There are multiple layers of leadership–individual, familial, work teams to name a few. I have found that leadership is generally most difficult when emotions run high. I, typically, do a better job leading in difficult situations at work than I do at home. Regardless of where you are, the principles of leadership are applicable.
Leading requires a level of trust. Members of the team need to trust you as their leader–whether formally (in a position of authority) or informally (as a member of the team)–those around you need to trust you. To build last trust you must get to know each other. Set aside some time to get to know your team. Send out a questionnaire asking about your team members. You can include questions about their family, hobbies, favorite books or games, etc. Refer to their answers in conversation. Building lasting trust takes time so don’t rush it. Team members will trust you as you show that you are worthy of that trust. So, if you say you will do something, do it when you say you will!
As noted in Strengths Based Leadership (pg 83):
- if team members don’t trust their leaders, the chances of them being engaged at work is 1 in 12! If your team members don’t trust you, they are likely on the hunt for their next opportunity and possibly even working against you.
- trust increases speed and efficiency. Once there is a level of trust among team members, they can skip all the getting-to-know-you activities required when working with people and go straight to what needs to be done.
Leading requires passion. Leaders are passionate! Some are passionate about leading; others are passionate about improving processes or developing people. Whatever your passion is, let your team in on it. As they see your passion, they will come to know you and recognize you as a “real” person and not just their boss (I hate this word) or colleague.
Leading requires restraint. Leading, formally or informally, requires you to, at times, fall in line with a decision you don’t agree with. If you are challenged with this because you feel you are being inauthentic or dishonest, let your team members know up-front that if ever a decision is made that you don’t agree with, how you will act. You can tell them that you if this situation comes up, you will voice your opinion/concern behind closed doors with the decision-makers but in public and to the team, you present the decision as one you support.