Don’t let your authority/position go to your head. Remember leadership is a privilege, not a right. What you do and what you don’t do impacts the lives of others. Your behaviors and actions greatly affect others. Don’t forget that.
Remember it’s always about people. Nothing else. Your relationship with every person you get to influence is crucial. You are not there to be their parent, best friend, partner, co- worker, etc. You have been placed in their life to lead. Some days you will be all of the above to them, while other days your role is completely different. Just remember – your words and actions have lasting impact. Connection — not simple contact is key.
One of the reasons you are in a leadership role is that you have vision. You can look to the future and imagine what’s to come. Share that vision regularly. Let everyone know where we are headed. Help everyone on the team understand their purpose.
Your attitude helps to determine their altitude. What they achieve is driven by your attitude. Upbeat, optimistic fuels a sense of “can do” behaviors. Positivity leads to purpose. Negativity gets you nowhere.
Remove the “junk” that’s in their way. Take a look around and figure out what hinders them from being their best. Outdated policies, lack of appropriate resources, meaningless tasks, etc. Declutter regularly. Kind of like – spring cleaning the stuff in the garage. Last year I kept it, this year I get rid of it. Do it regularly.
Be truthful. Always. Don’t “sugar-coat” reality. No need to be “brutally honest”. Just be candid and frank. Understand whom are you speaking to and respect them enough to tell the truth, without being hurtful. Doing this goes a long way to help you gain and maintain their respect and trust. It’s not easy having those hard conversations, but ultimately it is necessary.
Be challenging without being degrading. Set expectations and hold the team accountable. Let them know (at the right time and in the right way) when they fall short. No need to demoralize them. Mistakes are a great “re-start” point for all of us. None of us are perfect.
All Hands-on Deck
Don’t be afraid to pitch in when necessary. Nothing should be beneath you. No need to make a habit of doing their work for them, but understand when they need you to jump in and help. When you walk in their shoes you gain incredible experience.
Listen, really listen to your team. Don’t just “hear them out”, but take the time to listen to what they are saying or not saying and digest it. Ponder it for a while. Don’t automatically respond to something that really needs to be thought out. Make sure you truly understand what you are being told – practice, practice active listening.
Show them and tell them how much you appreciate not just their work, but them personally. Don’t be afraid to vocalize your feelings. Show your team by your actions. Might be something as simple as pizza for lunch or maybe it’s a special celebration, but no matter what be sure to honor the person or the team and their work.