Once promoted, many new managers find that the qualities and skills that earned them the position do not really measure up to the leader they want to be. These managers are often powerhouses of information with the hard skills needed to drive the company’s success. And they are also ideal candidates for leadership training. The most successful leaders are humble and know the importance of learning and adaptating when it comes to leading teams. Hard skills are not enough.
While hard skills are valuable, soft skills are critical when it comes to managing diverse teams. Executive leadership training at Venture Up emphasizes team awareness, and ways leaders can look inward to uncover ways they can influence their team’s success.
People Pay Attention to How You Lead
It’s not just what you say and do, but how you do it. Before a leader gains trust with the team, the evaluation process is underway. Team members may wonder how effective you were at your prior job. They may be watchful for mistakes, perhaps testing your confidence. Or they may question you to see how much you know about the team already. Leaders who exhibit confidence, good character, trustworthiness and influence from day one will likely be more successful than those who feel the need to prove their worth. Leaders likewise should be wary of the team player who cares more about impressing the boss than measuring up to his team.
Remember, You Set the Tone
The most successful team managers know that effective change comes with a buy-in from the top. Setting the right tone and getting management on board is crucial to getting work projects done effectively and on time. If team members are made aware that the top dogs are behind you, they not only have greater confidence in your power to lead, but see a smoother path for their future projects if you can cut through the barriers they may have faced earlier.
Supporting and Leading Your Team
Feedback is one thing, but acting upon it is what really matters. What does your team need to be successful? What tools can you provide? What kind of support will help the work flow, save time and increase productivity? When you show your workers you care, it speaks volumes. It is not enough to value their opinions and seek their expertise. Make sure to recognize team members who are making significant contributions to your team, at the team- and upper levels. If your team knows you discuss them as individuals with your own boss, you also become seen more as a team player vs. the manager ruling from his perch.
Remember group projects in high school? You know, the ones where one or two people do all the work and the team gets the credit? No wonder people cringe at the thought of collaboration. The slacking team members do the bare minimum, but only when the teacher is looking. It’s easy to judge them as poor team players, but a hardworking student could also learn some lessons from taking a leadership role.
How did you affect the team? Did you delegate small tasks to others and give the most important roles to yourself in order to make the grade? Or did you elicit feedback from each group member as to what each could contribute? Did you engage them in discussing strategies? Did you hold everyone in the group accountable? Were you approachable, even after class hours? Did you keep in touch and keep a steady work pace, or were you forced to rush the project right before deadline?
Venture Up’s custom leadership programs get managers to ask the right questions of themselves to help create a clear pathway to motivate team collaboration. Managers who are willing to listen to and act upon direct feedback will find the most success in uniting the team. Recognizing individual contributions opens the door to team collaboration.