This is a guest post by Zach Jones; he can be reached at @thenutzack on twitter.
Being a great leader can be just as difficult as being a great team player. A leader should be someone the team can trust, look up to, and see as a source of encouragement. Without a strong leader, the team will be unable to work at their highest potential. Listed below are five easy steps which will help anyone turn into a great leader.
Leaders are vital in encouraging the team, keeping enthusiasm high, and motivating everyone to set their best foot forward. In order to be these things and more, you as a leader need to be passionate about what you are working on. It sounds simple but you need to be genuinely passionate about the subject matter at hand as it is not something you can fake. When you are passionate about the project, you are naturally more knowledgeable in the topic and can work out frustrating situations with ease.
Create A General Plan But Leave Out The Details
You need to be able to provide direction for the team, to focus their efforts towards the goal so they aren’t lead astray. If the project isn’t specific, allow everyone to choose their own path to the finish line. This way they can express their individuality and feel a sense of freedom with their work. The end result will always be a better product and you know it was due to your great team and leadership skills.
Listen and Respond to your Team Effectively
When your team knows you are a great listener and advisor, it makes everyone on the team feel more comfortable talking, not only to you, but one another. As a leader, you are someone they can rely on and trust. How can they do that if they’re unable to communicate their thoughts? The key point is to listen, understand, and try to answer their questions and comments to the best of your ability.
Appreciate Those Around You
If you are able to show your appreciation, your team will be even more receptive towards contributing, helping, and sympathizing with the cause you are working for. If they understand that you appreciate how hard they are working, they will be willing to continue to work hard. Not only that, they will feel a sense of pride and achievement in all of their work.
Celebrate Achievements and Learn From Mistakes
Good work should be highlighted as much as mistakes and missteps should be discussed. It’s ideal to have no setbacks within a project but that’s never the case, it’s natural for mistakes to happen. What separates a good leader from a bad one is how they manage a less than ideal situation. A good leader should remain level headed and be able to analyze the problem at hand and an organizational leadership degree will help as well. On the flip side, a good leader should know how to recognize great work with open arms and genuine enthusiasm.
Interested in building your leadership skills? Check out our programs that do just that: HandsOn Leadership is a 12 hour volunteer leadership course and The Bridge gives you the skills you need to serve on a board or public commission.