Becoming a better leader is critical for success. Leadership isn't just about money, strategy, or technology; teamwork remains the ultimate competitive advantage. With effective leadership, we can align our organization and outperform any industry, market, or competitor.
We all know this, but achieving it can seem daunting. Team dysfunction is common because teams are composed of fallible human beings. As leaders, it's our job to cultivate teamwork, making our team members feel valued, respected, and important. Leadership development includes rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. We need to:
- Face challenges courageously
- Foster an innovative spirit
- Understand how our values contribute to society
- Strive for self-sufficiency
From an evolutionary standpoint, we all want to feel like a vital part of the group.
In leadership, recognizing the bigger picture and structuring solutions effectively are key. We excel when leading through vision and ideas. We're always open to better solutions and need time to weigh alternatives. New experiences energize us, and we love exploring fresh ideas. By seeking out various leaders for coaching and comparing different leadership styles, we can adapt lessons from diverse fields.
Instead of thinking of ourselves as bosses, we should aspire to be leaders. The differences are stark:
- Boss: Motivates through authority, instills fear, uses "I," takes credit, and commands.
- Leader: Trains others, relies on goodwill, uses "we," shares credit, and requests.
Great leadership enriches lives and helps us achieve collective goals. It involves earning credibility through transparency, inclusiveness, and a willingness to ask for help. A good leader not only thrives within a team but also positively impacts the broader community. By adapting our leadership style to different individuals and challenges, we can effectively harness internal and external resources.
Teams require different skills at different times to address diverse problems. Therefore, we must continually develop our leadership capabilities. Society urgently needs bolder and more devoted leaders, not managers who instill fear.
Here are specific techniques to further our leadership goals:
- Prioritize fairness over reciprocity
- Acknowledge both achievements and failures
- Empathize with those in need
- Be open to change
- Commit to lifelong learning and development
As team leaders, it’s crucial to select individuals with complementary skills and perspectives. To influence those outside our immediate team, we must rely on persuasion rather than authority. Building a strong external reputation will increase our chances for future opportunities.
A common obstacle is prioritizing personal interests over the team's. Overcoming this means thinking long-term and putting the team's needs above our own. Another barrier is the fear of public speaking, which we can address by practicing and focusing on the positive impact we can make.
The key performance indicators are the best metrics to track our progress. Understanding what motivates team members, either intrinsically or extrinsically, is vital. We should regularly reflect on our actions, set clear goals for our team, and offer consistent feedback. It's also important to manage upward by cultivating a genuine relationship with our superiors.
To be exceptional leaders, we must deepen our self-awareness, recognizing both our strengths and weaknesses, and understand how to collaborate effectively with others.