7 leadership qualities to develop in the Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Sheep in 2015. Beginning on 19 February, the Lunar New Year is a second chance to make good on those work-related resolutions you had hoped to implement back on New Year’s Day. In the spirit of fresh starts, why not resolve to be a good shepherd to your flock at work?


Here are key leadership qualities you should be displaying this year.

1. Support collaboration

Encourage staff of all levels and experience to contribute thoughts, ideas and feedback in team meetings, workshops and brainstorming sessions. When possible, get staff to work together and support one another on projects. Collaboration helps build work relationships and inspires creativity and communication.

2. Listen

Don’t always be the talker and the leader. Fight the urge to talk over, cut off or dismiss others, regardless of whether it’s your colleague, client, personal assistant or manager – it’s rude and disrespectful. Make a concerted effort to actually listen to what people are saying. What you hear may just surprise you.

3. Lead by example

Whether it’s too many long lunch breaks, poor punctuality or not carrying their part of the workload, setting the tone for what’s considered acceptable work practice and behaviour lies with you. Your employees will respect the rules more if you practise what you preach.

4. Stamp out negativity

Gossiping and bullying are schoolyard fodder and really have no place in the office. If you’re aware of this happening, address it quickly and professionally before it festers and becomes bigger and more damaging than it should be. Likewise, if an employee is unhappy at the company and making it loud and clear, schedule in a time to talk to them about it. Negativity is toxic and can lower morale, productivity and workplace happiness.

5. Be inspirational

The best leaders – and managers – are those who love what they do. They believe in the business and are committed, passionate and hardworking. If your staff members identify these qualities within you, they’ll aspire to practise them themselves.

6. Give praise when it’s due

If you know that a staff member has been working hard, acknowledge it. Yes, winning accounts, delivering work on time and making sure the clients are looked after may all be part of their job, but there’s a lot to be said for a word of praise or a note of thanks. If the employee’s efforts are long term and consistent, the gesture could be grander – say, in the form of a promotion or a pay rise. Valuing your staff is how smart companies retain their best players.

7. Know when and how to delegate

Micromanaging can show an inability to trust your staff’s skills and capabilities, while handing over too much responsibility can lead to stress and overworking. Knowing when and how much to delegate is a fine art – master it and your staff will thank you for it. A strong and productive team starts with a great manager. Develop these leadership qualities to help you be the best one you can be.

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