Let’s face it, everyone will need to be led differently. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to leadership. At least, that’s what I believe. I do believe that effective leaders will find ways that help them be more effective for the benefit of the team and their followers. Will it always work? It depends how much care, effort and work you put into it. Some followers may be susceptible to the approach of their leader, some may not. It’s okay, that’s why it’s important for leaders to improve a variety of skills and abilities.
Whatever you can do to make people, your team, do better, know better and be better then that is your job. To inspire, to motivate, to coach, to mentor, whatever it takes. It’s not just about evaluating their performance to progress the team, it’s also about seeking out their potential. You’ve got to challenge them and grow them. Don’t leave them where they are, take them to the next level of where they need to be. Leadership is also a two way street. There will be times when you step back and listen. Receive the feedback. Listen to what your team needs to progress and how they feel. Yes, emotions matter. People have emotions and it’s important you understand them and not just know them. Understanding something and knowing something is two different things. The better you understand their emotions the better you can lead them.
Use your team’s abilities and learn from them. Learning is important for a leader. A leader isn’t a leader because they know every answer. It’s okay to not have the answer. When your team sees that you’re honest about it, they’ll trust you. They’ll see you as approachable. Leaders must be approachable. When you’re approachable, your team will come to you when they need help. This in a way removes fear. This is good. This will assist you in accomplishing the goals of the team. Every team needs a destination. If there is no destination then there is no need to progress and the work you do would seem meaningless. Leadership implies we’re going somewhere. It’s important that leaders know where to take the team.
Lastly, leadership isn’t always focused on what seems to be the good stuff. Leaders have to make the tough decisions. You have to hold people accountable. People will make mistakes and that’s okay, it happens, but don’t let mistakes become the normal. If you don’t hold people accountable, the work culture can be jeopardized and can work backwards from where you’re going. Don’t forget, leadership is about people not processes. Processes need to be managed. People need to be lead. Ret Admiral Grace Hopper once said, “You manage things, you lead people.”
Remember these things and that it won’t be easy. Those who care to put the effort in to help people be better, know better and do better are often the leaders we need. Fill the need…