Want to be a leader? All the theory in the world won’t help without these eight simple steps, says M Lento.
Everyone today talks about leadership and teams. Quite frankly, all the theory in the world does not make a good team leader. Nor do the ‘experts’ who attempt to sell you a set of tools to help you do your job. I have no less than 16 video flyers on my desk purporting to help me ‘provide all answers to team leading’. And I subscribe to at least six blogs which banter back and forth .
In reality, I advise managers who want to become leaders to push it all aside and follow a few simple steps:
- Use common sense. Find your management and leadership style and make sure that it accommodates two way communication. I believe each manager/leader has several developing styles depending on the roles they play and in different capacities.
- Find yourself a model manager. Copy their actions and initiatives. Find out why they use certain approaches and their successes. Failures are just as good a story to learn from as those successes. The best managers have failed several times with different teams before they realise that the empowerment is in their hands to strengthen their teams.
- Read widely. Forget about the names of the authors – worry more about pinpointing some aspects of their work and development which you can adapt and adopt. And use the internet. Lots of information is available for you to use and compare. And make it a fun SMART objectives task to do so (this helps with your personal and professional development, too).
- Try out initiatives with your teams to see what works and what doesn’t. Be creative. Do something different. I recall walking into a company at around 7am and finding the CEO making breakfast to solicit staff donations for Children in Need.
- Brainstorm widely with your peers and colleagues. Some of the best ideas come from others. Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek advice. I recall a former manager of mine asking me to review a staff questionnaire intended for her team. I reviewed it and informed her that it did not ask the right questions to get true feedback. She subsequently amended the survey and was able to better benchmark her staff’s concerns on a range of issues.
- Experiment with approaches with your teams. I quote Saturnino Noriega, an organisational specialist in the US: ‘Find out how the things you do affect your team’s family, income and social life…it is the key to opening many doors.’
- Utilise all free resources,such as webinars and magazines, and attend professional organisations’ events - such as the Chartered Management Institute, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development etc.
- Make networking a priority. You simply cannot live without networks today. The wider the network the more you will learn and pick up by observing and listening.
And when you think you know it all and things are going well in the workplace…it’s time to consider doing a programme which opens another world of management and leadership to you. Only then can you speak from experience, share your thoughts and successes with others who are on the same plane as you in regards to professional development.
Good luck….the sky’s the limit!