You don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a leader. Conversely, just because you have authority doesn’t mean that people will follow you. You must be a leader to get others to follow you.
There are many books on leadership. They can have lots of great examples and in-depth explanations, but sometimes you just need something simple to help you focus on the essentials. This article intends to do just that.
These are the habits that will help you and your team achieve great things if you focus on them.
Make it simple and easy for your team to understand the mission and to understand their part in achieving it.
- Concise Goals. Keep them simple and easy to understand.
- Focus your team on as few goals as possible.
- Communicate the team’s goals often and through various means (team meetings, individual meetings, emails, posters, slogans). And then do it some more.
- Track progress on goals.
- Involve team players in tracking the goals so that they own the results.
2. Motivating People
What you reward gets done. It’s that simple.
- Incent team players to do the tasks that are most critical for reaching the team’s goals. Make sure the rewards are meaningful to people. Understand each player and what they want from their job and in life. That’s how you’ll know how to reward them.
- Praise, Thank, and Recognize big and small contributions by individuals. Do this often and then do it some more.
- Set High Expectations. People will live UP to or DOWN to the expectations you set. Set them high and you’re saying, “I believe in your ability to do great things!”
- Empower people by delegating responsibility.
- Celebrate team accomplishments often.
- Encourage Fun. Make the work place a fun place to be. Yes, work needs to get done but short fun breaks can make all the difference in the culture of your team.
- Pride. Foster a sense of pride in your team. As a team you could establish a mascot, create a team chant, and have a meeting that is focused solely on each individual’s strengths and the team’s overall strengths.
3. Walk Your Talk
You need to practice what you preach. This is how you establish trust and credibility.
- Model the Way by participating in the team’s tasks as much as your position allows.
- Be Honest. Deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.
- Challenge Yourself. Do your best (and then some) just like you ask your team to do their best.
- Speak Up. Just like your team members sometimes need to let you know what they’ve done in order for you to be able to recognize and praise them. They, in turn, need to know what you’ve been working on and what you’ve accomplished. So find ways to communicate this, modeling this key behavior.
- Stay Sharp. You need to be competent for others to follow you. If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. Always be learning and keep on top of the latest skills, technology, and knowledge in your field.
4. Inspire through a combination of
- Unwavering Positive Future Vision
- Commitment to Improve things along the way that will make that positive vision a reality.
- Ability to Bootstrap as necessary when resources are tight.
5. Process Power
Good process is like having a high performance machine. Sloppy process makes things fall apart. So be sure to establish these key habits with your team.
- Establish Routines. Do this for the team and also work with each individual to come up with their own high productivity routines. These are routines that dictate what work is done when.
- Establish Processes for all the tasks that are done repeatedly. It takes time to set up at first, but after that it will pay off in saved time and less errors. Processes describe how work is done and might involve systems for doing the work.
- Task Assignment. As much as possible, assign tasks according to the strengths of each teammate.
Embrace change by seeking it out. This will tread a path for your teammates to follow.
- Change Routines Quarterly. Look for better ways to achieve the team’s goals.
- Take Risks. Don’t be afraid of failure. No one ever reaches great heights without a few failures.
- Learn. Learn as a team from failures. “How can we improve it the next time?”
- Encourage team members to take smart risks too by making it safe to fail. Focus on learning from past experiences and building upon them to find better solutions.
Support your team and they’ll support you.
- Promote your team members. Make sure others outside your team know about the individual team members’ successes. You want your team members to excel and even graduate away from your team possibly. Don’t worry. If your team is great there will be plenty of others who will want to join! This natural turnover of team members is like the renewal of cells in your body. It is necessary and healthy.
- Promote your team. It’s your job to market the great accomplishments of your team in order to get the rewards, recognition, and resources that your team deserves.
- Fight for the most important resources and changes that will benefit your team and the organization overall. Remember to pick your battles wisely.
Written by K. Stone