Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Leadership is a skill that we all have to demonstrate at some point in our lives and careers. The key factor is do you model leadership traits others want to follow. Leadership is about walking in integrity because the example teaches. So you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Below are three critical skills I feel leaders in the changing world of work must exemplify to be successful and have others "want" to follow them.
1) Be willing to do whatever you expect your team to do. If a job needs to be done and you are there, jump in and lend a helping hand. Don't let your title of leader go to your head where you forget the basics of creating a great team. This means letting go of your pride and be willing to humble yourself and do whatever is necessary to build a winning team. Don't tell people how much you value them, show them.
2) Communicate and talk to your team not just when you are giving them a project or providing constructive feedback. A philosophy that was great in the 80's and 90's was Management By Walking Around (MBWA) and we need to get back to it and make it a part of our daily routine. Managers need to be visible and stop hiding in their cubicles and offices and get out and start talking to their team to see how they are doing, what they need to be successful and offering feedback as necessary. Communicating to your team that you care about them as employees will go a long way in creating a dynamic team. Communication can be done in a myriad of ways and today, we must find the best way to connect with our team, but talking to people face-to-face is still a key skill everyone needs to have.
3) Celebrate differences and find ways to utilize the strengths and talents of your entire team. Recognize that different doesn't mean deficient; it simply means different. Be mindful of how you relate and connect with others as it relates to your biases whether conscious or unconscious. That is an entire blog by itself. Challenge yourself to spend time with people who are different from you and ask about their story and then listen to it. You just might learn something. People are willing and happy to share when they feel you genuinely want to know.
The key message in this is to be authentic and true in your willingness to find out about others who are from diverse backgrounds. Determine to move from tolerating differences to celebrating them.
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