A key piece of being a better leader is continually focusing on HOW to become a better leader. And while there are any number of ways to simply improve your leadership skills a little, here are three simple steps that will take you from better to great!
Figure Out Who You Are
There are at least 67 ways to become a Contagious Leader that I teach in leadership training classes. Most of them focus on how you treat those you lead, but a few compel you to focus on how you treat you. Do you like your own leadership style? Do you know what it is? Do you know who you are? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Once you figure out who you are, there is only one other perspective to figure out in times of confusion, conflict, or misunderstanding. Yet, if you’re unsure where you sit on a subject, the side you’d take on an issue, or the viewpoint from which you normally and comfortably see things, then working on becoming a better leader overall is not your first step. Do some internal research. Take a personality test or profile. Determine what motivates your actions, thoughts, and words. Look at what motivates you. The first key in how to become a better leader is to ensure you are being a good and responsible leader of you and being true to who you are, but first you have to figure out who that is.
Figure Out Who They Are
Once you’re clear on who you are and what you need, the next step is to look at who you lead. How do you become a better leader of those you lead if you assume they’re all just like you or misdiagnose completely what they need? This step significantly impacts how you hire, fire, motivate, delegate, recognize and fantasize about what exactly they are capable of doing. If you expect your favorite and top performing salesman to be the most organized member of the team, chances are your expectations are completely misaligned. Want to become a great leader? Take all that learning you applied to you and knowing who you are and apply it to those you lead and what they do.
Fill in the gaps
When there is a performance deficiency, it’s often from a gap in understanding. You understand what you want them to do, they do not. You understand the long term consequences to them or the business or the team and they do not. You know your expectations, but either they don’t or they couldn’t fulfill them even if you paid them more. Gaps are powerful and they are the reasons for difficult people, misunderstandings, conflicts, silos, ineffective teamwork and even divorce. When you know you, you can then surround yourself with people talented in areas you are not. You will have filled a gap. When you know them, you can move them from their role that’s not working and place them in jobs well suited to who they are and where their talents thrive. You will have filled a gap. When you create job descriptions that list the intangible traits and criteria needed for optimal success and then align those on your team with the jobs they will naturally be good at, you fill the gaps.
Want to know how to become a better leader? Figure out who you are, find out who they are, and fill the gaps that exist between the way you do things, the way they do things and what needs to get done to make it all work.
Want more information on how to become a better leader? Read the first issue of Leadership Development Magazine available to you as a member of our Monday Moment community. Read your complimentary issue here.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment.