It's not easy being the leader of a team or of an organisation. It takes making a decision to work on yourself and build successful principles into your decision-making processes. The great thing about leadership is that there are a bunch of competencies that you can learn in order to get better at the job.
On the flipside, there are quite a few things that, if you do them, or don't do them, can massively affect your performance, and that of the team/teams that you are driving forward.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the things that you need to be aware of and what you need to avoid.
One of the keys to being a successful leader is giving yourself time and space to make good decisions and understand the context of where your company or team is. That means making time for yourself and delegating responsibilities to other people.
You shouldn't be doing all of the legwork and should have people do that for you. Your role is to provide vision, facilitate, and inspire the people around you. Show that you are willing to work hard and muck in, but don't make it a day-to-day thing that you never have enough time to look after leadership responsibilities.
Working without Goals
Goals are the only way that we can really give ourselves direction and time frames. Without goals, it's easy to meander along and be blown by the various influences that pass through our lives. Set goals for your organisation and set goals for yourself so that there is always something to be achieved.
Allowing Complacency to Develop
When you delegate tasks you need to know they are done properly, and you need your employees to pull their weight and be the best they can be. You need to develop focus and intensity throughout the organisation and this means avoiding the complacency trap.
When things are going well, it's easy to rest on your laurels and pat yourself on the back. The reality is that there's always change in business and you need to drive forward and keep pushing, adapt and evolve. Your staff need to understand that their role in the organisation is to provide forward momentum and not maintain the status quo.
Refusing to Admit You Are Wrong
It's important to trust your instincts as a leader. However, there are times when you would be wrong and others will be right. You need to listen to your team and understand their perception of situations.
You have the final say in decisions, but that doesn't mean you always have the best ideas. Great leaders are able to admit that they don't have the best idea in a situation and take on the ideas of other people. Step back, reflect, judge and deliver a verdict.
Not Valuing Communication
It's easy for an organisation to fall over when the communication from the top isn't strong enough. As a business leader, you need to communicate frequently and communicate well. That may mean regular webcasts, a company intranet message, or speaking at a company conference. Whatever it may be, you need to have the skills and confidence to communicate clearly.
There are lots of leadership management courses out there that can help you develop the skills you need to communicate well with your teams. Mantle, a New Zealand training organisation, for example, are experts at developing future-fit leaders and dynamic business management skills. They work on the real stuff of leadership, helping organisations to flourish.
If you are going to become a better leader, then you need to consistently work on yourself in all aspects of the leadership challenge. Getting on a course and having regular sessions with a mentor are excellent ways to do so.
Expecting the World
You can't expect too much of the business too fast. You also need to be patient with your staff as they learn the competencies and develop the attitudes that they need in order to drive success. That doesn't happen all at once, and you need to manage your expectations so that you don't end up affecting confidence.
All of business revolves around process and outcomes. If you don't give feedback on how good outcomes are, it's impossible for processes to improve in the right direction. You need to provide feedback to employees on both their behaviours and decision-making and on the processes that they have chosen to follow.
You need to be constructive in the way you give feedback and make sure you always praise in public and criticise in private. The fastest way to turn your organisation into a high-performing group is to get people understanding what works best within their roles so that they can learn to continually improve.
You need to understand that your role as a leader is primarily to provide a vision and to have influence over the direction of the organisation towards that vision. You shouldn't end up micromanaging, and you shouldn't end up doing nonessential activities all day every day.
By learning to understand your role as a leader, and avoiding the big mistakes that can cause you to fail, you can be the most important person your company ever developed.