Leaders, who should you be?
If you’re in charge you probably never feel like you get in front or up to date. There’s a list of things that need to be done, a group of people that need to be managed and a pile of goals that have to be achieved. It’s your main responsibility to organise, prioritise and delegate. Or is it?
As leaders, do we worry too much about what we are supposed to do or how we are supposed to get others to do it and not enough about our personal skills? Perhaps the focus is best directed on shaping our leadership skills so that instead we inspire and motivate so that targets are met almost unconsciously.
Leadership is a learned skill that is bigger than just decision making, and becomes automatic and instinctual with time and practice.
Who you should be as a leader, differs from person to person and team to team, but there are some key strengths that outweigh your ability to delegate, assess and report.
- Are you approachable and do you make your team feel safe to speak up. Everyone knows you’re in charge, so being intimidating or overbearing is counterproductive and definitely doesn’t inspire.
- Do you challenge your team to think and be their best? Successful leaders know their people well enough to keep them on their toes and enable them to think, learn, grow and achieve. When people are inspired to do their best and are acknowledged for it, the outcomes follow.
- Encouraging and providing continual and reciprocal feedback creates trustworthy relationships. It shows the team you are paying attention and that you welcome feedback and insights to help you lead and adapt as required.
- The ability to assess and deploy the team depending on their individual strengths in relation to the task at hand is a valuable skill for leaders. Sometimes this may stretch delegations or even position descriptions, however a truly successful leader will know their talent pool and how to best use it.
- Leaders are often seen as teachers, and have a responsibility to keep up to date and share their knowledge to allow those they lead learn and grow as they have before them. The best leaders naturally mentor and guide those who show an aptitude to advance and perhaps become leaders themselves. There is no room for ego or protectionism in the best leaders; holding others back does no one any favours.
Loving leadership and embracing the meaningful purpose and responsibility that comes with leading others will make leading and inspiring a team so much easier. Your genuine enjoyment in serving and not focusing on power or personal achievement will make you stand out and create genuine motivation in those around you to succeed as a team.
Much more than a decision maker and ‘to do’ list checker, successful leaders are enablers of talent, culture and results. Isn’t who you are far more important in this task than what you do?