As a child, I was yelled at on many occasions to be a leader, not a follower. It forced me into partaking in leadership activities to gain leadership skills. This determination continued throughout my life. Nevertheless, it was not because I enjoyed being in leadership positions. It was because I never wanted to be branded as a follower.
As I got older, leadership became more complicated. Not only are you supposed to be a leader, but you are also expected to have a particular style of leadership.
There is nothing wrong with aspiring to lead. The problem is while most organizations pride themselves in hiring servant leaders or transformational leaders, they are not teaching their employees how to develop the leadership styles they need to lead their organization.
Therefore, when hard working employees are promoted into leadership roles, they fail miserably. They know the job functions, and they know how to regulate and manage employees, but not how to inspire them into aligning their goals with the organization’s mission.
Some strategies for new leaders:
- Take time to be a novice. Try not to go into your new role expecting to change things immediately. You will fail. Your employees will resist those changes, and you will become the type of authoritarian leader that you hate. Get to know your position, the expectations, and most importantly, your employees. Ask questions instead of giving solutions right away. Turn to your senior employees for help. Build a strong relationship with them, studies have shown that they are the ones who will most likely resist changes. Maybe they were denied your position. So tread lightly until you get a feel for your work environment.
- Create a vision. By this time, you should know your organization’s challenges. If you do not, start having conversations with your superiors to find out the immediate challenges then create a vision, and align it with the company’s mission. Vision will help you stay focused and set the agenda for the organization.
- Communicate your vision. This is the exciting part! Get your team together and communicate your vision in a clear and precise manner that is easy to understand. It is time to light the fire for change. Listen to the way your employees relate your vision. Because, when they can relate it to others, it means that you are now connected, engaged, and ready to take off…
- Develop trust. Listen you are new to this position. Do not expect your employees to trust you based on your authority. You have to earn their trust. You do not know their experience with the person you are replacing. Therefore, you might get some disgruntled employees. Do not take it personal. Give them 100 percent. Tell them your expectations and trust them to make right decisions. Know they are responsible, accountable, and reliable.
- Be contagious. Have you ever been around someone that makes you feel empowered, strong, and inspired? They ignite a fire in you that make you feel as if you can accomplish anything! You are a leader, be contagious! Display leadership qualities such as self-awareness, confidence, humility, empathy, and understanding. Show your strengths, and know how to compensate for your weaknesses. Be that person that you want your employee to become! Listen, learn, teach, empower, and unlock potential in your employees.
Becoming a great leader is not easy. It takes time and experience. However, it gets easier when your goal is to be the type of leader that will put aside ego, learn from your experiences, grow, develop, and make leaders of all that you lead. So embrace the leader in you. It is your calling.