I’ve just read an article from an old work colleague of mine, Hayley Lewis, that led me to reflect on my own experiences of leading others.
Being a leader of others isn’t easy and for a period of time I deliberately took on roles where I didn’t have to manage anyone! However, over time I have learnt it was how I was leading that was causing me unneccesary stress and to be working stupidly long hours. Basically I was so busy sorting out my team with their problems and then advising them on what to do that I didn’t get to my own work until after 5.30pm! – Learning: Directive leadership is not the way to lead if you want to have a work/life balance!
Over the years I have observed leaders and through them I have learnt what to do and what not to do, and now as I lead others I find it rewarding, sometimes challenging, often fun, but never daunting- Learning: transformational leadership and a coaching style works!
When I’ve been asked to work with teams who are in conflict and/or are under performing it always comes back to how the team is being led. And a lot of my work over the last 10 years has been to help leaders move from a directive leadership style towards a coaching style and some find this deeply challenging.
Are you born a leader or can you learn to be one? I believe that you can learn to be a leader of others but I don’t think everyone has temperament for it. If you’re lacking in the people skills department, or short of a empathy gene, you may find it a challenge!
I think the questions to ask should be:
– Do you have the skills and behaviours required to lead, engage and bring the best out of those you lead?
– Can you instinctively build high performing teams?
– Are you willing and able to learn the skills, behaviours required to build and lead high performing teams?
I have observed and worked with leaders of others – some great…some not so great! For those leaders who are great leaders they are open to the idea that there is still much for them to learn as leaders and that most times it’s from those they lead (reverse mentoring) and from their peers within and outside their organisation.
Having a growth mindset with a willingness to learn from others no matter who they are or where they are from, sharing experiences good or bad in order to continually learn and improve, and an eagerness to network and consider new ways of working, engaging and leading are just some of the things I notice when working with great leaders.
Have a read of Hayley’s article and tell us what you think! https://halopsychology.com/2019/01/21/12-things-you-need-to-understand-if-you-want-your-team-to-perform-consistently-well/
She also has a excellent ebook about building high performing teams