Leading A Team
21 September 2017
Being a leader can be both daunting and exciting. It’s a step up; a challenge; recognition of your skills set to date. But, just because you have been an effective and conscientious team member, that does not necessarily mean that this will translate in to excellent leadership.
So, how can you be a successful and valuable leader when you have not managed a team of people before? It can cause resentment amongst your existing colleagues or even fear of change, particularly if you have come from working within a small, close-knit team. How do you manoeuvre your transition from team member to a more senior role fluidly?
Undertaking a managerial role can be complex. You have to contend with your own self-doubt and excitement, for starters. Being a good leader demands time, strategic thinking, good networking and solid interpersonal skills. You must learn to motivate your staff, make tough (and, sometimes, unpopular) decisions and position yourself as a voice of authority within your market.
These are all skills that have to be honed and cultivated; they won’t simply appear overnight.
Here are just some of the ways you can provide effective leadership, should you find yourself promoted within your team.
Set an example
Whilst some businesses have opted for a more casual dress code these days, you should always dress as if you were going to a meeting or a job interview. A polished appearance can establish you as a figurehead and set a good example to your team. Your attitude towards your workload and specific tasks should also mimic what you expect from those who you manage. If you slack off or miss deadlines, how can you expect your team to be 100% to target all of the time?
Provide vision for the future
Part of being a good leader is being able to think strategically and innovatively. If you think there is a better or more efficient way of doing things in your office, you should absolutely implement this. Change is good for business as it keeps people on their toes and realise there is more than one way of doing things. It’s important to be seen as forward thinking and adaptable. If there is new technology, get to grips with it. Don’t be stuck in the past.
Everyone has stories about a ‘nightmare boss’ they suffered under before making an escape. It’s very simple: Don’t be that boss. Treat your staff how you would like to be treated. Sometimes people mistakes, or they get sick or need compassionate leave. It isn’t the end of the world. Show that you are still a team player by getting your hands dirty and getting involved in projects should your team require it. It will earn you a lot of respect.
Be firm but fair
This ties in nicely with the previous note. Even leaders who are popular and well-liked by their team have to take difficult decisions on some occasions. Whether it is to do with staff discipline or, in the worst case scenario, redundancies, you have to act with a blend of respect and authority. By all means, be sympathetic to each individual situation, but uphold company values or decisions. This is part of being a leader.
Provide opportunities for growth
If you have been promoted internally, your former colleagues may wish to emulate your career path. Don’t be afraid of this. You should always provide your staff with new tools or technology to further their own personal learning and development. You don’t want to be known as a manager who stunts their team’s growth. Take it as a compliment when a team member wants to take on more responsibility and encourage learning and growth at every opportunity. Have thorough and meaningful one-to-one meetings with your staff and ensure – as far as you can – that any training needs are met.
Taking the step in to management can be an uncertain process, but an incredibly rewarding one. Whether you’ve never led a team before, only managed ten people or been responsible for fifty people, the challenges and successes can often be the same.
Being considered for a more senior role, either within your existing company or a new venture altogether, is an achievement. It’s a sign that you are consistently producing excellent work. Yes, there will be difficult days ahead but the brilliant days will far outweigh this.
If you would like to speak to me about leadership roles, I would be happy to talk to you confidentially. Click here to see my details and get in touch.
Written By Barry Lee