unique mindset and set of skills to the table, and capitalize on this fact by letting them know you’re interested in what they have to say. Hearing out their thoughts and ideas may just lead to improvements within your team or business as a whole.
Ask for Feedback
When talking with or meeting with members of your team, ask if there’s anything they need from you or if there’s something you can do to help create a better working environment for them. Listening to the concerns of your team shows compassion and that you genuinely care about their experience. Opening this dialogue can also help you understand how to become a better leader from your team’s perspective.
Communicate Expectations Clearly
Setting expectations is one of the main duties of leaders. Your team needs to understand what you’re asking of them in order to do their best work. The ability to communicate clearly is an essential quality for team leaders and can lead to less frustration and fewer roadblocks for everyone involved. Allow opportunities for your team to ask questions and seek clarification, and make yourself available for one-on-one meetings when possible.
Seek Out Learning Opportunities
Being a life-long learner is a key trait of effective leaders. In-person and online job training, leadership conferences, and other such opportunities are all great avenues for becoming a better leader. Pursuing these learning opportunities can help you stay equipped as expectations, technology, and tools in the workplace change over time. It can also help ensure your team recognizes you as a continued authority in your field.
Lead by Example
One of the strengths of a good leader is to be able to model what they expect from their team. Actions speak louder than words, so performing according to the same standard you hold for your team is a great way to encourage better and consistent results in the workplace. It also shows your team that you’re in the work with them, even though your job responsibilities and title are elevated.
Help the Team See the Big Picture
When your team knows the higher purpose of what you’re doing, they’ll likely be more motivated to do a good job. Good leaders understand how to give employees a sense of purpose. If possible, consider showing them the direct results of their work so they can understand how their contributions—both individually and as part of a team—fit in with your company’s mission.
Give Credit Where It’s Due
A very simple leadership skill is being able to acknowledge the skills and achievements of others. Don’t shy away from offering praise and positive reinforcement when your team does a good job. Let them know their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and you can likely expect continued good work in the future.
Foster Inclusive Environments
Inclusivity is essential to a healthy workplace, so great team leaders should be allies to all. Set clear boundaries around behavior, establish zero-tolerance policies for bigotry, and be a positive example for your team. Doing so allows all members of your team to feel safe, respected, and comfortable at work.
Interested in a career with Extra Space Storage? Learn more about our employment opportunities.