During the long winter while painfully following my favorite college basketball team, there was an article questioning their lack of a leader as a major reason they were struggling. Within that article was a post from the late Kobe Bryant on what being a leader meant to him.
“Leadership is responsibility. There comes a point when one must make a decision. Are YOU willing to do what it takes to push the right buttons to elevate those around you? If the answer is YES, are you willing to push the right buttons even if it means being perceived as the villain? Here’s where the true responsibility of being a leader lies. Sometimes you must prioritize the success of the team ahead of how your own image is perceived. The ability to elevate those around you is more than simply sharing the ball or making teammates feel a certain level of comfort. It’s pushing them to find their inner beast, even if they end up resenting you for it at the time.
I’d rather be perceived as a winner than a good teammate. I wish they both went hand in hand all the time but that’s not reality. I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.”
We are all leaders in life, both in our personal and business worlds, whether we want to be or not and whether we realize it or not. Are you a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, drafter, engineer, administrator, project manager, coach? The list goes on and on and we all fit one or more of these leadership roles every day.
Here are just a few of the thousands of tips you can find for being an effective leader:
- Be prepared for commitment. Effective leadership is much more than simply giving assignments and direction. It requires vision, collaboration, planning, practice and walking the talk.
- Make your meetings effective. When you call a meeting, you need to know how to make it productive and lead to concrete action.
- Learn to communicate better. A good communicator should not only speak clearly and with confidence but must also be a good listener.
- Recognize and encourage team mates. One of the biggest motivators for employees is recognition for their good work and encouragement along the way.
- Build your team. An effective leader usually does not, and should not, work alone. Be a mentor and teacher.
- Learn from your mistakes. Use your mistakes as a steppingstone for improvement.
- Develop a leadership style that works for your team. "Situational leadership," one of the key management theories, is based on the idea that a leader should choose their style based on the willingness and ability of the group to accomplish its goals.
In each of these points, you can relate these to your personal lives as mothers, fathers, coaches, etc. as well. We interact with not only our project teams but our personal teams almost every day and they are all depending on YOU to be an effective leader whether you want to be or realize it. Do your sons and daughters look to you for advice? Does that team you coach want you to teach them the skills to be the best player they can be? Does your project team look for you for guidance in delivering the best project possible?
Practice makes (close to) perfect. Becoming an effective leader takes practice. Work on your skills. Seek feedback so you can improve. Try new methods when something doesn't work. The more you work on becoming an effective leader, the more likely you are to get there and create ‘Performance You Trust’