Great leaders inspire people to be their best and to do their best work. If you have a team of people working with you, ask yourself: “Am I doing something to make them do the best that they can do?”
As a leader, it’s easy to go into the default of ordering people around. Yes, telling people what to do is important. However, here’s another important thing to recognise: people have their own talents and skills and things they are good at. And they will do their best if they are doing what they’re good at.
So here are five things you can do to achieve this.
Let them have a share of the thinking
The leader isn’t the only one with a brain in the team. Everyone does. So in your planning sessions, it’s always a great idea to let everyone share their ideas. Tell your team what you need to achieve, and have them throw their ideas on the table. Then, discuss each idea and whether it will work or not. Also deliberate on the pros and cons of each idea.
You may also want to combine two or more good ideas together. Remember, in any team effort, it’s all about cooperation and not competition.
Give them creative freedom
Once you have the plan in place, give your team some space. Let them figure out how they want to deal with the small details. Dictating to them exactly how they should do it all the time is not a mark of a great leader. It will only lead to frustration, and when people work with a frustrated attitude, they will never give their best. Instead, let people do it their way. Let them have fun in exercising their creativity. The important thing is getting the right result later on.
Think of it like a maths problem. There is more than one way to solve a maths problem; as long as you arrive at the correct answer in the end, the method won’t matter as much.
Recognise the great things they do
If your people do a good job, give them the credit. It’s them who did the heavy lifting, not you. Recognise and appreciate the good work that they do, and you can be sure that they’ll keep doing their best in the future. The more you do this, the more your people will feel valued, and in turn, the more reason they’ll have to keep doing things excellently.
Of course, not everything will go your way. Sometimes, mistakes will happen, and disappointments ensue. Sure, you may have the right to put the blame on the person who made the mistake, but that isn’t what a great leader does. Instead, you must recognise that it was you who told that person what to do. Therefore, you have a share of the responsibility. Don’t leave your people out in the cold. Most importantly, you should never have a habit of pointing fingers whenever problems arise.
Ask for feedback
A great leader is never arrogant. While you may take pride in your achievements, don’t be too proud for your own good. Recognise that you aren’t perfect, and that you make mistakes too. Knowing that, you must always strive to be a better version of yourself. Asking what your people think of your leadership is a great way to help you achieve that.
Make sure they give you complete, honest feedback. Ask them for the things they like about you, as well as what they want you to improve on. Also, ask them about the things you may lack as a leader. This is very important, because most of the time you are not aware of what you lack. A huge part of improving yourself is acquiring important leadership skills that you don’t have.
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