Four key areas to focus on to help you become a stronger leader

What Do Managers Have To Do In Order To Become A Great Team Leader?

Four key areas to focus on to help you become a stronger leader
Four key areas to focus on to help you become a stronger leader
Image Credit: Peter Dean

Let’s face it, the job of a manager is very much both team- and direction-focused. Managers are the ones who need to use their manager skills to set the course, ensure consistency and develop and reinforce core values for their teams. After you get that part of the job taken care of things become considerably easier. The rest of the job is simply to hire great people and get out of their way. In order to be a successful manager, it’s going to take a great team standing behind you. What can you do to make this happen?

It’s All About Values And Vision

All managers must establish and define what kind of team they want to be leading and why. Think carefully. What are your goals? Defining your team’s vision and core values forms the foundation for what both you and the members of your team do every day.

Successful teams depend on this common knowledge. They look to the team’s values and vision to help them make decisions in times of uncertainty or adversity. That’s why you must establish your vision and values early, communicate them clearly and take the time to reinforce them often. Having a deep understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish will make every other step in becoming a great leader easier. You will be able to assemble teams of people who share your core values and who are excited by your vision, and these will be the people who will participate in team building and propel the team forward.

Consistency And Clarity

More than anything else, managers need to be honest, authentic and consistent about the values they set, their behavior and the expectations they have for everyone on their teams. The core values that you determine are critical will hold firm through a lot of changes. We all know that business strategies may come and go, but your team will remain committed to the company’s core principles. This will allow you to be your authentic self. What this will mean for you is that you will never have to say or do something that conflicts with your personal values.

Managers need to be comfortable being who they are, because that’s the way to set the tone for an honest and authentic team. One source that we can turn to for guidance in this matter is Gandhi who once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Countless studies have shown that employees do their best when they know what to expect. As managers we need to realize that there is nothing that alienates employees faster or can create a toxic culture more quickly than doing one thing and saying another.

Focus And Capacity-Building

Great managers focus first and foremost on their people. They spend their time helping them improve and build their capacity so they can be the best version of themselves. We need to understand that this isn’t just about what happens in the office. You need to want your employees to improve and grow holistically, this means across all areas of their lives. If you believe this then you’ll find that this approach helps your employees become happier and healthier, which translates naturally to increased team performance.

Too many managers focus only on that last piece – a team member’s performance at work. What we need to realize is that caring solely about results instead of people tends to burn people out. Great managers seek a higher purpose. What they do is to help their people thrive by setting high standards and holding everyone accountable to these standards – even themselves.

Ensuring Personal Development

We need to understand that it’s difficult to lead others if you don’t have a clear sense of who you are and where you are going. The leadership programs that we enroll in to get manager training are designed to help us discover our own best leadership style. They can also help us learn how to design the systems that will work best for us and our particular mission.

If you aren’t sure what you want or what your core values are, this is also the place to start. The reason is because you won’t be able to create team values without being clear about your own values first. Additionally, investing in personal development allows you to lead your team by example. Part of managing productive, happy teams involves consistently raising the bar – both for team members and for yourself.

What All Of This Means For You

Whatever we expect of the members of our team, we need to expect of ourselves too. This means that we need to become uncompromising in our standards, but we need to also live by those same standards. We need to be right there in the trenches, doing the same things and demonstrating a commitment to meet the same goals that we set for our team.

What this all means for us is that in the end, great leadership is about cultivating greatness in others. If you set goals that you can be passionate about and work toward them with authentically, you can rest assured that your team will take care of the rest.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What is the best way for you to find out what your core values really are?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s think about your team for just a moment or two. The people on your team most of the time don’t do things by themselves. Instead, they work with other people on the team in order to accomplish tasks. However, it’s that working together thing that can cause problems. Interpersonal issues can crop up, personalities can clash, and managers (that’s you) despite all of our manager training can provide unclear directions. The result of all of this is that your team members can be left with conflict issues and this can end up stifling your team’s productivity. What’s a manager to do?

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