Being a leader is truly about taking a step back, and about allowing your team to really perform their best work. Rather than “taking the bull by the horns” and attempting to micromanage your staff to follow your every instruction, instead you should be letting the individual creativity and talent of each person shine. That’s why they were hired in the first place, after all!
So how do you do this? How do you go about getting the most out of each individual team member? Here are some useful points to keep in mind.
Make Them Feel Safe
One of the most important roles of any leader is to make the team feel safe. In a work place environment, this will often mean that you are taking on responsibility, such that they don’t take the blame when things turn sour.
If your team know you will blame them for every mistake that they make, then they won’t be able to take creative risks. Likewise, if they are terrified of layoffs and higher management, then they’re not going to work well either!
Know Their Skills
Another important thing to consider is how each of your members operates as an individual and how best they can be integrated into a team. Different people have different skill sets and work better in different capacities – which means that different people will work better in certain groups and in certain positions within those groups. If you have someone who is a born leader then of course that person is an asset to any group – unless that group already has a born leader in place in which case you are going to cause friction. Think of how each new member will fit into the dynamic of each group and choose how you assemble the teams based on this. At the same time though, be sensitive to how your staff react to these decisions and be willing to move individuals to other groups and departments if necessary.
Likewise, this allows you to know who to assign to each task when they are required to work independently.
Give Them Ownership
One of THE most important tips for any leader, is to give members of the team a sense of ownership over what they are doing. While it’s your job to take responsibility when things go wrong, you should also make sure that they have something to show for their hard work, and that they have control over. If it goes well… they get all the credit!
When someone isn’t working their best, it normally isn’t because they are “bad workers” but instead because they don’t feel intrinsically motivated by the work they’re doing. Give them a project that they have some creative control over, and that they can add to their CV… and all that often changes!