“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
The fact of life is that we all have to lead at some point. Some are pushed into authority position whether they like it or not, some are required to lead as their daily duties and some are looking to lead to promote ideals and guide others to values that they feel strongly about. There are so many ways that we need to be leaders and it doesn’t have to be scary, I’ll tell you how to lead a team without becoming the manager that everybody hates.
- Set an Example
Think about when someone asks you for directions. You can write step-by-step directions, draw a map, or even provide details such as landmarks. Or you could simply say, “Follow me.”
Value statements and culture decks are not effective, especially not the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ sentiment. These respect and integrity lines don’t mean anything if you turn around and curse a member of your team out.
The point is, show people what you believe in and they will naturally follow.
- Be Humble
Think about two scenarios. In the first, a boss makes a mistake and refuses to admit it, blaming someone else. In the second, a boss recognizes the mistake and admits it, learns from it, done. Which boss would you rather work for? Exactly, the second because owning up to mistakes inspires respect. No body is perfect so don’t be afraid to ask your team for help. This will humanize you to your team and create an environment that everybody feels that they can learn from each other.
- Praise Sincerely
Authenticity is key – DO NOT just go through motions to check people off of a list. Be specific when telling someone how and why you found their actions to be so beneficial. The overall goal is to instinctively recognize and appreciate efforts of others and to communicate that appreciation consistently. I believe that praise and recognition can be inspiring, so don’t skip this one.
- Learn to Listen
No one has ever learned anything while speaking. So, listen to your employees and stay in touch with the reality of your company. You will begin to become aware of new problems much quicker and understand how your people are dealing with them.
Remember, what is important to you is important to them. Your voice carries more weight because it is based on reality.
Being a ‘leader’ is just a title. We all lead, so focus on leading effectively by paying attention to these simple steps. I promise you that you will have results that you are proud of.