What defines a great leader?
Is it the ability to listen to others, to motivate, to overcome challenges?
Great leaders can achieve balance—a balance between interacting and guiding a team while still maintaining authority.
When you take away all the fluff, a great team leader can be defined in two simple words:
A great leader never forgets they’re a team player.
When people lead, they take on a role of responsibility: the captain of a ship, the leader of an expedition, the coach of an Olympic hockey team.
Many people mistake a great leader for one who jumps in with their team and works with them. Think of this:
Who do you respect more, the captain of a ship who tells her team to row harder while she watches, or the captain that motivates by rowing with them?
While someone who motivates their team by working with them is more respected, that may not necessarily be as effective.
Remember: hard work is smart work.
A great team leader achieves extraordinary living by making the most out of his or her team each and every day.
They do this by being a motivator, and by setting an example. They show their team what can be accomplished when everyone works together. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a team leader must work with them.
He or she must lead their team by showing them the way. By guiding them.
When a leader jumps along with their team to work with them—when a captain rows alongside their team—who is in charge of navigation?
So, while it is necessary for a leader to motivate, a great leader should always keep in mind that their job is to lead. To communicate. Not to do what other people on the team can and should do. They can show their team how to do it, but a good team leader should have faith that they have taught their team well.
An effective leader watches over his or her team: the weaknesses, the strengths, the challenges, the opportunities for improvement. This allows them to do their job and make their team the best it can be.
Think about it this way: does a good coach take the court or the field during a game?
A team leader knows their team.
An effective leader knows their team members’ strengths and weaknesses.
This ensures that you allocate work accordingly to make sure your team is doing their best most impactful work.
This means working hard to make sure your team is working hard. This doesn’t mean you have to do the same work as them. It does mean that you have to work as hard—if not harder—than they do.
This will earn you respect.
Help by teaching, not by doing.
When team members do something new, they need assistance. The most effective leaders help not by doing the work, but by teaching their team how to do it.
A good team leader encourages and supports others. They lead by example and ask for input when necessary. They are someone the team trusts to ask for help when they need it.
Success and failure test a leader. Whether they achieve success or failure, a good team leader will always seek input.
There is a difference between leaders who command, and leaders who seek input. Leaders who command are dictatorial team leaders.
Effective leaders show respect for all their team members, and always ask for suggestions and feedback—they keep lines of communication open at all times.
Be the kind of team member you want everyone on your team to be.
Show–don’t just tell–your team how to be successful.
Lead by example.
- Help by teaching, not by doing.
- Encourage always.
- Ask for input.
- Lead by example.
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