In my twenties I was lucky enough to be appointed into my first leadership role. I’d had no training in how to be a leader and if truth be told was struggling to really understand who I was. It was important to me that I was liked by peers and team and I also wanted to be successful! Looking back, I suspect I was my supervision was inconsistent and with hindsight, I made some other fundamental errors that stopped me being the leader I wanted to be. How about you? Are you the leader you want to be? Recently, working with a coaching client, got me thinking about, the top three things someone needs to focus on in order to be an effective leader.
Now I know that over time each of us develops our own leadership style, however, broadly the things we need to do have some commonality. Last night I participated in a Twitter chat! A leadership development organisation was asking questions about how leaders should go about leading. The overall sum of the responses was, be true to yourself and live with passion and purpose.
3 steps to being a leader.
Be aware of your impact on others.
As a leader, you need to become aware of how you come across to others. You need to know yourself well. What is really important to you? What really matters? How do you like to work? Once you are clear who you are then it is easier to be authentic. The next step is to share this information with the people you work with. You should also ask them how they like to work. This will help you ensure that you use the best communication method with them. You need to be able to gauge what they need from you, so ask them how they like to be managed. Also ask, what parts of their roles are they confident with? And where they might need support from you?
As a leader, you need to inspire others to follow you. Gone are the days when you can demand people follow you because of your position. If you are not confident then others will struggle to have confidence in what you say. You need to demonstrate positivity and confidence. You need to be able to inspire others. You need to be assertive. However, there is a fine balance between being confident and being arrogant. Make time to listen to what others have to say then the ultimate decision is with you. Have consideration for others, curiosity about their lives and appreciation for their hard work.
Lead by example.
You set the standards and culture by which your team is governed. You need to be willing to not only show the way but also get stuck in and get your hands dirty from time to time. If there are deadlines that need to be met by members of your team, you need to be monitoring them and agreeing on the milestones with the team members. Make clear your expectations of when things need to be done, whilst still encouraging discussion so that you get their view and buy into the deadlines. If it turns out that team members will be working late to complete the work, then you need to decide how you can best support, it could be that you can undertake part of some of the work or maybe you just need to get the coffees or order in the pizza!
So, whilst this is just three things, if you get them right it will have a big impact on your leadership and on your people. In the wise words of John C. Maxwell
‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.’
Leave any comments below, I would love to know what you think.