Great leaders are hard to come by. Defining what makes great leaders great is even harder. However, there are a few fundamental ways to improve your leadership skills and lead like a boss.
1. Start with your Superpowers
The best leaders are those that people are naturally drawn to. A great leader might be charismatic, possess high emotional intelligence and/or operate with a solid morale compass. This interpersonal influence is often the secret formula of great leaders. So, its best to start with these questions: What makes you great? What makes people want to follow your lead? What are your superpowers?
Often, it’s a matter of amping up the exact qualities that have guided you this far. Suddenly, you and your team are at a fork in the road and you don’t know which way to turn. If you have already built the trust and the respect of your team, they will immediately look to you in these challenging situations. If one of your strengths as a leader is being open and transparent—now is the time to lean into that even more. And don’t be afraid to admit if you don’t have all the answers. Your humility can actually be comforting and reassuring if the team already believes in your underlying superpowers.
2. Adjust and Delegate
All too often, we are quick to point out the weaknesses of others and of ourselves. However, it can be easier, faster and much more productive to capitalize on our strengths instead of dwelling on our weaknesses. As a leader, it’s imperative to focus on the skills, tools and expertise that you already possess. But what if there are skills that are lacking?
For instance, if you are a visionary leader who gets bogged down with the details then you can lend your skills by drafting the 3-year strategic plan. Afterall, this is where you can add the most value to the process. Then, don’t be afraid to lean on others to help outline the detailed timing of the roll-out and the execution plan.
By walking into the situation with a realistic self-awareness of your strengths and weakness, you can adjust your tasks and delegate the areas that might not be your forte.
3. Fill the Gap
There will undoubtedly be times when you don’t have the expertise required and unfortunately, when you look around the room, no one else does either. These are times when you may have to roll up your sleeves and immediately fill the gap. If you are leading the construction of a new house, you can stay focused on the big picture from afar, but if the new roof is suddenly leaking, you need to address it immediately. These fire drills are bound to happen and the best leaders are those that swoop into action. This might require you to get in the trenches and learn the nuance of the business at a deeper level. It might require you to learn new skills or it might require you to hire for a new skill-set that you don’t currently possess. If you assume that challenges will inevitably arise, you won’t feel blind-sided at every obstacle. Instead, you will focus on the leaking roof in front of you and immediately fill the gap.
Leadership can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also be incredibly stressful and challenging. If you can 1) focus on your superpowers as your guiding compass; 2) adjust for weaknesses by delegating to others; and 3) fill the urgent gaps by rolling up your sleeves and doing the work; you will show a commitment, a humility and a work ethic that people will naturally be drawn to. Now, go lead your team…like a boss.
These strategies were adapted from the book, “Leadership 2.0” by Dr. Travis Bradberry & Dr. Jean Greaves. For more strategies that can help you improve your leadership skills, check out our training programs or please contact us.
By Taryn McKenzie, EVP of Client Solutions for TalentSmart EQ. She is a guest contributor for our blog and has been leading teams for over 20 years in the executive training space. For more information, please check out additional resources at: www.talentsmarteq.com.