An energetic but frustrated team leader I worked with recently, had some great ideas but was having a difficult time rallying her troops to see her vision. Her concerns about her team members ranged from:
“They are stuck in old routines and patterns.”
“They can’t hear what I am saying and are choosing to ignore me.”
“They only want to contribute up to a point and then they clean their hands.”
“They don’t see me as part of them, but rather as someone with a different agenda.”
She had great passion about her innovative ideas, but was unable to gain support or enthusiasm for her new direction. She felt as if the team was rotating alongside of her in a totally different galaxy. There was a total “disconnect” and she began to feel disrespected and angry.
Has this ever happened to you where you had a great solution to an issue but were unable to impact the change? You really wanted to lead your team to a new horizon but you were just not sure how.
Here are the three important C’s of Leadership that may bring out the leader in you.
1. BE A COLLABORATOR
With more and more teams located in many separate places, there is an extraordinary need to master the skill of collaboration. Our workplaces cry out for leaders who can pull together projects, people and different perspectives. Instead of saying: “This isn’t my job”, we need to say, “How can we work together more strategically to meet our deadlines?”
- Commit to seeing commonalities rather than dwelling on how far apart the team members are
- Empower people to work together by sharing how each will grow from the partnership
- Model collaboration by working with different departments
- Reward collaboration with shout-outs and meaningful work
2. BE A COMMUNICATOR
My favorite way to look at communication is that it is the oil that keeps a team flowing. Without effective communication, a team can easily become dysfunctional. This week I was approached by a small firm that was having trouble working with each other in the office, but had no challenges working with their clients. After speaking with the President about what might be causing the friction, it became apparent that her managers couldn’t say what they needed to say in a respectful way. They were barking orders at one another, without being concerned how they were coming across. They were behaving very differently than how they treated their customers. A leader who is able to express themselves in a clear and direct way while still honoring the other person’s point of view will always be heard.
3. BE A CONFIDANT
A leader who can be trusted by their team will be a central force for the energy of that team. The manager I spoke about initially was not seen as open and trustworthy. She was feared but not respected. She did not have the team’s trust. How can you be a confidant?
- Be honest with feedback, even if it means sharing bad news
- Build meaningful relationships with your teammates by getting to know them and what brings them joy
- Listen to what others are saying and try to understand their thinking
- Never reveal confidences shared
- Let others know who you are and what is important to you
What additional qualities have made your leadership soar?
(photo credit-Flickr CC Nguyen Hung Vu)