Leadership is tough and leaders have huge responsibilities. The success or failure of a team rests majorly on the shoulders of the leader. It’s why you’d blame a soccer coach for his team’s poor performance even though he didn’t play on the field with them and their personal errors or stubbornness may have led to their poor performance. However daunting or tedious being a leader may be, it doesn’t stop us from aspiring to be one. Here’s how you can be a better leader:
Build a good team
As a leader, you need to learn how to work with the available resources you have and the people around you. This doesn’t mean you have to work with bad people, it just means you have to work with the quality of people you can afford. There’s a lot of creativity and persuasion required in leadership. This means you have to give your team a vision – one they can relate with, one they can hold on to.
Having a good team is also not enough, you need to build them. How are you encouraging them? Gone are the days where “don’t think about the money, follow your passion” was the go-to advice, beyond the vision, you have to give certain incentives. This may not necessarily be money, it could be trainings, accommodation, an official car, a percentage of profits made, shares in your company, free lunch once in a while, and so on.
You must also realise that there are some people who no matter how much you encourage or train them, they cannot just fit into your team. Their work ethics are poor and the quality of their work isn’t up to standard. It is important to know when to work on a team member and when to let them go. You cannot build a good team if you’re scared to fire people. Sometimes, you may be doing a team member a disservice by keeping him or her instead of letting them find better opportunities elsewhere. The world doesn’t stop at your organisation and if the person has the right perspective, they will thank you for this in future.
Be an example
Some leaders often think they have passed the stage their followers or team members currently are. And so they don’t want to get their hands dirty. But it doesn’t have to be so. It’s okay to sit with the team and solve the problem with them as often as you can. They will draw inspiration and strength from you.
Being a leader means you are more knowledgeable and experienced in that field, so it’s important to use these solutions, insights, knowledge and experience when solving the same problems you want the team to solve. You can scream at them all day for not doing certain things right, or you can sit with them to understand their challenges, and solve it with them. You won’t have to sit with them next time because they are smart, and will learn your methods and improve on it.
The goal is not to sit in your nice corner office all day and give orders. The goal is to lead the team to success.
set realistic goals
As a leader, it’s important you set realistic but audacious goals based on resources available to you. This is one way to avoid leading your team to failure. There is a lot of pessimism in the world and people need a workplace or organisation with positive energy and positive results. This means failure cannot be a normal occurrence. Have big and small goals. Celebrate every success and learn from every failure. Don’t tell the team you will get one million views in one month and fail to get one hundred. You may think because it won’t affect their paycheck, they won’t be disturbed by the failure, but you’re wrong; it affects their self confidence and their confidence in the organisation.
If you believe you can achieve one million views and have a good plan, even if you fail, help the team understand what went wrong and how it can be corrected next time. It also helps to remind the team of past successes no matter how small it is, that way, they see possibilities and get fired up to do more.
Never give up
Leading can be very tough; you can never have the perfect team because people have their own weaknesses. Some people are great at what they do, but are poor team players. Some people try to be cunning – they will deny seeing your call or messages. They may deny receiving an instruction. They may not listen to instructions and decide to do things their own way to the detriment of the organisation.
On some days, leadership can be very difficult, on other days, it is great. But don’t get discouraged, set clear rules, and consequences for bad behaviours. Reward good behaviours and work ethics. Help your team become and remain resilient. Encourage them as often as you can. Have as much fun as you can while working. You’ve got this.