This is the year – you’re gonna do it – you’re going to be a stand out and be a great leader for your team.
Oh wait – didn’t you say that last year. Well OK, did it happen? Not quite?
So, what got in the way.
Maybe it’s these 4 habits that are holding you back from being a great leader (like I know you can be).
One of the biggest roadblocks, is being afraid to have the hard conversations.
To be a strong leader, you have to be able to deal with confrontation. Is a team member not performing up to snuff – you have to be able to sit down and discuss where they aren’t meeting your expectations.
And no, you can’t just ignore it and hope it will go away – because it won’t. Remember, that’s one of the things holding you back from being a great leader.
A solid leader gives praise and counseling, freely. If you don’t’ tell someone where and how they aren’t making it, how do you expect them to improve. Well, they won’t – and then one day you’ll just get fed up and want to fire them on the spot. Definitely not the sign of a great leader.
And those hard conversations go beyond performance metrics. What if there’s a conflict between team members. Now, while I do firmly believe that a great leader knows when, how and if they should step in (and yes, sometimes the best thing is to NOT step in); but when you are called upon to get involved to facilitate the situation – you’ve got to step in and step up.
As a leader, you have to hold the expectation that your team will behave like professional adults – and you have to give them space to do that. But if they aren’t finding their way, or they are getting too wrapped up in their emotions – then you have to wade into the situation and call them on it. Sure, you want them to be able to resolve conflicts on their own – but if it’s not happening, then a higher power may be just the ticket.
And one final note on the fear of having hard conversations – you have to realize that that’s all based in a fear of not being liked. So my first note on that is – a strong leader needs respect first, and if you’re fair and consistent, they’ll like you well enough. But being liked shouldn’t be first on your list.
“…Great leaders are focused on excellence and hold everyone, including themselves, accountable for upholding those standards“
The next roadblock is you don’t set high standards and then hold people accountable. Great leaders have high standards, for others and themselves. And you’ll note I didn’t say they are perfect, or that they expect perfection. High standards is a sign of excellence – and great leaders understand that perfection is focused on a binary outcome – either you’re perfect or you failed. While excellence is a behavior and way of being.
Great leaders are focused on excellence and hold everyone, including themselves, accountable for upholding those standards. And yes, you have to hold yourself to those standards as well – because you’re setting the example. So, be on time to the meeting, be prepared, don’t cancel the 1on1, stick to your word. Hold yourself accountable to set the example. And hold others accountable too – and when they don’t make the mark, address it (wow, we’re back to those hard conversation again).
Another big roadblock to being a great leader is not recognizing the skills required to lead, and feeding those skills. Managing is different than doing the task; and by the same token, leading is different than managing. You probably started out doing the task and doing a great job at it – then you were promoted to manager. But that requires a new skill set because the role of a manager is to guide and manage others to do the task.
And the role of leader is different still. A leader inspires and motivates others to accomplish a vision or goal. And as you might guess, that is a different skill set from that of a manager.
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Now these all used to be so separate, but in today’s environment having solid manager and leadership skills is a must. So, even if you aren’t running your own company – I’m still taking to you.
You’ve got to up-level your skillset, and keep growing to be a great leader. A growth, continuous learning mindset is vital. Great leaders bring new solutions to bear, adapt to changing situations, add to their knowledgebase. That thirst for knowledge – you’re gonna need it.
And one of the least discussed, but huge roadblocks I see all the time is waiting for inspiration to come to you instead of seeking it out.
Great leaders are innovative, they’re filled with ideas, they’re creative – you WANT to follow them. But if you’re just sitting around “oh, I can’t write that thing, or produce this thing because I’m not inspired”. “I can’t be creative because I just don’t have the inspiration right now.”
Listen, while it’s true that sometimes inspiration will just come along and hit you in the head – that’s not what happens in most cases. In most cases you’re reading, or listening to a podcast or audio book, or in an online lesson, or simply sitting down to write an outline of that podcast script – and inspiration comes along later, for the ride.
Inspiration can be fickle, it’s not just waiting around for you to be ready to receive it – sometimes, most times, you have to take steps to go out and get it.
And , if you find yourself just sitting around, waiting for lightening to strike…we’ll, that’s just an excuse to waste time.
So, do the thing. Start the writing – the ideas will come.
Yep, it’s going to be a great year, and you’re going to be a great leader.