We begin our careers loading up on every technical skill we can. We want to master every part of our job and be comfortable carrying out each task with agility. That’s our goal as we strive to be the best leader we can and add value to our teams. Yet at some point we notice that although we may be capable of successfully completing any project, we are facing some different kind of challenges in persuading others.
This realization for some leaders that something has changed is expressed so often in many of my leadership workshops. An energizing discussion often emerges.
“Why won’t my team members listen to what I have to say?”
“I support my co-workers best with my strong technical skills. What’s wrong with that?”
“I am so frustrated that I can’t finish my assignment by myself. If I work with my colleague it will take twice as long.”
Have these thoughts crossed your mind and you are wondering how to promote your ideas more effectively?
As we grow in our jobs and careers we need to realign our leadership to become more people focused and less task focused.
Five Critical Leadership Skills As You Grow- The 5 S’s:
1. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU
The first place to begin to grow is through the understanding that leadership is all about people. It is about developing relationships and helping our co-workers see their potential and worth. Instead of just focusing on what we individually can contribute, we need to see how the strengths of those we work with can be utilized.
- Who can help showcase the project in an impactful way?
- What pieces are missing and who is best to work on them?
- Which person has the time and the skill set to take charge?
2. SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE
As we grow we need to be generous in sharing our knowledge and experience. One leader worried that if she showed her special tips then she would be of no value. What she learned was that team members would be eager to turn to her for guidance if they saw how willing she was to support them.
3. SPEAK WITH RESPECT
Strong and effective communication is key for leaders to master as they grow. What does that mean? When connecting with others we need to be clear, open and direct while still respectful of the other person’s point of view. We also need to be aware of how others receive and process information. Some of us prefer more details. Some of us would rather just have bullet points. Whatever works is great as long as we are respectful.
4. START PROMOTING OTHERS
In switching to a more people focused perspective, leaders help their team members and colleagues identify their gifts as well as create opportunities to sponsor them.
- Encourage others to lead the presentation
- Tell other teams about the strengths of your co-workers
- Connect co-workers with people that may need their talents
- Become known as a leader who recognizes others
5. SHARPEN YOUR LISTENING ABILITIES
Probably the most essential skill of all in growing our leadership is to become a strategic listener. One leader in a recent program thought it was best to just tell others how to do things in order to save time and meet deadlines. The problem was that their team member had some great ideas but felt they weren’t being heard. Keeping an open mind and listening to really hear what is being shared will empower you to become a highly approachable and credible leader.
What skills have helped you grow your leadership?
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