When you are leading a team or group of people it is natural to think about how your leadership impacts those with whom you are leading. Once you realize that you no longer are solely responsible for just you but the well-being of your entire team, composed of people with families and goals the weight of leadership can feel a lot heavier. On top of that leadership can take on many different forms and there isn’t a one size fits all solution. So where does that leave leaders looking to better themselves? We have a couple practical tips that can be used in a lot of different situations as a catalyst for growth.
Know your Contribution
To begin with it is important to know your strengths. We all have unique life experiences and talents that make up who we are. Take inventory of what your personal strengths are in your current phase of life. If you have trouble identifying your strengths then ask someone close to you what they think. It is often easier to see strengths in others than ourselves. Once you have identified your unique strengths then figure out how you can use them to make a contribution in your workplace. For example if you excel in mentorship really strive to nourish the one-on-one relationships on your team through coaching. Or if you are more of a strategist then meet with your peers for mastermind groups. There are any number of ways that you can make a contribution and sometimes all it takes is a dedicated effort to do so.
In the areas you are weak, acknowledge your weakness. Don’t try to hide your weaknesses from your team. Similarly, find joy when the individuals on your team succeed even beyond your capabilities. This does not reflect negatively on you, in fact it is a testament to both their ability AND your leadership. Don’t allow the success of the individuals on your team to make you feel inadequate because that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let Learning Ebb and Flow
Stop viewing leadership as a one-way street. There is no question that leaders impact and influence the lives of those they lead. But less often talked about is how we can learn from the teams and individuals we lead. We can grow so much through our teams if we change our posture and humble ourselves.
Raise the Bar
Believe in your team’s ability to accomplish more and hold them accountable–set expectations high. When you do this there are people who will rise to the occasion. Alternatively, you will find that there are people who aren’t willing to contribute more. Setting ambitious expectations empowers your team to accomplish more while also filtering out those who might not be the best fit. If a team member only wants to do the bare minimum and doesn’t not align with the values and vision of your business/team then it is better for both you and the employee to part ways.
Serve Your Team
It wouldn’t be a blog on leadership without the mention of servant leadership but there is a reason this leadership style is so often referenced. Many of the most influential and impactful leaders were servant leaders such as; Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., just to name a few. So if you want to continue to improve as a leader then consider the actions of these world changers and place your team and others above yourself. You may be surprised at the trickle down effect that servant leadership can have.
At the end of the day there is not a formula for growing as a leader because no two leaders are the same. However, if you use the tips above, know your strengths and weaknesses while also embracing those different from you then you will open yourself up for growth. It doesn’t matter your position of influence, think of how the world would change for the better if we all put the effort in to improve and be our best.