Regardless if you are a seasoned leader or new to a leadership role, leadership skills are developed through practice.
You need to provide inspiration to inspire others and focus on the value their work creates. Help the employees understand how their work connects to making a difference in the big picture, project, and organization.
Helping your team find purpose in their work is critical for employee engagement. There are five challenges that all leaders face.
- Developing others
A crucial part of leadership is helping team members grow and excel through talent and employee development. It would be best to build relationships to get to know them and then challenge and stretch them to encourage their growth. Often, we do not understand our capabilities, and through a mentor, we are molded and often discover hidden talents and skills.
Take time to listen to your team members. Create formal and informal opportunities to talk about what progress they want in their career and then support them in taking those steps.
2. Leading Change
Change is scary. Some change is easy to embrace, and other change challenges us. When a leader leads to change, they need to validate the concerns and fears of the team members and help to feel valued and heard while finding the positives of the change to lower resistance.
Leading change is not always easy, and this is often because only some team members will see the bigger picture. It takes effort and patience. For example, I was working with a team of people who had a vested interest in a 34-year-old program. Over the years and with the advancement of technology year after year, there were fewer and fewer participants. It took a few years to convince the committee members that the declining participants and attendees meant they needed to reimagine the event. Finally, the committee agreed to brainstorm a new event to meet the need and bring in new vitality. The result was that after a few years of planning, the new event was sold out and a huge success. Change can be painful, and it took patience and creativity to help get all the committee members on board to try something new.
3. Handling different perspectives
Workplace conflict is natural and normal. As a leader, you will be required to manage conflict. Managing conflict is uncomfortable for all leaders, regardless of how seasoned they are. Leaders need to create a space where ideas are shared, opinions can be given, and the team remains respectful as the team works at understanding others’ points of view. Having a safe workplace where ideas and different perspectives can be shared will lead to productive discussions that allow for growth and shared understanding.
4. Dealing with imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is common for new leaders who lack confidence in themselves. Therefore, it is natural to question your skills or judgment.
The Expert – You expect to know everything and feel ashamed when you do not know all things.
The Soloist – You believe you must work alone and refuse to take the credit if you received any assistance.
The Natural Genius – You tell yourself that everything must be handled easily, or it is not natural talent.
The perfectionist – You set impossibly high standards for yourself and beat yourself up when you don’t reach them.
The superwoman/man – you feel you should be able to excel at every role you take on.
Removing the imposter syndrome means looking for evidence of your successes in your capabilities and getting feedback from your manager and peers. You were given the role of leader for a reason. Continue to seek opportunities and develop your skills in the area you struggle with. No leader is expected to be an expert in all things. Good leaders surround themselves with people that are smarter than them, and this allows them the opportunities to guide the team and let others be experts in their fields.
5. Managing a team
Managing a successful team starts with building trust with your team members. This is relationship building/ Your technical skills get you the promotion, and the soft skills you use, such as empathy, relationship building, accountability, and credibility, will help you excel as a leader.
Leadership skills are developed over time. The leaders that excel are the ones that seek opportunities for their own growth and personal development in the areas of soft skills.
By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director & CEO, MBA