Leadership styles all vary, depending on the needs of an organization, but there are a few traits that remain steadfast.
- Do you really want to lead? Don’t confuse leading with managing. Management is about processes and things; leadership is about people and outcomes. Leading people is a choice and requires a shift in what you see as important, where you spend your time and the skills required to be effective. Move from “doer” to “leader”.
- Are you focused on the right things? Leaders understand the top priorities are getting results through others and the success and development of their teams. The team’s growth and success is your growth and success. The coach can’t play the game, but is certainly responsible for the team’s performance.
- Where are you spending your time? Understand that your people are the most important success factor in your role. That should dictate a large part of where you spend your time. Are you focused on them or “your own work”? Leading is not something you do in addition to your job. It is the job.
- Do you set shared goals and hold people accountable? A leader creates accountability around outcomes. The team is involved in measurable goal setting and is then held accountable for action and results.
- Are you delegating and letting go? A leader encourages self-directed decision making and reasonable risk taking to develop leadership thinking and a results-orientation among the team. Let go, allow for mistakes and treat them as learning and coaching opportunities. Focus more on “what” is to be accomplished and allow the team to own “how” it is accomplished.
- How well do you coach? An effective leader coaches, teaches and develops the team. A leader asks questions rather than simply providing answers. By asking questions it encourages thinking, accountability and an ownership for action among the team. Besides, how often does your team already know the answer anyway? Encourage differing opinions and ideas and allow action on them.
- How transparent are you? Trust is the foundation of the ability to lead. Trust is fostered by openness and self-awareness. A leader asks for and actually obtains feedback on their effectiveness as a leader. A good leader remains open and non-defensive, taking action for change. Attack your blind spots and get out of your own way.
Article by Tom Cox.