Back from a brief vacation and ready to dive back in.
This will be the first of a series of articles discussing leading or managing a team. I have been preparing new management training courses for our PCG Learning Center on this topic and thought I would share some initial thoughts.
To begin, the title question may sound strange but you need to ask yourself, why do you want to lead or manage a team? You need to understand this question because you may have been put in a management role that you do not want or are hesitant that you can achieve success.
Leadership or management takes a certain type of individual. It takes a certain type of commitment and if you are not willing to take on these challenges, then you are better served to tell your owners that this is not your cup of tea.
Here is a quick exercise that can help you answer this question. Take a moment to think of leaders or managers you have encountered in the past. Think of those you thought were great and those you thought were lousy. What traits did the great ones have? What did the lousy ones do? Make a list of each of these. Do you possess some of the traits of the great managers? If so, then find comfort that you can be successful.
Always remind yourself of this list so you can emulate the great ones and do not repeat the lousy ones. If their behavior bothered you, it will bother your team.
Here are some of the tools that I feel are essential for a successful leader or manager. You may want to add them to your list to begin your journey.
- Communication skills: I will be sharing some more in depth thoughts on this topic but you must have good clear communication skills both written and oral. You don’t have to be a scholar, but you have to be able to communicate your message in a clear, specific way that your team can follow.
- Organization: You will be pulled in many different directions with many different tasks. You have to be organized to make sure that you keep your team focused on both short and long term goals. There are many online tools available that can help but even an old fashioned notebook will be of use. Don’t rely on your memory.
- Ability to listen: Too often new leaders like to show off what they know and do not listen. Your team is working on the front lines and letting them give you feedback will not only empower the team but save you time in the long run.
- Patience: Changes in behavior will not happen in a day. You need to be focused on small wins that will build to larger gains.
- Vision: You have to know where you want to go. You see the end result even when your team may not think they can get there.You have to create and communicate the steps that will allow you to achieve success.
- Empathy: For many managers, this can be difficult. How to you push your team for excellence but also tuned in to challenges an individual may be dealing with. At times you have to be part psychologist you have to dig into why people are not getting results.
- Teacher: lastly you have to have a teacher mindset. You have to love teaching people and developing your team. Without this trait, all the others do not matter.
You have to understand that being a leader or manager of a team or business is not a job for everyone. The skills listed above are the basic tools you need. You have to build upon these skills by taking time to review your efforts and the affect they have on the team. The best teachers also are always the student. Learning and growing.
You need to have a vision of where you want the team to go, plan out the path, commit to train and then always coach the team.