If you have had the unfortunate experience of working with a leader who was ineffective, a bully, or who seemed to lack in even the most basic communication skills, you know which kind of leadership strategies you want to avoid.
The question is, how do you select a leadership strategy that fits you, and helps you to achieve desired results?
First of all, the fact that you are interested in developing a leadership strategy puts you ahead of the game. Too many people believe they can take the leadership role and just wing it. The results of this are rarely productive.
While every project and every team is unique, there are things that you can do as a leader that will help you achieve positive results no matter what.
Get to Know Your Team Members
Before you can accomplish great things as a leader, you will want to know as much as possible about the team you will be leading. First of all, you’ll want to know if they have worked together previously, and the type of relationships they have formed if they have.
If possible, try to talk to the previous team leader or take a look at any post mortem documentation. You’ll want to know the dynamics going in. If you have team members who have not worked with this group, you should get feedback from their past supervisors if possible.
Then, put all of that aside and get to know the team members as individuals. You want to be aware of issues, but you don’t want to approach your team members being overly influenced by previous leaders or supervisors.
Have a one on one session with each team member and ask them for their feedback on any past projects, the type of leadership style that they function best under, and what their goals are.
This is also a good time to get feedback from them about their talents, and what they think they can bring to the team. Not only will this give you an idea of the roles you want to assign, it will give insights into what motivates your team. That knowledge is extraordinarily valuable.
Get Feedback From Previous Team Members and Colleagues
You’ve found out about the talents, experiences, and motivations of your team members, but in order to create a leadership strategy that truly works, you have to take an honest look at yourself.
Self-analysis is great, but if you want to know how you come off to others, you have to get feedback from those other people. The best way to do this is to ask people you have worked with and people who have worked under you, for their thoughts.
Here are some questions that will help you to get some useful answers:
- Which motivational techniques did I use work and which ones did not work?
- Were you happy with the quantity and quality of communication from me?
- Did you feel safe to disagree with me?
- Did you feel as if your talents were used properly?
- What did you learn from working under me that benefits you today?
- What advice would you give to somebody who will be working with me in the future?
You may not like all of the answers that you receive, but it’s better to receive information directly from the people you’ve led and worked with than via a poor review if your next project is a failure.
Own Your Leadership
You have been selected for a leadership position for a reason. People believe in your abilities and your vision. Embrace that and be confident.
Some people respond better to authoritative leadership and others appreciate a more relationship based approach. What nobody responds to is a wishy washy leadership style that reflects an utter lack of belief in yourself or your abilities.
Don’t be afraid to demand that your team work hard. Don’t be afraid to trust your judgment and make smart decisions when it comes to your project or when it comes to your team.
Most people don’t mind following if they have leadership that they can believe in. In fact, if you fail to take ownership of your role as leader, your team is going to be directionless. That almost never ends well.
Know Your Project
The final information that you will need to create your leadership strategy are the details of the project you and your team members will be tackling. Obviously you’ll want to know what the scope of the project is, when things are due, and what the desired outcome is, but you’ll also want to know the following:
- What tools will you have available to do the job?
- What’s your budget?
- What is the communication style of your client?
- What are your roadblocks?
- Are you cleaning up a failed project?
- Are there bruised egos involved?
- Are there resentments over any changes being made?
- Will you need to count on contributions from people are not on your team?
At this point you will have all of the information you need to lead your team and reach your goals. You’ll know what your best leadership skills are, and some habits you need to break.
You’ll also know how to motivate each member of your team, and how to assign roles based on talent and goals. Finally, you will know exactly what you are up against when it comes to getting the project finished.
Which Leadership Strategy Helps You in Achieving Goals?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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