Leaders Who Lead, Lead Well!
Many people say they are a leader. They may even say they are born leaders. As professionals, we must consider the difference between having a position of leadership and being a true leader.
To define, a leader is one who is the principle player in or who commands an organization, area or group. Not all leaders who take command are not actual leaders though. Perhaps they ended up in the position because of circumstance or luck. Either way, they are leaders. In order to be a great leader, there are certain principles you should follow. Tried and true, if you focus on these things as a leader, success awaits you.
Principle 1: Be transparent and share vital information
Make sure to communicate what is happening within your organization with those you lead in a clear and timely manner. This establishes you as a trustworthy person because you inform them removing the chances of them being blindsided by changes or new information. It also allows them time to adjust and move forward with whatever is happening. Informed teams feel empowered and therefore are easier to demonstrate buy-in with what you are rolling forward.
Principle 2: Learn to delegate responsibility
Empowerment also comes from being trusted with responsibility over important tasks. Delegate them to your employees and then talk about the job well done. This will also allow you as the leader to focus on those objectives tasked for you to meet at your level. Show them through delegation there is no "I" in "TEAM!"
Principle 3: Offer praise and thanks
When your members or employees feel appreciated and respected, they will go to bat for you. Something as simple as acknowledging them in the organization's newsletter or crafting a thank-you note to them are simple ways of affirming them.
Principle 4: Decrease obstacles and increase efficiency within the group
Lead the way in ideas to make operating more efficient and clean. Come up with creative ideas using the tools and technology available and channel them into engaging with end users or clients. Let your teams see you practice efficiency and expect them to do the same without being a drill sergeant about it.
Principle 5: Give what you expect and make it visible
Let your team see you going the extra mile to get the job done. When you see the team facing higher volume or the need in getting things done under a shorter time frame, jump in with them and work alongside of them. They will follow your example more quickly than following your directive.
Principle 6: Manage your time focusing a good degree of time on those providing 80% of the results or income for the group
To be clear, this does not mean you ignore those whose performance or responsibility falls within the 20%. It means to provide more training, feedback and development on those who impact the bottom line the most.
Principle 7: Manage your people individually. They are not all the same.
You cannot manage everyone the same way. Manage each person based upon their personality and needs assessments and not just the way you want to be managed. Be aware of differing communication and learning styles and interact accordingly.
Principle 8: Remember to give clear, timely and sincere feedback
Your people want to hear from you and know how you feel they are performing. Make sure your feedback is timely and relevant. This breeds higher productivity because they will be more clear on expectations and accomplishments.
Principle 9: Set reasonable goals and objectives
When setting annual objectives, we tend to have lofty goals at the first iteration. As you drill down, make sure they are achievable and realistic and have specific ways you can share to obtain them. Make them feel they can be attained.
Principle 10: Have fun!
All work and no play does not net the best results. This not only means having away from the office team events, but can also include small things. Having a 15 minute wind down or huddle to kick off the last hour or two of the day is one way to have fun at work. Have lunch catered or special vendors in are other ways as well. Give a sense of family and comradery goes a long way with direct reports.