We have all been there. There are those team leaders, you just naturally respect, enjoy working for, and enjoy the productive and harmonious culture created within the team – and there are those leaders who just create frustration, fractured teams, bad will to management and ultimately bad outcomes.
Let’s be honest, management isn’t the place to try and win any popularity contests. No-one likes to answer to another person who is, for whatever reason, considered to be of a higher status and no-one likes to be controlled. Sometimes bad management personnel are good for one thing alone – to get rid of any pent up anger in the team and bond the team together!
But bad management is bad leadership. A team which is not at one with its management and does not have the same passions as its leaders is likely to question systems, fracture processes, not turn on its strengths and is ultimately deeply flawed, unproductive…and well…not a nice place to be.
So what is the difference? What makes a good leader? How can you make sure you will gain open support of your team as a leader instead of verbal back-stabbing?
We look at the great historical leaders and we tend to identify a personality trait which is unique and specific to them. However, leaders are not just born. There definitely needs to be a natural disposition which can be moulded but the fact of the matter is while bad leaders fail badly in many different ways – good leaders – if you have the chance to watch their behaviours for long enough – all tend to act in the same way.
Good leadership is something you can learn.
Know thy self
In order to bring out the strengths and weaknesses in your own team you have to know your own strengths and weaknesses. You have to understand yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin. An on-going honest assessment of yourself will also give you a clear perception of how others see you and allow you to be critical of your own behaviours in order to change and reach your own unique leadership goals. If you cannot honestly commit to this for yourself you are unlikely to be able to stand in judgement of others or be accepted by others as a trigger for change.
The right message
The individual who is besotted with the power they hold over others is due for a fall. The role of a leader is to guide others on a task which will profit the wider organization. To do that, good communication and reciprocal respect is paramount. Where there is need for criticism it needs to be couched in such a way that the recipient feels empowered by learning new ways of doing things. A window to learn by mistakes and grow.
There is a need for honesty and transparency at all times, strength to act upon wrong-headed thinking, and the ability to communicate that message in a clear succinct, firm but fair way.
A positive attitude
90% of messages are passed without a word being said. How you carry yourself will systematically affect how others respond to you, the cohesion of the team and ultimately successes of the team. Showing enthusiasm underpinned with a strong positive attitude is important. Honesty, confidence, a sense of commitment to the task and to the organisation are attitudes which are wonderfully infectious.
You need to have good intuition as to how each individual is progressing as well as the team as a whole. The only way you can achieve this is by being within the team and just listening. Only through understanding through real empathy can you have the ability to inspire for future success and focus down on areas where things are going wrong.
Trusting your vision with the team
As a leader are likely to be a creative individual who has the vision to perceive the elusive objective and how milestone goals will be attributed and reached in the future. But allowing others to partake in those tasks which could lead to the goal being lost can be difficult. Being able to delegate even the smallest task is fundamental to leadership skills – otherwise you are really working alone. The key to delegation is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team – only then can you place that responsibility where it is most likely to be safe.
The team builder
The ace team builder must always begin with a clear idea of the organisation’s mission, principles, goals and brand. From there it is a case of integrating that philosophy into teams and sub-teams. In the same way you need to micro manage – you need to understand the needs of the individual to comprehend how the team can bond, work in harmony and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The good leader needs to show passion and enthusiasm in order to motivate others. He/she also needs to be able to communicate that vision and end goal.
The making of a good leader is not complex. A good leader does not wield power like a dark weapon to control and subdue his team. A good leader knows humility, knows himself, and places the needs of his/her team with his own. Where the individual benefits – the team, leader, and organisation will swiftly benefit too.
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