Managing people is perceived to be an easy job but many feel challenged when they are given the reins. Striking a balance between the expectations from the management of surpassing targets, no people or performance issues and the team expectations of good appraisal, never say no to leaves and finally getting a customer satisfaction results along with a good employee satisfaction score is not everyone’s cup of tea.
People Leader as I like to call all of us who manage teams at various level of the hierarchy is one job, many desire for but do not know what it takes. Being a people leader is easier said than done, most of us end up being tagged as bosses and managers.
To Be a People Leader, you should –
1.Build Your Credibility
Building your credibility as a leader takes time, you should be determined towards it. It involves letting your actions speak louder than words, deliver what you promised, value integrity, importantly set expectations which you are committed to following yourself. People around you are smart to observe whether or not you do what you preach and before they do it. Remember, as a leader, you should “walk the talk” and set the right example for them. 93% of employees said trust in their direct manager is important to remain satisfied at work (Ultimate Software)
2. Adopt a Customized Approach
The famous Situational Leadership theory by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey talks about different styles of leadership is needed for different people and for different tasks. Not everyone on your team has the same learning or performance curve and not all tasks have to be done in the same manner. As a leader, be flexible in your management style and try to keep it less complicated for your team
3. Know Your People
Spending time with your team is an investment, more you invest, more you benefit. Just saying a “hi” or asking “how are you” is not enough. It has to be more than that, your discussion and talks should not be transactional, that is what bosses mostly do. As leaders, know your team’s strengths, opportunity areas, and their ambitions. You should give them quality time, make influential talks around their interests, celebrate personal landmarks and events. All of this, make them realize that you are putting efforts to know them.
As leaders, your time is important but your people are important too
4. Be Available
57% of employees feel their leaders are detached from the workforce (Rapt Media) and this leaves the people to be disengaged and demotivated. On the contrary, when you spend time with your team, you get an opportunity to become aware of their needs and problems in day to day operations, find solutions and make action plans; this leads to reduced communication gap and you gain better control over a variety of situations. Once you start spending time with your teams; you will notice that their engagement, inspiration and efficiency levels grow higher. So, make sure to set aside time for your team
5. Address Issues Before Expecting Performance
As a people leader, your focus should be on resolving the team and individual issues and not to simply expect the team to perform well or respond to changes you propose. Be open, approachable and a good listener. This gives comfort to your people to share their issues with you with an open mind. Be it a team conflict or an individual issue, ensure to pay attention and be aware of such matters. Conflict Management principle by Thomas- Kilmann, states that there is no set way of dealing with conflict but the focus should be on resolving the conflict before it hampers the performance of the individual or the team
6. Coach Regularly
Face- time is what I call it. 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback feel fulfilled in their jobs (Clutch). Timely and consistent coaching and feedback allow you to change behaviors, drive results, motivate and improve performances. The frequency may depend on the type of work, the size of your team and the nature of coaching or feedback required. Ensure your sessions are documented, time-bound, have a follow-up action with a date which is agreeable to the coachee and you. This not only makes the mid-year and year-end appraisals talks easy but also keep the transparency within your team
7. Lead The Development Of People
Leaders endeavor is to develop more leaders from their teams. I realized that when as a leader you take interest in your team’s career development, they become highly proactive in seeking new responsibilities and they find ways to manage their performance better. What better way than to start by sharing your development path and plans. This will make your team realize how a well-documented plan can advance their careers. Additionally, as you constantly improve your skills, you are in a better position to guide your team through their development progress. Staying interested in your team’s development sets you apart from others
8. Appreciate & Thank Your Team
Appreciation at work stimulates positivity. When you acknowledge and praise your team/individual efforts, it encourages them to perform even better and soon becomes contagious. Add a “Thank You” to it, you go further to value your employees. Remember to avoid customary phrases like “good job” or “well done” every time there is an opportunity. People are interested to know what worked and clicked for them and others, so it is better to talk about the situation, approach or behavior displayed and the outcome with its benefits. A small and genuine script of appreciation goes a long way in adding to the development of the individual and the team as well. Try and Practice it to Believe it!
9. Be Accountable and Take Feedback
Stand by your team at times when they have dropped the guard or raised the fire. It takes courage to bear the brunt and lead from the front. As a leader, you cannot blame your team for missing targets or for not performing well; taking accountability irrespective of circumstances and working on the root cause of the issue is a sign of a good leader. Similarly, if your team has a feedback for you, listen to them and accept where appropriate, you too have a lot to learn. Do not try to cover your fallacies by irrational excuses and set the same expectations for your teams as well
10. Give Respect If You Want It
Respect is gained with actions, not positions. As leaders, you ought to respect all individuals, your colleagues, the management, whether you agree or not if they are liked minded or think differently. Along with the points listed above, you should also speak well for others, give people their due credit and be rational with everyone. The more fair-minded and unbiased you are, the more you are revered.
As a people leader, there is a lot riding on you. As you juggle between a multi-faceted role, you ought to remember that there are a lot of people looking at you with belief and expectations.
Many believe that leading people is a thankless job, but I believe, if done in an honest way, the outcome is worth the effort
It is your opportunity to be known as a LEADER than just another boss
To You and To Your Teams! Cheers
Do Share Your Stories, Successes, and Challenges in the comments below.
The blog is dedicated to the wonderful leaders I got an opportunity to work with and learn from and my teams, who have supported me in my journey.
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