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As we celebrate the United States’ independence this week, it got me thinking about leaders who are pretty independent and may have forgotten how to follow. A new, but becoming more common, criteria for promotion is the ability to be part of a team, instead of just lead a team. A leader can be a team player, but if they’re natural tendency is to lead, it takes conscious effort and some new skills. Here is step by step guidance to ensure you’re not only leading the team, but able to be a part of that team, as well.
Let Go of Control at Times
Leaders naturally crave and maintain a sense of control. When stressed, this becomes an aggressive assertion of control and makes it difficult for one to be perceived as a team player. Instead, a leader might get called a bully. Consciously let go of the need to be in control. Remind yourself that others can learn and may take a moment longer, but in the long run will be more effective when they know what you readily see and could have done faster. Long run productivity is more valuable than the time spent in damage control when you run them over.
Value Your Expertise AND Theirs
It takes a village on your team, too. Being the leader should not mean you know everything or that you must do everything. Surround yourself with people who have more experience and expertise than you do in specific areas and then get out of their way. If you don’t trust team members to use their own value and be strong contributors then you have the wrong team members. The goal is to be a team player WITH your team members.
Whether it’s your own team or another team of which you’re a member, taking credit for the ideas of others is a sure fire way to ostracize yourself from the group. Give copious amounts of credit and even repeat praise in pubic to those who came up with the idea to ensure they know that you know where that idea came from.
This seems so very obvious, but here’s the rub. Leaders are naturally good at raising their hand, taking the lead, guiding followers, and being in charge. They raise their hand to volunteer just to get stuff done. They don’t wait for others to jump in and others of lesser stereotypical leadership oriented personalities will take a bit more time to raise their hand and seek exposure or leadership opportunities. Give them that time. Sit on your hands. Bite your tongue. Take a mental break. Cross stuff off your list. Whatever you have to do to avoid jumping in and letting others take the lead at times will help you be seen as more of a team member than someone who always need to take the lead.
For more step by step guidance, make sure you read and listen to the July Monday Moments. Each will include a comprehensive step by step eBook for leaders to coach a poor performer, motivate a star, handle a bully, and other issues in which an employee is decidedly independent in their actions, but are negatively impacting the entire team. If you know team members or colleagues who need this data, have them to go www.MondayMoment.com and enter their information.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!