There are plenty of definitions of leadership around. You don’t have to look far to see articles giving lots of leadership advice. With such a great number of words written about leadership it can seem like a daunting subject. It can also seem like there is a lot to learn.
If we look at what a team needs from a leader, rather than think about it from the leader’s viewpoint, we may gain an insight into some of the core skills leaders need.
1. A team needs Direction
If a group of people is working towards a common goal, then they will become a team. For this to happen they need a direction. A leader can provide the direction and help the team define the goal. Often a team without a leader appoints someone from within the team as an unofficial leader, showing us how important this is.
2. Team members need to trust their leader
A team who does not trust their leader will always be looking for ulterior motives. Is the leader out to build empires, hog the praise or get as much out of the team as possible without putting anything in? A leader needs to have integrity.
3. Teams need support
Things will get tough from time to time. Whether it’s a major crisis or a choice of options, the team will need support. This can range from obtaining necessary resources, fighting for the team or lending an ear to talk things through. The leader needs to be there for the team.
4. Team members need to talk with their leader
Leaders in ivory towers don’t get early warnings from their team that projects are failing, or reports are going to be late. They don’t understand the team and don’t get involved with it. Team members need an approachable leader who can help them when going gets tough or things start drifting.
5. Team members need to be believed in
When you feel that no-one believes in you and you are given tasks to do and told how to do them then you rarely produce your best work. A leader who believes in the potential of each team member and demonstrates that belief, constantly and with integrity, will raise the team to be top performers. The team will believe in themselves and bring an energy and integrity to their own work.
6. Teams need leaders who are not afraid of action
A weak leader will allow a team to be destroyed by outsiders, or from within, by their fear of taking tough decisions. The leader may have to act over a constant poor performer in the team. They need to see issues early on, work to understand them and plan a path to make improvements. A fear of confronting difficult subjects will leave them to fester and weaken the team. Teams look to their leader to get this right.
How to be their leader
Focus your efforts on the six things listed above and you won’t go far wrong. The bigger your leadership role, the more important it is to focus on the people in your team. Believing in them, supporting them and developing them is a full-time job.
Developing a coaching style of leadership is proven to be one of the most successful ways to be a leader. Put aside telling people how to do their job and help them develop the belief in themselves. You will be astonished in the results.
I have worked with people in leadership positions for over twenty years, supporting them to develop their personal leadership style. I understand the highs and lows you’re experiencing which is why I know that getting the right coaching support can make all the difference.
Sometimes, all it takes to inspire our natural brilliance is a simple conversation. If you’re ready for that conversation, I’ll be delighted to hear from you.