From Manager to Leader: How to Unlock Your Team's Potential
For ages the success mantra for becoming a successful leader remains largely unchanged but the harsh reality is that many leaders in the modern corporate world are stuck in managing day to day operations of the company which only makes one believe that they are leaders working as managers. Somewhere the line between being a leader & manager disappears. Leaders should know how to lead their team to success by creating a vision, setting goals, and providing direction. This is done by the process of motivating and inspiring people to work towards a common goal. Let me share different ways that leaders can lead their team to success.
1) Create a Vision
Don’t just create a vision but create a clear and a compelling vision. It is a picture of the future that the leader wants to create for the organisation. This may seem to be the most obvious point but this is where lot of leaders struggle. In this fast food world, today’s leaders are consumed with the idea of successful immediate future, but not far and beyond. A vision can also be defined as a statement of purpose that provides direction and inspires the team to work towards a common goal.
2) Communicate Effectively
This is extremely important and if practiced well amongst stakeholders especially internal stakeholders, then it can have a magical impact. There are enough research papers today that subscribe to the fact that leaders or executive communication has direct bearing on team performance. A leader must communicate the vision, goals, and expectations clearly and effectively to their team. Effective communication helps to build trust and confidence, and it fosters a sense of unity and purpose within the team. Leaders should be transparent, open, and honest in their communication. At Dale Carnegie, we emphasize that one of the most important aspects of being a leader is earning trust and confidence of their team, absence of which will only make a person a mere title or designation holder but surely not a leader. By learning to communicate effectively with your team, you are just doing that.
3) Setting Goals
The leader should work with the team to set goals that align with the vision and provide a roadmap for achieving success. Goals should be challenging which may push one outside their comfort zone but considerate. Leader should provide support and resources to help the team achieve it.
4) Empower and Support the Team
A leader can empower their teams by delegating responsibilities, allowing them to do critical decision making and supporting their decisions. This delegation not only provides a team a sense of ownership with a commitment to complete the task but also provide a leader with more time to focus on much larger areas. In fact, a true leader transitions the team by giving them the requisite skills to prepare them for future. Leadership is not just about telling what to do or how to do but unlocking the potential to do things that they actually want to do. This not just gets the leader, respect of his team but also shows his confidence in his team and leader’s own lack of insecurity.
5) Build Relationships
Decades back Dale Carnegie stressed upon the importance of building ‘genuine’ relationships for success in business & life, which still holds true today. There is no escaping to the fact that a strong bond with the team is imperative. Leaders should move beyond corridors of professional relationship and know the team at a personal level, understand their strengths and weakness which will help the leader to provide opportunities for growth and personal development. Building relations also helps to create trust and loyalty fostering a productive and positive work environment.
6) Encourage creativity, innovation & continuous improvement
Leaders have to encourage a strong culture of outside the box thinking, creativity and imagination where taking risk, exploring newer ideas and opportunities are celebrated. Team members are encouraged to brainstorm collectively, collaborate and experiment. Leader should work on identifying new ways to continuously improve – himself as a leader, efficiencies and productivity of the team, process within the organisation, thereby leading to growth. This means that the leaders should be open to feedback and suggestions. Leaders should invest in the development of their team members, providing training and learning opportunities to help them grow the team.
7) Walk the Talk
A leader should be willing to lead from the front and not shy away from rolling the sleeves to get things done. A leader must model the behaviour that they expect from the team. If the leader sets high standards for themselves and their work, the team will follow suit. A good leader should be honest, hardworking, and committed to the vision and goals for the organisation.
In conclusion, a leadership can make or break an organisation and we have enough examples of both the situations. While in any battle, it the strength and capability of the army, sharpness of the sword, ability of the armour to defend, but it is often that the generals that are remembered of having lost or won the war. Corporate world is no different.
As Dale Carnegie wrote in his book – The Leader In You – Stop Doing, Start Leading.
Senior Business Consultant
Dale Carnegie India