In business, today we seem to focus more on the exciting parts of our work—innovation and creativity—and less on the day-to-day requirements of leadership. It’s great when you have an organization that’s all about speed, agility, innovation, and creative thought, but it’s your job as the leader to make sure that people understand the vision, that the work’s getting done, that the necessary results are being achieved. Without leadership, you won’t have coherence or consistency—or success.
A great leader needs an extensive set of skills, from planning and delegation to communication and motivation. It’s tempting to focus your growth and development on the areas where you’re already comfortable or those that offer the most excitement. But for long-term success, it’s wise to analyze your skills across the board and challenge yourself to improve in every area.
Here are some of the most important everyday things you can do to lead your team well:
Maintain good communication. As a leader, you have to keep everyone informed about projects, goals, and deadlines, so it’s essential that you communicate well. When you are open with your team they’ll be open with you, creating opportunity for dialogues, feedback, and any questions or issues they want to address (and shutting down gossip and rumor mills in the process).
Build meaningful relationships. Get to know members of your team individually—personally as well as professionally. When you put the effort in to get to know a bit more about the people you work with, and you better understand who they are and what they do, everyone works more productively and effectively.
Delegate effectively. Delegation is key to great leadership. People perform better and are more engaged in their roles and responsibilities when they feel their skills and talents are recognized and put to use, and when you know the strengths and goals of each person it becomes easier to delegate strategically. The benefits are twofold: Your team members grow and learn under your supervision, and you can achieve much more.
Manage conflict. When there is conflict—and there is always conflict—make sure not to ignore it but to address it and manage it. Turning a blind eye or hoping it goes away on its own can lead to a negative atmosphere, which in turn can affect the whole team and ripple out into the organization. It is crucial to address and manage conflicts in way that people feel understood and know that a solution can be reached.
Be decisive. To lead a team well you have to be decisive, willing to hold strong opinions along with an open mind. Decisiveness doesn’t mean you aren’t open to learning but that you have a clear vision and can translate it into bottom-line decisions. Strong decision making that aligns with your organization’s values and the needs of your team brings great results.
Appreciate hard work. Don’t be one of these leaders who doesn’t respect effort or who thinks hard work is just the minimum that people should do. Express appreciation for effort and hard work and do it often, because those who feel recognized and valued will continue to work harder than those who don’t. Appreciation builds confidence and engagement.
Lead by example. People look up to leaders. They are constantly watching you and seeking your guidance, support and coaching, so it’s imperative that you set a good example, Whatever expectations you have of others, set the example yourself. Act in the ways you want others to emulate.
Lead from within: There are many ways to manage a team, but to lead a team takes range of specific skills that are practiced and repeated daily.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- How to Increase Your Influence Using 5 Simple Words
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- How to Deal with an Unprofessional Leader
- 6 Powerful Habits of The Most Productive Teams
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- My Best Advice for Leaders When Things Are Going Wrong
Photo Credit: iStock Photo
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.