If you are a manager of people, you know how important leadership can be on the job. If you're a team lead you know how challenging it can be to lead others without that dotted line responsibility. You may wonder if you're an effective leader and look to leadership programs that cost an arm and a leg. In this article, I want to share some career advice with you based on years of working with emerging leaders (or any other type for that matter). Here are Your Office Mom's tips to help you learn how to easily strengthen your leadership skills and build better relationships in the process.
Leadership is not rocket science
It's not unusual for people to question their leadership style or ability during their career. People always want to know how they can be a better leader. I always get the impression that people think it's a rather complicated and far-reaching goal. I beg to differ because leadership is not rocket science.
I believe that leadership skills are well within anyone's grasp; it just takes self-awareness, determination, and consistency. I'm always happy to share my advice with professional and try to simplify things a bit, so the process doesn't seem so daunting. If you want to be a better leader, two factors are essential. You must know two things:
what effective leadership looks like
how your team wants to be led
Know what effective leadership looks like
Before you can become confident about anything in life, you have to study the subject matter. The business world is no different. Knowing what you're doing right is just as important as knowing how you might improve. Leadership isn't a course or seminar. It's an evolution spanning over time. Whether you are an experienced leader or aspiring to become one, you can find leadership books, articles, and TED Talks at every turn. What's terrific is you'll discover you already possess some strong leadership traits and that will boost your confidence while you’re working on the others.
Within the context of your current role and your team, play to your strengths, and find ways to demonstrate new, less tapped behaviors. If you have a vision in your mind about what leadership is you can begin to identify actions and behaviors that can broaden your approach.
Ask your followers for feedback
Managers and leaders give performance feedback all the time, yet they often don't ask for any. Some managers are afraid to hear how the team feels about their leadership capabilities. But, people want to work for a good leader, and they are happy to tell you how to be one if you give them half a chance.
When you meet with your team members, don't just focus on their development. Ask the occasional:
How can I be a better leader?
What traits and characteristics do you appreciate most in a leader?
If you could suggest one thing I might do differently to be a better leader, what would it be?
When you know what leadership looks like you can begin to develop your skills. When you aren't afraid to ask questions or hear the answers, you are on your way to becoming a stronger leader, no matter how long you've been on the job. And, in the process you can build strong relationships in the process.