Leading teams means leading people with different temperaments.
Opposite to popular belief, a person without leadership skills can become a successful leader, if they train and develop skills they lack.
- Don't play the authority card
“Because I tell you…” Maybe you heard these or similar “arguments” back in school.
We should not make this mistake when we're leading teams.
It undermines your credibility and destroys trust. People don't respect you as their leader just for your disciplinary authority.
The world is not a talking shop, and someone has to make decisions, said Alfred Herrhausen famously.
However, try to influence rather than order. If people don't enjoy working for you, it will show in the results.
- Effective communication
Have you ever heard someone say, “I didn't like them because they were good listeners.”?
Leading teams effectively requires you to become a first-class notice and an excellent listener. Moreover, you have to communicate what you expect from your team.
There should be no room for interpretation, misunderstandings, or double-meanings – unless you're talking about creative work.
Employees need clear and transparent directives. Otherwise, it's left to chance if the results will satisfy you.
Keep in mind that verbal communication only accounts for 30% of what people understand. The tone of your voice, your facial expression, and body language should convey an identical meaning.
- Goals and Deadlines
Often when teams stagnate, it's because clear goals and deadlines are missing.
That lowers the motivation. If team members don't have to leave their comfort zone, it limits their growth.
Goals, milestones, and deadlines should be defined and regularly reviewed.
Get verbal agreement and therefore commitment and accountability from your team members. You can achieve that by simply asking two questions:
“What do you understand about what I've asked you, and why is that important to what we're doing here?”
“In the event, for any reason, going forward you're unable to do what you just promised you'll do, how shall we handle it? Shall I take you aside in your office and tell you off? Shall I say “get it done by the end of the day”?
- Solve conflicts
To lead teams to success, you have to face and solve conflicts. Teams consist of people with different temperaments, egos, and agendas, and disputes are inevitable.
Consider conflicts an opportunity to learn and make amendments.
If you don't solve issues right away, they will come back to hunt you, potentially during a critical phase of a project.
- Mixing it up
One of your responsibilities as a leader is to encourage the growth of your team.
Every member of your team has specific specialties and gifts. You can help them to leave their comfort zone by occasionally changing their responsibilities.
Too much routine can be a motivation killer.
If you manage to lead people to leave their comfort zone without entering the panic zone, you lead them to growth.
This way, your teams will continue to grow stronger and stronger.
Are you curious if your current skills set would make you a great leader? Take a simple 13-question test HERE