We’ve all heard it before. People will espouse their excellence as a leader and leadership as their primary quality. Half of these people might be right. The other half are likely ego-maniacs who are competent at their job but not their role at the top of a team. So, what goes into really being a leader? We’re not just talking about traits, but the actions that define you. Let’s take a look.
An eye on development
This is the most important part of being a leader. It’s that you don’t let your team stagnate and stay in one position for years. Stability is not the goal of a leader. Excellence is. This means nurturing talent and developing skills. Offering them responsibility and even letting them outgrow their role. If you can provide the upper-mobility in the business, then good. If you can’t, it’s better to let them leave on good terms that than frustration over their own lack of progress.
Know their role
Another vital aspect of managing a team is knowing what they’re supposed to do. Job roles are organic and evolve through the doing of them. However, if you don’t have an objective look at the responsibilities of a title, then you can have a hard time seeing how it all fits together. Job evaluation software can help you see what pieces of the puzzle might be missing.
Evaluate their progress
Developing your employees isn’t the only way you act as that guiding hand. You can also give them a much more in-depth look at how they’re doing in the day-to-day. It can difficult, sometimes, to share the same view of their workload as they have. Developing key performance indicators can act as the shared language that makes it much easier to do so.
Undoing the knots
You might find that they’re not making the progress you want them to make in those KPIs. So, who or what is at fault? Instead of assuming it’s an employee problem, look at the methods they’re using to do it. Could taking the time to implement systematization be the right approach? If you sat together and looked at each step they took in the task, could you help them find a way to do it much more efficiently?
Key performance indicators are just one of the ways that you need to improve your ability to communicate with the team. Another is by listening more to what they have to say. Get employees not only to listen but to talk more. Aim for 100% participation by setting tasks at the team meetings. For example, ask everyone to prepare a question or point to address, taking each meeting in turn.
Know when it’s not working
Passing the buck too early is the sign of weak leadership. However, it’s just as important a part of being a leader to recognise when you have to deal with a staff member who isn’t pulling their weight. Similar, it’s important to be able to identify toxic influences in the workplace before they become a serious issue. Remember that leading people isn’t always about seeing the best in them come out. It’s also about dealing with the worst of them.