A dream pay package and six-hour working day won’t make up for a dictator-like manager screaming down the office every afternoon. You can provide all the incentives in the world, but for most employees a job is either made or broken by a boss.

Still, knowing how to be a good boss is difficult, especially since the title itself can be authoritarian and off-putting. It’s why most discussions on workplace relationships today refer to leaders instead of bosses.

Where bosses command and micromanage, leaders inspire and believe in others. They’re the backbone of every thriving company – just look at Richard Branson and Virgin.

As the person in charge, your focus should be on motivating colleagues instead of bossing them around. After all, strong and confident leadership will turn a group of talented individual employees into a motivated and effective team.

We’ve identified three vital steps to help you successfully lead your employees in a style Branson would be proud of.

Invest in your skills set

Your natural leadership qualities might have gotten you this far, but you don’t have to rely on innate motivational and organisational abilities as your career progresses. Working on any weak spots or gaps in your knowledge will allow you to be the strongest leader possible.

Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, find inhouse or outside sources of training to tackle them. Distance learning is a great option that’ll let you study around your existing schedule, and you’ll end up with an extra qualification to add to your CV.

With masters in healthcare management and project management to name a few, providers like Anglia Ruskin University have plenty of courses for improving your leadership skills whatever your career.

Enable the potential in others

It’s up to you to make sure that everyone in your team works to their full potential. In fact, it’s your biggest responsibility as a leader. There’s no blanket approach that’ll work for every individual and their varying needs, so learning how to tailor your favourite motivational methods is key.

Top leaders of business are emotionally intelligent, meaning they’re able to identify what each individual employee will respond to most positively and use this to improve working relationships.

Whether it’s taking someone out of their comfort zone or reinforcing positive feedback with one-on-one meetings, working on your emotional intelligence and self-awareness will allow you to make the executive call on what’ll work best.

Work on your communication skills

Proper communication is an essential component of being a strong leader, and listening to colleagues is the best place to start. Nobody enjoys meetings with a boss who steamrolls everyone else’s ideas and spends the rest of the time talking non-stop about other people’s failures.

Talking less and paying more attention will give you invaluable insight into the general morale and atmosphere of the office. When you’re talking one on one with individuals make sure you practise the art of active listening by giving them your undivided attention, no matter how busy you are.

When it does come to delegating jobs, asking instead of barking orders is far more likely to get employees on your side. It basically boils down to treating everyone with respect.

Viewing yourself as a leader rather than a boss will create a cooperative, friendly and productive team atmosphere that’ll benefit everyone. Remember to keep working on your leadership skills and you could end up creating a brand to rival even Virgin.

Download the eBook and learn how to use neuroscience to attract the right talent, retain high-performing employees and foster collaborative teams.

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