The appraisal cycle got over recently and there will be new members who would have got promoted to lead roles.
Congratulations!!! You have been selected to serve as a leader and you must be looking for this lead role. On the other hand, you may feel honoured by being so named but anxious/ fearful about the assignment.
So what is this leadership role all about?
Leadership is all about how an individual guides, directs, or influences the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of other human beings. A good leader helps others to arrive at a better understanding of themselves, of others, of the issues at hand, and to use this greater understanding to accomplish whatever common goals brought the members of the group together.
Someone or a set of people has selected you for the lead responsibility because they had confidence in your personal qualifications for leadership. You should not consider this confidence of others as a burden, for they do not expect perfection of you.
When someone is promoted to the lead position for the first time there will be lot of questions about the role, responsibilities and qualities.
What are some of the qualities that you will expect from a leader? See, how can these qualities be used to guide your team?
Accept the fact from the beginning that not everything will run smoothly. You do not have to imagine problems but simply acknowledge to self that conflicts will occur, as they always do when persons of different opinions work together as a team to achieve common goals.
When you are working in a team as peers and suddenly when someone gets promoted due to his qualities there will be definitely resistance among other members. If all members of the team held a single opinion or belief, there wouldn’t be any need for team action.
“Where everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.” ~ Walter Lippman
Once you are the lead, do not expect that everyone will accept you automatically. Do not expect that things will come to you. People will start respecting if you show your expertise in whatever subject you deal with. Show you care for people. Show them how to do things. You will be seen as a leader.
As a leader, sometimes you will be able to have a glow of satisfaction, while other times filled with great discouragement. Accept these ups and downs as part of the game. You will make mistakes. Even after many years of leading you will still make mistakes. The day you start expecting perfection will be the beginning of endless frustration and disappointment.
One of the things I have learnt from my boss is that accept the fact that you have made a mistake and now it’s time learn from the mistakes (from yours and others). You will move closer to effective leadership as long as you are able to learn from your/others mistakes.
Reach out to people. Build rapport and relationship with others. Because you have become a lead, do not expect the others to come and reach you. You volunteer.
The leader is a person who, on the whole, best lives up to the standards or values. If the leader fails to embody or depreciates these values, it’s going to introduce confusion and disorganization.
In his book “How to be an Effective Group Leader”, Author Bill D Schul has mentioned the following as the characteristics of a Leader.
1. A solid knowledge of and dedication to the history, goals, values, achievements, and current directions of the organization.
2. An ability to keep issues in focus and matters in perspective; to demonstrate emotional stability in time of stress and conflict.
3. To value the opinions of each member, to judge each on their merits alone and not to be persuaded or intimidated by displays of emotion or aggressiveness.
4. A willingness to give credit to others and to accept the blame for failures without being overly dramatic or obvious.
5. A good sense of humour, the ability to keep meetings lively and interesting will contribute as much as anything to good attendance, morale, and overall achievement.
6. To find enjoyment in the meeting and be able to infect others with enthusiasm.
7. To be responsive to the individual members but to be firm when necessary in order that the members know where they stand.
Effective leadership does not automatically happen. It requires thought, study, and practice. While it may be true that some persons have a certain knack for leading others, chances are that their past experiences have prepared them for leadership.
We sometimes hear people say, “She’s a born musician,” or “He’s a born athlete.” These people apparently have certain natural abilities that allow them to perform effectively and with apparent ease. But what is so often over looked are the long, hard hours of practice, the mental and physical discipline that brought these people to the level of superior performance.