Leaders Work For Their Team. Not The OTHER Way Around.

We have seen it in the movies and also TV shows when everyone bows down to the boss.  I’m sure in many jobs out there that a culture like this lives. When I was in college, I worked part-time at a store and my ‘team leader’ had this kind of mentality. I remember hating every waking minute in that position, but as a broke college student when the economy tanked had left me with little options.

As I look back, I see things differently. I’ve realized that when bosses, managers, etc. micromanage their employees, they are holding back potential growth in that person. I believe it is essential to let your team fail in a loving matter. It is vital for individuals to learn how to resolve problems and to work together. When individuals feel like they are watched under a microscope, you are planting fear in them and inhibiting them from growing.

Let’s take a quick look at a military platoon.  Most of the time there is a leader in charge called the ‘platoon leader’. It is the platoon leaders job to make sure that every task is executed to the best of its ability while focusing on the mission. In business, we like to call this the ‘goal’.  The platoon leader and everyone on the team relies on full transparency and a high level of communication to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Even though these individuals are highly skilled, it does not mean that they are mistake proof. When things don’t go right, the platoon leader will need to readjust with the team and get all their insights.

On top of that, the leader needs to make sure that all of his men come out alive from battle. Yes, that means the leader eats last and sleeps lasts. They literally serve the people on their team and not the other way around.

The question is, does that happen in your work culture?

Can you imagine if that was your work culture? I believe every organization and every department should strive for. It is very rare to see organizations letting their employees feel like they are winners. The funny thing is that these organizations wonder why they have such a high turn over rate. They can place the blame that it is the ‘type’ of person that is in the position, versus realizing it is the companies culture and the lack of what real leadership is for the individuals who supervise.

 I want to clarify this… You don’t need a job title to be a leader. If you’re going to be an impactful leader, I highly suggest you learn these skillsets.

Trustworthiness Is Critical In Today’s Era

If people look up to you, they will want to communicate with you. Necessarily, they should feel comfortable with discussing anything with you while you as a leader to ensure that the communication is discreet and handled professionally. Integrity is vital, and people will only trust you if they respect you. If you are open and honest, you will be surprised how everything is reciprocated back.

If You’re Not Creative… GOOD-BYE!

As a leader, things will come your way to where you’ll have to make numerous decisions, but there will be no clear-cut answer. You will be forced to think outside the box. As things change over time, it is common to solve problems in a nontraditional way. At some point in your life, you may be faced with a problem without the resources you be accustomed too. So get creative and show the people that you influence that you are willing to tackle issues with a little bit of creativity.

Treat Feedback As Leverage

Many treat feedback as if someone is pinning down all the bad things that they do. Feedback can be channelled in 3 ways, which are negative, neutral, or positive. Whatever it is, it is a way to give you an assessment on a generalized opinion. Always take feedback as a self-evaluation on how you’re leading. On the other hand, don’t forget to give feedback as well. Your circle of influence will respect you if you can provide clear feedback in an empathetic manner. If you are going to give out negative feedback, you should also make sure that you provide a solution as well. Teaching your team on how to improve and make better decisions, will improve your chances that they put full trust in you and they will follow in the direction you are trying to lead.

140% Ownership 24/7/365

Let’s be honest and agree that everything will not go as planned. Not only are you responsible for making sure your team are winners, but you are liable to take ownership for also the failures of your team. That means you don’t point the finger and put the blame on your team. The only finger pointing should be on you. It is essential to accept failures and devise clear solutions to the problem or improvement.

Transparency Is Everything. Communicate!

When you are dealing with a group of people, they need to be on the same page. You as a leader must clearly explain to your team the goals and specific tasks they are expected to do. They are many forms of communication that leaders must master at some point. These include 1-on-1 talks, group talks, email, phone, and so forth.

Believe it or not, a large part of the communication skillset is listening. Someone once told me, “there is a reason why you were born with 2 ears and 1 mouth.” That means you should be listening more and talking less. An open communication process such as an open door policy will ease the tension if you have a few people on your team that are shy. You as a leader need to make yourself available to discuss issues and ideas with your team.

Don’t Hesitate To Delegate

One of the things you will learn quickly is that you can not do it all.  If you want to be a strong leader, then you need to feel comfortable with letting go and delegating tasks onto your team. The challenge that you will face is being able to identify the skill sets of each person in your team and delegating an appropriate assignment. Don’t have an assumption that delegating tasks is a sign of weakness. When you take a little bit of the load off your shoulders, it will allow you to focus on the essential things. Don’t delegate because you have the authority to do it, but delegate because there is a purpose to do so.

If you are a go-getter and you like a real challenge, then I encourage you to stand up and be a leader. You don’t need to have the job title to be a leader. It would help if you were an authentic influencer. I want to see more people stepping up because it makes a difference. If you wish to be a leader in your workspace or a leader in a non-profit, it makes a difference. It may be hard to prospectively see it because you are wearing many hats in the roles that you will contribute, but the people around you will see the difference. Remember it is not about you, but it is about the people around you.

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