Yesterday I went over section 1 Surround Yourself with Experts and section 2 Understanding Where Conflict Comes From and today I’ll finish with sections 3 and 4.

Section 3: Being a Positive Leader
Being a leader is difficult and it requires many traits and skills. The most important of these is a positive attitude. Your mental attitude will determine how you experience every aspect of your life, including how you run your business. It will also have a tremendous influence on how you act as a leader and how well you are able to influence your employees. Even though maintaining a positive attitude on a daily basis can be a tricky thing to do, it is one of the most important aspects of being a good leader and it will have many positive effects on your business.

#1- Smile a lot.
One of the simplest ways to maintain a positive mental attitude on a daily basis is simply to smile a lot around the office. When you smile it causes other people to smile and generally displays a happy and positive attitude that others will emulate.

#2- Find good things to say to other people.
People like compliments and the simple act of saying something nice to someone can go a long way towards changing their attitude and their performance. The more you work to find nice things to say about people the easier it will be to come up with things.

#3- A positive attitude will increase productivity.
Happy workers are productive workers. The happier and more adjusted your employees are the harder they will work and the more productive your company will be.

#4- You don’t need to be unrealistically upbeat.
Maintaining your positive attitude day in and day out can be very difficult, especially when the stresses and strains of everyday life get in the way. Your employees will look to you during the tough times and act the way you do. If you are positive and upbeat they will be too. That being said you don’t need to be unrealistically upbeat all of the time, or else you may seem fake. Even in the most trying of times a simple change in perception or recognition of something positive can make a world of difference.

#5- Focus on only the things that you can change.
Again, it doesn’t make sense to try to change things that are beyond your control. Focus on altering only the things that are within your power to change and work on how you perceive the things you cannot change.

#6- Give credit where credit is due.
One of the best things that you can do to create a positive working environment is to give credit to your employees when it is due. No one can do it all themselves, so when the company is doing well it is because of the hard work of all of the employees. Giving credit when it is deserved will increase worker morale and encourage them to keep up the good work.

#7- Whenever possible give credit in front of others.
When you do give an employee credit for their hard work, try to say positive things to them in front of other employees and even customers. This increases the praise for the employee and portrays a positive attitude for other people to see. It also increases the image that you are indeed a positive leader.

#8- Empower your employees by allowing them to make their own decisions.
You chose to hire your employees because of their various skills and traits. Now is the time to empower them to do their jobs by trusting them to make their own decisions. Believe that they are doing their best to help the company achieve its goals and let them do their job.

#9- Don’t second-guess your employees decisions.
Even if a specific decision turns out to be a wrong one it is never a good idea to second-guess it. No one likes to be second-guessed and it will ruin the trust you have built up with your employees. Instead of constantly securitizing your worker’s decisions, hear them out. Ask why they made a particular decision under the circumstances and use it as a training opportunity.

#10- Deal with any problems directly and honestly.
The best way to deal with any problems with your employees is to be both direct and honest. You don’t need to crush someone’s spirits, nor do you have to pad them with compliments or sugar coat it for them. Direct honesty will get you far more respect and it will help you to more effectively deal with the problem.

#11- Never reprimand an employee in front of others.
Sometimes being a boss means that you have to ‘be the bad guy’ and reprimand an employee. In addition to being direct and honest with your reprimands, be sure to do them in private. Your employee will respect that and it will help to keep the office attitude positive.

#12- Do nice things for your employees sometimes.
Actions definitely speak louder than words. Every now and then show your workers that you really do appreciate them by doing something nice for them. Just going the extra mile occasionally can make a world of difference.

Section 4: Listening Skills
Developing your listening skills is one of the most important things you can do to become a good leader and boss. Your employees are a valuable part of your organization and they deserve to be heard. Not only will taking the time to really listen to your workers improve their morale and how they think of you as a boss, but it will also help you to better understand what is really going on at your business. Listening can also open new doors and ideas, which will increase productivity.

#1- Let people finishing talking before you begin to speak.
This is a simple yet effective way to improve your listening skills. Simply let the person finish their point before you intervene. Try not to think about objections to their points while they are talking and don’t assume you know
what they are going to say before they say it.

#2- Acknowledge the other person’s points.
You don’t have to agree with their points, but you should at least acknowledge that you understand them. Repeat the person’s main concerns in your own words after they have finished speaking in order to acknowledge that you have truly heard and understood them.

#3- Sometimes just listening can be enough.
In some cases you may not have to take any action to resolve the person’s problem. Sometimes simply listening to their problems and acknowledging that you understand can be enough. Hearing out an employee can often help them feel empowered and significant, which may end up fixing the problem on its own.

#4- Let your employees know that you are available.
Being a good listener also means making sure that people know that you are accessible. Make sure that your employees know that you are willing to listen to them when necessary and that you are available to do so.

#5- Remember that your employees are people.
It is always a good idea to remember that your employees are people and that they will have bad days and problems of their own. Of course it is the employee’s responsibility to deal with their own personal issues outside of work, but it never hurts to remember that they are indeed humans. Your employees are not just cogs in your business’s wheel- they are actually the heart and soul of your company and deserve to be treated as such.