Leadership roles in any kind of structure entail a lot of responsibility. From parents in a household to leaders in an organization, these are the people that we look up to in so many ways.
They ensure that we feel safe, heard, and happy. They provide us with the tools we need to perform to the best of our abilities. They help us grow and become better versions of ourselves by helping us understand our potential and giving us a roadmap. Above all, through their own actions, they inspire us to do greater things.
For anyone looking to step into a leadership role, it is very important to understand the mandate of leadership so that they don’t limit their function to just exercising power from their position of authority. Here are a few things, in no particular order, that helped me build great teams.
One-on-one meetings with your people are probably the most important part of your daily work. Use this time to get to know your people. Try to figure out what worries them, cheers them, inspires them, and motivates them. Show genuine concern for their well-being. Help them understand their roles and expectations. Convert improvement and growth pointers into measurable goals, then help them achieve those goals. Tailor every new conversation around them, not you.
Great leaders are extremely generous givers. You should be generous in all of your interactions with your people, especially when it comes to sharing your knowledge, training and guiding people, extending compliments, showing appreciation, providing opportunities that will take your people beyond you, and, last but not least, showing compassion and empathy towards your people.
Actions speak louder than words, and the only true way to earn your people’s trust is through your example. People will be able to see through your words very easily if you do not show for it, and you will slowly start losing their support. They may still do everything that is assigned to them because they have to make a living, but that would be all.
The next sentence might be a little controversial for some people, but as a leader, you need to help your people grow beyond your personal and corporate interests. Help people achieve their goals and dreams, then step in and channel that into the best interests of the organization. This will help you build retention and loyalty at a level that does not have an equal.
As a leader, you don't succeed when you deliver something yourself; you succeed when your people can deliver without you stepping in at every turn. You should not be keeping a very close eye on how your people are working. Yes, you can and you should teach them things through your example and sincere advice. Avoid micromanaging at all costs and asking for too many updates, as these are often seen as a lack of trust.
Being a leader isn’t that hard as long as you remain true to the leadership mandate, and these things come naturally if you honestly try. So if you are starting this journey, I believe in you! You can do this.
You can also read the above pointers without the context of an organization and replace that with a social structure like a family, and the same principles would still apply.