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Management vs. Leadership: 3 tips on effectively leading your team.

First let me say that there is a distinct difference between being a manager and leading a team. Through my experience in school, playing sports, and even in the workplace I have learned that strong leadership is key to having a successful team. I have also learned that basically anyone in the workplace can become a manager or the person in charge, but that does not make him or her an effective leader. Here are 3 quick tips that will help you make a positive impact in your organization through successful leadership!

1. Self-Awareness

As leaders, the first thing we must understand is that we do not know everything! Our team members have unique skills and experiences that we can and should learn from. The best leaders are able to identify these skills in each individual and ultimately give them challenging projects and tasks to help them develop in these areas and overall. If the leader ever feels threatened by a team member and gives them tasks that are outside of their skill set, or may not fall within their scope, it is a bad reflection on them because the entire team fails, not just the individual. Remember, if one member wins, we all win. Give credit where it is due and never stop learning.

2. Transparency

One thing I have learned both as an employee and as a leader is that communication is key! It can be very frustrating walking into work one day and an unexpected change has occurred... You walk into work and your role has changed, the organization has been restructured, or maybe just your workstation was moved. Regardless of how big or small we as leaders think the change is, it is always important to inform those who may be impacted and also if possible, try and get their feedback as well. As leaders, we want our team to be included or at least informed in advance so they don't feel as if they are not important or their roles do not matter. You would be surprised on how appreciated they will feel if you say "What do you think of this?"

3. Empowerment

The goal of a leader should be to raise their team members up to ultimately move into leadership, so you can move on to bigger and better things. Try and take a member to your meeting, or let them sit in on one of your conference calls. If you're double-booked, allow someone to sit in for you and debrief you afterwards. These actions empower your team members and also foster trust in the relationship. Often times, leaders are too afraid to relinquish some of the power, but once you bring others in on these topics, you will see that you are able to delegate more efficiently. Empower and motivate your team members because they are there for a reason and play an important role on the team. Once you communicate this to them and they believe it, their productivity will shoot through the roof!

Good luck and keep me posted on your success, leaders!

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