Leadership: Be the best version of yourself

Tina looks at the importance of good leadership

Published:  19 April, 2022

Why is it important to be a good leader? What are the consequences if we are not?
If you want to get the best from your team, being a good leader is imperative. Being a good leader is not about knowing it all, it is about building a team where individuals excel at their own strengths.
A good leader will:

  •  Have confidence in their team
  •  Be accountable
  •  Have strong values
  •  Encourage their team to use them for direction
  •  Give their team members autonomy
  •  Allow team members to use their initiative.

As above, so below
There is an interesting concept about the way we behave which identifies what type of leader we are. Above the line, leaders are open, approachable, and keen to learn. Below the line leaders are closed, defensive and believe themselves to always be right

Hardest part  
How do we become better leaders? Emotional Intelligence is key, and a big part of this is self-awareness. Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we all have them. This includes our behaviour, feelings, needs, habits and emotions. All of these have a part to play in who and what we are. Don’t just look at your work capabilities.
Be aware of how your actions and behaviour affect others. Once you have a better understanding of your own make-up, you will be able to use that to lead in a much more positive and constructive manner.
Understand the dichotomy of being a leader. Find the balance. Micromanaging is where you are interfering in every step of the process, needing to know and having to be the one to make decisions. Why? This will lead to your team feeling dissatisfied and unable to use their initiative. They won’t find solutions to problems as they will be used to you, the leader, sorting everything for them. They will lose their creativity and disengage. Aside from being demoralising for the team, it is draining on the leader. You cannot do everything.
If you swing too far the other way, and you leave them to their own devices with no support or backup, you will find that they drift off from what your company values are. They will head off in their own direction and will start to cut corners to suit their own needs. The support they have from being part of a bigger culture gets lost. In our case, this means knowledge and skills of other technicians, tools and equipment that is at their disposal. The perfect location is to sit somewhere in the middle.

The team
Now that you have a better understanding of the type of leader you are, it’s time to get personal with your team.

DISC is a powerful model to help individuals and teams grasped a better understanding of personality traits and what their driving forces are, task-driven, or people-driven:
D: Dominant, doer; Task-driven/outgoing
I: Inspiring, interactive; People-driven/outgoing
S: Steady, stable; People-driven/reserved
C: Competent, cautious; Task-driven/reserved

This topic is huge so I’m not going to go into details, I recommend that you read the book ‘Surrounded by Idiots’ by Thomas Eriskon. It is enlightening. It will help you to understand the different personalities, and how your own interact with each type and it will assist in providing coping mechanisms when dealing with staff.
Even though every team member will be qualified on paper, it does not mean that they have the knowledge to carry out every task and job. As a leader it is your job to support, train, coach and encourage to make each member a better version of themselves. On the flip side, you need to be strong and make that call if you truly believe that someone does not make the cut. If these issues are not addressed, it will generate a negative atmosphere which in turn pulls the rest of the team down. Be the leader and deal with the difficult decisions too.
Grasp every opportunity to learn; Educate yourself, there is always room for improvement. Continuous improvement is not extra work, it is the way we work. We cannot change others, but we can change the way we interact with them. Very often, it is not the other person that is in the wrong, it is because we don’t know how to deal with their personality. If you want to change another, you need to change yourself. If you change, sooner or later the others will have to adapt. Build a team where you are all working towards the company’s vision.
My final thought this month: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Ken Blanchard.

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