For the rest of the week, I am going to dive a little deeper into the leadership traits that were covered in the post that I did yesterday. If you missed it, you can read it here. Initially, there were two leadership traits that were very challenging for me to learn. This could be because they seemed to be in direct conflict with leading to me. What I didn’t realize then was that instead of “leading others”, I was actually “directing others.”
The first trait is to admit that you don’t have all the answers. You have been put in charge of a team and yet you don’t have all the answers? It feels like the complete opposite of what you would say to someone as a leader. I realized over time that the feeling of having to know everything was due to my lack of confidence as a leader. Admitting this allowed me to gather ideas from my team and collaborate with them vs being directive. Being comfortable enough to say “I don’t know and I will get back to you” is so empowering as a leader. It also sends a strong message to your team that no one has all the answers, but you can work together to come up with the best solutions.
The second one also seemed illogical to me at that time but it is one of the best ways to empower your team. The leader is the quietest person in the room and stops talking. When a leader shares an opinion, then others may simply go along with it because the person who said it is the leader. Instead, the leader should let others voice their opinions. Ask a few key questions to drive the discussion which will allow ideas to flow from everyone. This helps to drive the inclusion of everyone’s opinions and the ownership of the outcome. Another way to empower them is to select one person from the team to drive your staff meeting each week. The team member sets the agenda, leads the meeting and drives the discussion. The leader can step in if needed, but this is a safe way to practice leading meetings and facilitating discussions.
Being able to incorporate these into your leadership is an exercise in letting go of control. As you become more confident, you realize that this is a win-win. You don’t have all the pressure of doing everything yourself and they begin practicing the skills that they will need as future leaders. Don’t forget that your job is to develop them. Learning these lessons sooner rather than later will prepare them to be ready for their own leadership roles.
A lot of the clients that I work with are going through the similar challenges of leading a team. Working with me can help you move through that learning curve more quickly. If you would like my help to develop these traits and be a more confident leader, please set up time to work with me: http://susanmbarber.com/schedule-an-appointment/