How to Develop Positive Leadership Styles

With the changing landscape and work environment, effective leadership is now more important than ever before. More and more employees are leaving great companies over just one thing – bad bosses.

A recent study conducted by staffing agency Robert Half found that nearly half of all professionals chose to leave a job because of a bad boss. While we’re on the subject, let’s discuss the term ‘boss’. What are the images or feelings that come to mind? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s nothing good!

I much prefer the role of a leader over the role of a boss. A boss will teach you what to do. A leader will show you how and why to do it. Rather than relying on power and control, leaders use influence and inspiration to elevate those around them. Instead of being concerned with what they can get out of their employees, positive leaders are constantly looking for opportunities to invest in those they work with.

Positive leaders build trust, which results in better performance, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. When the people you work with feel valued, they are open to sharing their best ideas and working towards creative solutions.

Anyone who has ever had a bad boss will shudder just thinking of the level of stress they may have endured. In fact, a survey conducted by Officevibe found that:

  • Three out of four employees say their boss is the most stressful part of their job
  • When employees don’t feel valued by their boss, 50 percent look for a job within the next year
  • 65 percent of employees say they’d rather have a new boss over a pay raise

As leaders, we have a responsibility to make the world a better place. Developing positive leadership means to switch your attention to increasing the “positive capacity” of your environment. This is not just the “nice” thing to do for the sake of improving morale, but it leads to a measurable increase in performance, and will benefit you, your clients, your staff, and your community and maybe even the world!

So, to answer the big question: What differentiates positive leaders from the rest? 

Here’s how you can put this into practice:

1. Practice open, honest communication

Honest communication in the workplace is essential for building healthy relationships with people, and it is also likely to create an overall more positive environment. Always remember to listen to input from members of your organization, and if it is feasible, implementing it will show that you value the thoughts and expertise of your employees. 

With effective communication, you don’t just need to be a great listener, but you also need to be open with your employees and keep them up to date with anything important taking place in the office that could impact them. Most employees know that things will not always be smooth sailing. And no one likes to work with Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. If you’re honest and open, your team will develop stronger feelings of loyalty and trust because they can relate to you. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the little personal details of your life, but being more open about certain things will strengthen the bond of the team.

2. Don’t let emotions get the better of you

Although we can’t control our feelings, we can always control our reaction to those feelings which is our emotional display. The reason is that emotions play a huge role in decision-making, creativity and interpersonal relationships. Yet many leaders are uncomfortable with the topic of emotions or are unaware of its influence and impact on leadership, organizational culture and performance.

Allowing fear or stress to consume you and degrade your communication with others can damage employee motivation and morale. Remaining calm and in control is a hallmark of a strong leader. You don’t need to shut down emotions, in fact, it’s the opposite. Learn how to make your emotions work for you by being empathetic and kind at all times, but calm in the face of difficult situations

3. Don’t shy away from difficult situations

Facing conflict and disagreement in the workplace is never the nicest job as a leader, but it is definitely your responsibility to do your best to deal with it appropriately to make sure everyone has the best outcome. 

For example, whether or not you like it, at some point, it will be your job to either recommend that someone leave your organization or you are going to have to move someone on yourself. Your ability to calmly make these decisions for the better of the organization is the mark of true leadership.

4. Positive Leadership will take Practice

As a leader, taking time to focus on your own mental health and well-being is one of the most important things you can do to support your success. Neglecting your emotions will never help. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and take time for yourself. It will not just help you tremendously, but as a leader, you will be setting an important example by demonstrating that it’s OK to take care of yourself.

When leaders create an environment where people feel good about themselves and the part that each one plays in the organization’s larger mission, people feel good at work. They will feel happy. Happy people focused on creating great experiences are the very best competitive advantage you’ll ever have in the marketplace.