“Alone We Can Do so Little, Together We Can Do so Much” – Helen Keller
Way back I came across an animation movie “Peter Pan”, and the one song that got glued to me from this movie was “following the leader”. It was more of a rhyming poem where there was one leader and the others simply followed and obeyed their orders. Oh so fascinating was the mere thought of becoming a leader myself, that once I reached the stage of working and being in the professional world, I soon realised that a leader’s duties are not all that easy. It is not just about being bossy and telling people what to do, it is about so much more.
Fast forward to the current time of the 21st century, and most students who are stepping out from the threshold of college and studies and entering the corporate lifestyle need to understand the concept of working in an organization where there is an entire team with your superiors and your peers as well. Though this seems like a task that is easy to achieve, most organizations have a difficult time getting the leadership team and the other team members on the same page.
Having said that another crucial and underlying fact is that effective, well oiled good teams don't just appear and come into existence overnight. Just like the best of all high structured buildings and empires, building a good team that is efficient and strong from the inside takes both time and patience to build.
When you see a car being driven on the streets, have you ever imagined if all the four wheels worked against each other instead of working with each other, will the car ever get to its actual destination? Naturally not. Similarly, it is the same case when you talk about a team being lead by a leader. If all the team members have a lot of friction amongst each other then there is no way that a leader can get his team to reach that one common goal. Thus, the role of a leader is not as much as authoritative or of dictatorship, but more of like a glue that binds and holds the team together.
If you have just entered the hall of fame and have been made a leader, these are just a few tricks of the trade that will help this transition be smooth and hassle-free for both you and you're to be peers and team members. The road up ahead will be difficult and bumpy, so hold on tight and get the 101 on how to become an influential and successful leader.
Forget Sympathetic and Become Empathetic: Most people till quite some time fail to understand what sympathy and empathy are and how these two words are so similar yet so different. When there is sympathy all that happens is feeling sorry for some situation or condition. However, if as a leader you are empathetic and truly understand the state of mind of your peers, that is called being empathetic. Sympathy doesn’t go the long way, however, empathy is something that will get you across to your team and will help them feel more connected with you. Treat your team members with the same kind of respect as you expect to get from them as well. After all, respect is a two-way road where the more you give the more you get.
Delegate and don’t Micromanage: An important part of becoming a leader is to understand that as a leader you soon will have to delegate and get work done by your team. If you are made a leader after working with your team, a rather important part will be to understand that you now need to work with a team of people who possibly were in the same team as you. This often becomes difficult when you become the leader and are told to manage and delegate to your ex peers. Also here one needs to understand that once you get confident with your team and assign them tasks don’t micromanage them and do a lot of hand-holding. Let them decide how to go about things and you just play the role of a motivator who supports and leads the team by example.
Give Regular Feedback: In the constant hustle-bustle of work and deadlines, often leam leaders lose track of the importance of giving timely and regular feedback. As a leader, you need to realize that your performance will be judged not just by looking at you, but at how well your team works towards achieving the company goals. This will become easier if you connect with each of your team members and give them updates on their performance. Be mindful that give them feedback which is either positive or constructive in nature and never negative.
S.W.O.T it OUT: They say that a sign of a good leader is by how well the team leader knows each of their team members. Knowing them doesn’t just mean by their name, but also know the details of their strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. As a leader, once you identify these in your team you will be able to delegate work better and will give each member importance by giving them roles that are best designed to suit their strengths.
The Most Important of the 3 C’s, Communication: The team that communicates the best with each other is a team that works together and tastes success together as well. The biggest key to work in harmony and peace with each other is communication. The biggest of issues and problems can be sorted if only voiced and spoken of at the right time. The more a leader ensures that the team talks and communicates, the more they will be able to perform better. After all, it is all about teamwork all the way!
Consistency is Crucial: Just like no two days are exactly the same, when you take on a team and are responsible not just for your, but even for their performance, you need to make peace with the fact that there will be the great, not so great, good, bad and the ugly days as well. As a leader, you need to stay calm and not lose sight of how you will help your team get out of the bottleneck situation. It is easy to lose calm and react, however when you have a team that looks up to you, your slightest change will affect them too.
Being a leader is not easy. It undoubtedly requires a lot of work and patience as well. But, as a leader you are the one who has the full control of your people and the steering wheel is in your hand. How well you steer your team to the path of success is something that only your hard work and perseverance will say.