To build successful leaders, we must become a better leader ourselves. Although this has been a lifelong journey, the process of developing myself as a leader has allowed me to effectively develop others. Recently, I began to think deeper about leadership.
This article is dedicated to the leadership of others: Your Team
My top leadership light bulbs for building strong leaders include:
A leader looks inward firstYou must know yourself well enough to help others become leaders. It is important to understand your leadership style and the way you respond to challenges, stressors, and goals. Understand what motivates you and conversely, be aware of how you typically react when under stress. Every aspect of your personality, skills, and past experiences activates when you step into a leadership position.
Learn about othersUnderstanding how different people contribute collectively is key. Take time to assess your staff or team's knowledge, skills, personality, motivation, drivers and fears.
Draw upon people's strengthsOnce you understand your team members' leadership qualities, help your emerging managers and team leaders see what their leadership strengths entail. Give them encouragement. Most beginning managers or emerging leaders lack self-awareness. Help them realize what they bring to the table and how it applies to leading others. Value your team's different strengths, as well.
Think of your sales team like a basketball team: If everyone on the team can dribble the ball down the court and no one can shoot the ball into the basket, you will succeed in moving the ball down the court but your team will never score points.
Praise to raiseBe a good finder. Notice and name the type of actions you wish to have amplified. Give sincere honest praise, and give it generously.
"Elizabeth, when you helped our newest team member, you displayed patience and confidence. Your command of the information was evident."
"Ken, you stepped up with a clear plan. You are taking more initiative and others are following your lead."
Align prioritiesCompeting priorities create counter-productive conflict. Whether you are embarking on new challenge, taking on a big project or working to implement a change, agree upon an objective, and set priorities accordingly.
Decide on the highest priorityLeaders must establish what is most important. Typically projects will either have quality, speed or cost as the highest priority. Once the highest priority is clear, managers and emerging leaders can make decisions within a framework. Decisions are easy and emerging leaders can confidently make those decisions.
Delegate what and when, not howWhen you tell a leader how to do their job, you undermine their ability to do their job and run the risk of offending your team. By focusing on your expected goals and your deadline, you open the door for leaders to use their problem-solving abilities to find their own solutions.
Let a leader walk in your shoesEmerging leaders feel they have big shoes to fill. Create experiences where they can try a leadership role on for size. Let others be in charge of a project, event or initiative to help them learn they, too, can be a leader. As others follow their direction, you are building confidence in new leaders.
Codify and ModifyPeople tend to work best within a system. Work to standardize your system--including putting duties, processes, etc. in writing. The extent to which you can get your workflow and team to follow systems, the easier it will be to duplicate results. Think of McDonald's! No matter where you go in the world, the process is the same. Regardless whether you eat their hamburgers, you must respect their ability to create a duplicable system and execute it nearly flawlessly. Remember that while written processes will help streamline workflow, you must evaluate your success and modify toward precision.
Lead by exampleThis phrase remains in fashion regardless of the times. To develop leaders, set a strong example to follow. Be the leader you want them to become. Show them rather than tell them how it is done.
Regardless of the leadership style, learn to understand yourself, your strengths and commit to developing others. Leaders excite and engage others. Leaders bring out the best in others. Above all, leaders inspire others to take action or tap into their inner motivation. Use these 10 leadership Light bulbs to inspire your team to build a solid foundation for your company or organization.