You think you are a leader. Or you would like to be a leader. A simple search on LinkedIn will show you the number of people with the word leader in their headline. Some of these people are executives or lead a large teams. What characteristics of a leader?
Here are three things you do that make you an effective leader online and in person and help you lead your team to success.
- You win the trust of peers and stakeholders
This is the most important thing a leader needs to do to be a good leader. You are a leader because your team wants to be led by you. An authority doesn’t make leaders. Your team wants to be inspired, automatically making them want to follow you. But if you impose authority on them, they might not buy into your leadership. You are not a leader if you need authority to lead your team. You are a manager. This is why you can be a leader even if you are an individual contributor. You can lead by influence.
But this is easier said than done. How do you win the trust of your peers and stakeholders? Trust needs to be earned, and it takes time. The only way to do that is to do these three things consistently – You lead by example, listen to them, and are transparent.
As a leader, you build credibility by leading by example. If you preach and practice something else, your team will find no reason to believe your words. If you show your team rather than tell them, they will feel inspired to follow you.
Your team needs to feel safe with you before they give you the gift of their trust. If they feel you would lie to protect yourself, they will hesitate to trust you. Show that you are trustworthy by being transparent with them. Admit to your mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, a leader doesn’t need to be perfect.
Your team needs to feel that their opinions are valued. They also need to feel they can be open about bad news if necessary. If they feel that they cannot give you bad news without being punished for it, or if they feel that no matter what they say to you, it won’t make a difference to your opinions, they will never trust you. Listen to their opinions with an open mind. Leaders learn from their teams all the time. That’s one of the ways they grow and become better leaders.
- You are a visionary thinker
Leadership meeting topics have to be chosen in a way that allows you to communicate your vision as a leader. A leader needs to be a visionary thinker. This is even truer today, thanks to the fast pace of technology. The world changes in a blink. Market landscapes shift, new technology upsets the old ways of doing things, and entire industries are being made redundant rapidly. A leader needs to be able to see what is just ahead and have some insight into what’s around the corner. You will earn their trust if you show your team that you can navigate through choppy waters and deliver great results. This will require that you stay abreast of developments in your industry, have the right networks, and be proactive and open to change.
But being a visionary thinker isn’t only about anticipating industry changes. It is also about clearly understanding how things could be different. The greatest leaders were visionary thinkers who refused to accept the status quo, had a big idea for how things could be different, and were able to inspire others to buy into that vision so that the vision could be turned into reality..
So go ahead and re-imagine the world as you would like it. Then inspire your team to make it happen.
- You communicate the details of your vision
Every leader must be tuned in with the current leadership challenges and issues. Is the current issue with hiring better? Or have a better strategic plan?
You have earned the trust of your team. You even have a grand vision for how you would like things to be. But neither of these will do you any good if you don’t communicate clearly, the details of how you want the team to execute this vision. Communication is essential for every chief executive.
Steve Jobs had this to say about leadership and vision-
“The greatest people are self-managing — they don’t need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they’ll figure out how. What they need is a common vision. And that’s what leadership is: having a vision, articulating that so the people around you can understand it, and getting a consensus on a common vision.”
The second part of this quote is the most important part that few people pay attention to. It articulates the vision so that the people around you can understand it. And this is critical – getting a consensus on a common vision. This is possible only with a detailed map identifying the stepping stones that will take you and the team to the ultimate goal. It should come as no surprise that a lot of people in each industry claim to be visionaries. Anybody can claim to have a vision. What separates a true visionary from the pack? The devil is in the details. Without a detailed plan for achieving a goal, a vision is just a dream.
Once you communicate your vision to your team, along with the details about how it is possible to achieve it, you can get your team to buy into your vision. Now your vision is their vision too! Once this happens and you successfully enroll everyone to support your vision, you can rest assured that the team will pull through as one cohesive unit. And when the tough times arrive, as they inevitably will, a team with a vision that everyone subscribes to will be able to weather the storm much better and be much more successful in the long term.
Are you a leader? Which of these three things do you already do? Could you tell us your plans for getting the rest of them aligned?
If you need help reaching your maximum potential as a leader, please visit https://www.MaheshMThakur.com/ to schedule a consultation. We offer executive coaching and CEO coaching in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, and accountability.