Some say you are born with it. Others believe it’s an acquired skill set. But regardless of their stance on the origin of leadership, most agree that the world needs a lot more of it. Here are some easy ways to up your leadership game right away.
1. Communicate. Effective leaders are always communicating. They know that in order for their team to perform at the highest level, they have to share information. Market updates, changes to strategy, performance results – it all counts. Information is power; and leaders want their team to be as powerful as possible. Besides, they want to hear from you.
So rather than talking to them, make sure you are communicating with them. Share your vision of the future. Paint a picture of what you are trying to build and why it’s so important. Let them see your passion and enthusiasm for the team’s mission. Don’t concern yourself with whether they are listening or not. They are.
2. Clarify. Effective leaders bring clarity to organizational goals. They bring clarity to team strategies. And they bring clarity to individual responsibilities. When the way forward becomes unclear and people get overwhelmed, leaders are the ones who clear the air.
So help the members of your team understand the steps necessary for success. Connect the dots for them – the dots between their job role and the team’s mission. Speak plainly about the importance of their job and the value they bring to it.
3. Coach. Effective leaders coach the members of their team. They understand that stronger, more capable individuals contribute more to the team. And strong teams win. So every interaction is an opportunity to coach. Feedback is important; but even more critical is skill development.
So pay attention to their performance and make note of what they do well and what they need to improve on. Then make a conscious effort to help them get better. Ask them to explain what they did and why. Was it a success? Why or why not? Ask them what they could have done better. Then commit to helping them with training, resources, role-playing – whatever it takes to get them to the next level.
4. Collaborate. Effective leaders don’t go it alone. They look for opportunities to collaborate. That’s because they know their own limitations and aren’t afraid to seek out needed expertise elsewhere. Yet, in the midst of a collaborative engagement, they look to bring out the best in others. Some say it’s lonely at the top; but that’s only if you’re there alone. Being a winner is so much better when there are other winners to celebrate with.
So let the members of your team in. Treat them like partners rather than employees. Ask for their opinions. Delegate key tasks. Give up a little control. Take on a supporting role once in a while so they feel the rush of taking on a lead role. Guide them, but let them share in the heavy lifting. You’ll be surprised at how well they respond.
5. Care. Effective leaders care. They care about the organization. They care about winning. They care about the team. They care about people. And they care so much that it shows. Their passion is unmistakable and it’s contagious. Leaders who care are leaders who are followed.
So spend some time getting to know the members of your team. Ask them how it’s going – their life that is. Ask about their spouse, their kids, and their hobbies. Learn what their hopes and dreams and frustrations are outside of the workplace. And share some of your own. As the relationship grows, the bond strengthens. You’ll be rewarded with a strong team bond and a circle of friends.
If you’re serious about improving the leadership skills of your management team, I’d like to help. Check out my blog for tips on developing your team’s potential. Then pick up the phone and give me a call. I’m ready to go to work for you.