According to John C Maxwell, “leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another”. Leadership is about advancing others; meeting them where they are and helping them get to where they want to go. Exceptional leaders are able to influence those they lead effortlessly. These are the leaders who:
- demonstrate that they value and care for their employees
- allow their employees to operate in their areas of strength
- communicate with their employees
- have open door policies
- are experienced in developing relationships with others
- acknowledge when they make mistakes
- focus on developing their employees
- have a track record of success
More often than not though, leaders throughout organizations are plagued with the “ego syndrome”. Instead of incorporating the characteristics above, they:
- demonstrate “I am the manager syndrome”
- force employees to focus on improving their weaknesses
- do not communicate well
- blame others for their mistakes
- take credit for work produced by team members
- fail to develop those around them
- do not listen to the feedback, ideas and suggestions from their employees
- do not continue to develop their own skills and talents
In some instances, leaders emulate the leadership styles of those who held the role before them. This may sometimes mean that antiquated leadership techniques which include managing by force and operating a dictatorship is the order of the day. Weak leaders oppress employees but there is hope. Leadership abilities can improve.
Here are 3 suggestions to build your influence and get team members to buy into your leadership:
- Develop and modify your leadership style. Look around you and assess how your team is interacting with you. Are they willingly and easily following you? Do you have to fight battles every day to get them to buy in? Are they engaged and happy to work with you? Conduct an honest self-assessment on how you relate to others and also ask a few members of your team to assess your leadership style. Use the feedback to determine what areas of leadership development you should focus on, then go about making improvements in those areas.
- Assess the team of people around you. Are their skills and talents as strong or stronger than yours? It is often said that iron sharpens iron. Surround yourself with talent that is equal to or stronger than you are. Focus on adding team members who thrive in areas you find challenging. Allow your team members to operate in their areas of strength; productivity and employee engagement should improve.
- Empower your team members to make decisions. Do not micro manage the process. You’ve already selected a strong talented team. Don’t stifle them by telling them how to do what needs to be done. Assign them responsibilities and deadlines then allow them to complete the task. This demonstrates that you believe in their abilities and allows them to think out of the box and be creative in completing their assigned tasks.
Tip of the Week: Discover your leadership style and then assess whether it works for the betterment or detriment of your team. Acknowledge your leadership deficiencies and take action to improve them. Leaders can improve their leadership styles.