Of course, you want to be a better leader. After all, only great leadership can ever make a team more than its parts. There are just no two ways around that. The problem, of course, is how. How can you be a better leader? What is it that you can do to make your team excellent?
Now, plenty of people out on the internet will tell you what they think. The only problem with them, though, is that quite often these people have absolutely zero leadership experience. And just like you don’t poet for medical advice, you shouldn’t ask an internet blogger how to lead your team.
Fortunately, there is an easy way around that and that is to look at what actual leadership experts have to say. So that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to look at some of the people who really know their stuff so that you know, if you follow their advice, you’re not driving your company into the ground.
Confront your fears
Tanveer Naseer, author of Leadership Vertigo argues in an INC article, that a great leader doesn't have any fear. After all, if you have no fear then you’ll keep touching the hot stove. Instead, they know how to deal with it. “If we are to succeed as leaders, we have to learn to manage the fear we might have over what awaits us around the corner; to reframe these moments as opportunities to learn and better understand what's really going on and what needs to be done next.”
Only if we can do that can we stop focusing on the short-term survival and instead create a long-term strategy that actually helps our company to thrive, grow and get ahead.
“Don't be afraid to be a little different from the pack,” Says Matt Heller in that same article. Yes, people might think you’re slightly kooky, but at the same time, they’ll also believe you’re authentic and being real. So stop trying to pretend that you’re what you think they want you to be and instead be who you really are.
In that way, people will know where they stand and will believe that what you’re saying to them is actually true. And when they don’t spend their time second guessing you, then they can get on with the job they’re supposed to do. And that has to be what it’s all about.
Show your Empathy in Tangible Ways
John Turner of User Think told INC that empathy is important, but that as a leader you can’t always be concerned with what people think. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. What you need to do instead is, “be able to understand the problems, as well as that person's point of view. You can't just dismiss them out of hand.” In this way, the people that you’re working with will be able to see that you care.
The trick is to deal with specific concerns and demonstrate that you actually heard them. Yes, sometimes you’ll still have to make decisions that they don’t like, but as long as they feel they’ve been heard, they’ll still feel much better about going along with your decision.
Know that you don’t know everything
In that same article, Richard J.Avdoian, the President and CEO of Midwest Business Institute, Inc. said that you’ve got to be aware of what you don’t know. That self-knowledge is essential as without it you’re going to make massive mistakes by relying on your own abilities, as they’re simply not up to the task.
Instead, you’ve got to, “Select supportive team members who possess the skills necessary to take the business in the right direction.” He brings up the comparison of Swiss cheese. There are lots of holes, but if you acknowledge those and build up from there, then you can turn yourself into a solid whole whose plans aren’t simply torn apart.
So, for that reason get help with the things you don’t know. Pull in great team members. Get people outside involved. If you can’t write, get a service like Bestwritersonline.com to help you out. For when you do that not only will you create a better product, but you can spend your time focusing on the things you are actually good at.
Realize that your energy is not infinite (and make a plan to use it wisely)
Anne Loehr, leadership coach and book author point out in an article for CIO, that we are not machines and we can’t keep working at 100% every hour of every day. Among other things, she says, “To increase your mental energy, focus on your top priorities for one, an uninterrupted 90-minute period of time/day, followed by a physical break away from the desk. You will likely accomplish more in those 90 minutes than during the rest of your day.”
She also suggests going to walking meetings, stretching and making sure that no meeting ever runs longer than 90 minutes.
Combine the young and the old to drive innovation
A lot of people seem to think that younger and older generations are not compatible, that they think too differently and that they can’t get along. That’s hogwash, according to Bernard Quancard, president, and CEO, Strategic Account Management Association.
He argues here that, “organic growth will come from customer-driven innovation. And what is driving this co-creation of value with your most important customers? I believe it must be a leadership-driven, institutional change that pairs the influx of new, tech-savvy employees – those millennials who already make up the majority of the workforce – with seasoned strategic account managers adept at collaboratively co-creating new solutions with customers."
And there you have it. A whole host of professionals with some key insights to make you a better leader. Particularly inspired by one thought-leaders ideas? Then seek them out, as all of them have a great deal more to say than I outlined in this article.
Above all, keep learning and keep reading. For as a leader you have a responsibility to help your team excel and the best way to do that is to keep growing and becoming better yourself.