Leader versus Boss
Much has been written and debated about how to effectively manage a team.
There are different types of leadership. Some people in higher positions will choose to lead by fear and power, preferring only top-down communication. On the other hand, other leaders prefer to empower their employees, challenge their skills and listen to their feedback. What kind of a manager are you? Do you lead by example?
In terms of the qualities of a great leader, much attention has been put to find that ‘perfect mix’. For example, they constantly expect more from themselves and find new challenges; have positive mindsets; are not deterred by failure; and they focus on getting things done.
Becoming a leader
Do you have any of these qualities? Rethink your role as a team manager – it’s no longer “my way or the highway”. In today’s business world, authoritarian leadership doesn’t do as well. Especially in a team environment, people want to feel valued and have their input in a team rather than take commands. So don’t boss – lead.
Here are a few ways to immediately implement effective leadership skills:
- Encourage team members to suggest solutions, and participate in decisions.
- Reinforce the company’s (and team’s) vision and mission, and keep them focused on achieving them.
- Communicate and convey instructions and concepts with open ears to the suggestions of team members
- Set performance standards that are clear, attainable and measurable.
- Motivate and inspire individuals by recognizing, praising and rewarding achievement – create an atmosphere of enthusiasm.
Remember: the essence of a team is common commitment. By collaborating, individual team members achieve synergy by performing as a powerful unit of collective performance – the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. As a manager, you can effectively coach your team to achieve this!
10 ways to be a better leader
1. Meet with each team member.
Have the meetings on a regular basis to identify what that member can do to become more effective, and what you can do to help.
2. Don’t wait for a formal performance review.
If you notice that someone is extremely underperforming, don’t hesitate to confront poor performance – take action as soon as you notice it. By being direct with the individual, you can discuss the issue openly and suggest ways on how to act against it.
3. Keep a running record of each associate’s progress.
Include examples of successes and failures – note areas where improvement is needed and specify recommendations for growth.
4. Build confidence.
Firstly give team members small tasks and work up to more complex ones. This gradual progression will make your team members motivated as they will achieve ‘quick wins’ by achieving the smaller tasks. That will be highly motivating and also it will prepare them for the bigger, more complex projects.
5. Encourage slower learners.
If someone is learning slowly, it doesn’t mean that they are unproductive. Praise their efforts and reinforce training to help them find their optimal way of working.
6. Focus on one goal at a time.
Help team members build their skills by tackling their objectives one by one. By focusing their attention on one problem or project, they would be able to complete it to a higher standard. They also won’t feel overwhelmed by having too many projects to juggle at a time.
7. Be a role model to associates.
Be an example to other team members and associates, by practicing healthy work habits such as organizing your workplace, effective time management and excellent listening skills.
8. Share your resources.
Pass on tips, information and ideas you acquire to team members. Your team members might give you a different perspective on an idea or information and also the team will bond better.
9. Assign responsibility.
By delegating tasks and making people responsible, your team members might feel more valued and important to the team.
10. Ask open-ended questions (and listen to the answers).
By asking open-ended questions, you will receive an answer based on personal interpretation. These answers can give you unique insight and might help you solve difficult scenarios. Also, you will gain a better understanding of your team members by listening to what they have to say.
Managing a team of diverse, talented, and multi-faceted individuals can be a daunting task. However, with the right attitude and approach you can become an inspired leader and motivate your team to achieve results that surpass your goals.
What kind of team leader are you? Do you empower your team members? Drop a comment below!