If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that leadership is tough. From day to day, leaders have to find ways to stay both optimistic and objective—and remain steadfast in the face of conflict at the same time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can help yourself succeed as a leader, no matter your team’s situation. And leave failure behind in the process.
If you’ve ever had to give a tough presentation or talk to a team member about their performance, you know how much easier it is to argue with someone when they’re talking versus listening. It’s a natural human tendency to try to talk your way out of a problem instead of finding a solution. Before you open your mouth, take a few seconds to try to understand where your team member is coming from. It’s easy to assume that you know how a situation is best for both you and your team members, but often, you don’t. Being willing to hear other perspectives allows you to be a better leader, and you’ll also be much less likely to feel frustrated when things don’t go as planned.
While it’s important to use your network to build and strengthen your team’s relationships, remember that those relationships are built on trust. So while it’s important to have a handful of trusted relationships at your disposal, be careful not to have a network filled with just a few people. Expand your network and make an effort to build trust with different team members, while also holding on to the relationships that are most meaningful to you. Building trust and trustworthiness will keep you from becoming isolated and isolated, which can quickly damage relationships. Forging new relationships helps you strengthen your existing relationships, too. It can be easy to stay in your comfort zone, but when you branch out and make connections with people outside your team, you’ll build connections that last longer and move your career forward in ways you may not have realized were possible.
Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you have to take control of every aspect of your team’s day-to-day activities. You should take a page from successful executives and managers and let go of some of your control. For example, let a team member choose the best technology for their project. Let a teammate determine the best business strategy for their project. Let a colleague make decisions that directly affect the work they do. Let others make decisions that affect your team members—and their projects. Micromanaging others is a quick way to bring out the worst in them—and to risk losing a key teammate. There’s a difference between being involved in the day-to-day activities of your team members (like assisting with tech issues or making sure everyone is on track with their tasks) and imposing inconsequential decisions on team members.
You may not be able to completely remake your team in a week, but you can make a change or two to harness your team’s strengths and increase trust among them. For example, you can pair a one-on-one meeting with a group chat or Slack channel. You can also consider using more informal communication channels like email or text messages instead of just face-to-face communications. This can help you get your message to your team members in a more approachable way, while also allowing them to respond or ask questions if they need more information.
Leading a team is no easy feat. It requires a lot of patience, understanding, and the ability to lead a group of people through difficult times. It also requires a lot of skill, experience, and leadership. But it doesn’t have to come naturally. It can be learned, built upon, and perfected with the right mindset and determination. Successful leadership is about more than just being liked by your team members. It’s about inspiring them to reach for their goals and dreams. It’s about helping people find their place in the world and their place in their company. Most of all, it’s about leading your team through conflict so that they can reach their full potential.