Many managers whom I have worked with ask me how they become better leaders. They have mastered the technical managerial skills of their job but they know they are not really leading. They are getting bogged down on everyday details and have no time to dream and vision for their team. For managers to be successful leaders they need to delegate some of their job responsibilities in order to begin the process of learning to lead. It must be their intention to want to evolve into true leaders.
A first step in the leadership process is to learn how to be a strong, effective communicator. What does this involve?
- Assertive Communication- A leader is able to express clearly their wants, needs and desires while still being respectful of the other person’s point of view. This is an incredibly positive way to communicate and avoids blaming the other person. Using “I” messages is critical as well as using concise words. Be specific and use appropriate non-verbal language.
- Active Listening- A leader needs to listen with the intent to understand what is really being said. This type of listening involves asking open-ended questions, who, what, where, how and why. It also means really listening without interrupting or assuming you know what is going to be said. Not doing other activities while listening is critical to receiving the real message. Don’t e-mail, text or answer phones.
A second step in learning to lead is to make the time to vision for the team’s future.
- What should be the team’s goals?
- How do these goals fit into the overall vision of the organization?
- Do the team members have the skills to execute the vision or do they need additional training to obtain the proper capabilities?
This is just a beginning. To be a leader there must be the intention to want to lead through strong communication and listening. Take the time to dream and it will pay off for you and your team!