Leadership is a Process: Are You There Yet?
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More often than not, Leadership is seen as a ‘must-have’ quality in candidates during interviews. But have we ever objectified our definition of Leadership, a definition that becomes a criterion for judging people?
What is Leadership? For answering this, let us look at the situation that we face in the majority of big and small companies -
A person gets Hired for a Job
He gets trained in special skills required for the Job
If he is good at his work, he gets promoted
Now he is the “leader” of the team that is hired for the same job.
This is a cycle which usually never ends.
But if we notice closely, this man was trained for skills of his previous position but not for his position as a leader. And a leader, more often than not, is not responsible for the Job at hand but for the people who are responsible for the job.
But what happens when they (our new leaders) don’t know how to do that?
Well, they become Managers instead of becoming leaders - something that gives birth to the saying ‘People don’t leave a job they leave managers’.
While the list is out for the must-have leadership qualities in the coming 5 years -
It is easier to list down than to practice and emboss.
For any new role at our job, especially those of leadership, people need to go through a period of transition where they learn and are moulded into their new roles as the leader.
If you are also finding yourself in a similar position, here are some ways to help you transition and start practising Leadership in any aspect of life:
Empathy and Care for your teammates
True leadership comes when you genuinely care about your people’s well being - Professional and Personal. Asking them if their day is going well and if it is not then brainstorming ways to make it easier will earn you loyalty from all your teammates.
In the end, if you share the workload with your teammates on days when they are feeling down, they will do it for you when you need it and build the morale of your whole team and as a result, enhancing the overall performance of everyone.
Be a good learner first
Any good leader we have known starts with learning the skills that are required for leading. In the workplace, it should start with learning the work your teammates are responsible for. By doing this, you can humbly help your teammates who get stuck in any aspect of the work.
Also, taking professional help for leadership roles also help. The phrase “Born leader” in today’s times is a myth, leadership is a skill that can be learned over time and taught as well.
Share your skills with your teammates so you can not only lead a team but can make future leaders as well.
Never restrict yourself to your Job description. A good Leader is always ready to help willingly in times that he/she is not expected to work. If on an off-day, your co-workers are having difficulty in any task, you should be ready to help them out.
Be a good organizer
If you are responsible for a team, then you are free to manage and lead it as you seem fit. You can organize team building and bonding exercises among your teammates. Always ensure that your teammates are on good terms with each other as well as they are with you. After all, every task at hand is going to be a group effort and if your team has healthy relations within, it greatly improves the performance of each person, thereby, improving the whole team’s performance.
Go the extra mile
Never wait for deadlines or work reminders to complete what is expected of you, only then will you be able to take on extra. A good leader leads by example. If you show proficiency at work, your teammates will be motivated by themselves and take on every task in a headstrong manner. Good leadership does not mean assigning tasks, it means working together and achieving a goal with equal efforts.
Have and Promote Accountability
As leaders, you should know how to utilize your authority without overpowering everyone in the team. You will have to be prepared to own up to your mistakes while setting a clear expectation in the team that everyone has to.
You will have to find a mix between supporting the teammates and operating within the organizational structures made of policies and rules - the balance is what makes all the difference.
Have a Stable Futuristic Vision
Having a clear vision of what your plans are for your team’s contribution to the company goals while being a must-have part of your KRA can also be something that can prove itself to be very tricky.
We operate in a time when the concept of a vision is on a constant evolution mode. There is always something new coming up with the promise to make the business better - something that can tempt you to change your ways more frequently than right.
Don’t get caught up in the honey trap and give time for your futuristic vision to come true.
Push Creativity and Innovation Around You
There’s no easy way to say it but you have to have the guts to take risks. Now, as someone who is just starting in the industry, it can be comfortable to take safe moves. But, that is the biggest mistakes you can take.
When you play safe, your team plays safely. And the result is almost always a disaster. So, give room for your team to brainstorm and take a calculated risk and be creative. But never once give them the space to be safe and boring.
Show Signs of High Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is usually seen as an ability to master emotions. It is the art of identifying and managing others’ emotions for achieving goals.
When you practice emotional intelligence around you, you achieve a deep self-awareness in your reaction to different situations and issues in the workplace. You also get a much clearer understanding of how people operate and what motivates them.
Create Relationships That Last
On the path of becoming a righteous leader, more often than not we lose sight of how to be a person who goes beyond work and create relationships.
The art of making a relationship, although gravely overlooked is also something that can reap benefits long after you or your colleague has left the job and moved on to the next better opportunity. Seeing how small all the industries are ultimate, it is only how well you are able to create and maintain relationships that help design your character sketch as a leader.
Leadership is like building a muscle, the effects won’t show overnight but will only surface gradually over time. And your teammates will recognize the efforts you put in every day and that will biologically motivate them to work together as a team.
In the end, leadership is a difficult job, where if you wish to succeed, you will have to put in yourself first in every difficult situation and last at the time of taking credits. It requires the daily practice of empathy and perspective. However, once you build a loyal, strong bonded team, there is no stopping you.
So? Are you there yet?