As a leader, there’s only so far you can go on your own, without growth. The same must be understood about your team. You may have hired them to do a specific job, but if you want better or more next year than you accomplished this year, all of you must increase your capacity … not just your efficiency. Because of this, the most important skill a good leader develops is the ability to inspire his or her team to grow. The better your team can be, the bigger your capacity for success.
As the leader, you are responsible for setting that trend communicating that expectation. Here are a few tips to develop a mutually-inspiring culture on your team.
Be careful not to confuse arrogance and confidence. Yes, the buck stops with you, and yes, your team needs to see that you believe in the vision and mission and plan … but if you don’t have a good reason for that belief, then you’re not confident. You’re arrogant. Confidence says “I believe because we know this and did that.” Arrogance says, “We’re going in, and we’ll fix it as we go.” The latter can work, and in some situations – especially in a crisis – it might even be necessary. But, if you get into the habit of making decisions without good reasons, it will come back to bite you … and your whole team will pay for your mistake.
Share the vision and make sure each team member understands their integral part in it. One of the easiest mistakes for a leader to make is not giving his team members real responsibility. Call it what you want – accountability, responsibility, skin in the game, authority – the term doesn’t matter. If they understand why what they’re doing matters, then they’re apt to do it better, with more confidence, care, and expertise.
Define your team as problem solvers. When you encounter a challenge, don’t try to go around it or ignore it. Fix it. If nothing exists to fix the problem, create it. Some of the best products and businesses in the world have been built by people solving an apparently unrelated problem.
Improve your communication. This is more than just knowing what to say and when to say it, it’s about knowing how to say it clearly, concisely and in a way that people not only understand but also remember. The last part of this equation is where most people miss it. They share what’s on their mind, but they don’t offer clarity or inspire people to internalize that message and share it with others. Inspiring people to carry that message and be personally, not externally, motivated by it should be the goal.
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