7 people skills every team leader should possess
Being a Leader means working with people. This automatically involves the interaction at many levels and with different kind of personalities.
The “real leader” needs to be able to deal with all kind of situations by keeping in mind that the pre-set goals need to be achieved and to have predefined people skills.
In general, people don’t like delegating as this often means loosing control or wasting the time explaining issues. In reality the effect of delegation could be really positive. Being able to effectively delegate tasks to others means being able to lead.
There are many reasons why the delegation gives positive outcomes.
If you don’t delegate, you need to do the work yourself and usually this mean more and more work. By delegating the focus can be shifted to something else and perhaps more important. Delegation gives the trust to the team, and it is generally linked to the motivation. Delegation builds the team as the team would need to learn new skills or expand the knowledge.
There is a catch though. Delegation is positive only if applied correctly, and this is often not easy.
What should be avoided is being vague:
- about goals, what to do
- about deadlines, when has to be done
- about the process in terms on how to do it.
Supervision is a key ingredient of the delegation. An early feedback is a must, so that some deadline situations could be avoided.
In order to work in a high performance team a manager needs to know how to motivate team members. Side benefits of this are the high levels of team member job satisfaction, and staff retention.
A manager can obtain high performance through providing interesting and challenging work, helping people set and achieve meaningful goals, and recognizing and rewarding high performance in ways that are valued by each individual.
To stay and hold a leadership position, a leader has constantly to “sell” themselves: ideas and new initiatives.
Normally, three things are sold:
- features: highly technical people would love this one. Selling a feature means involving the need of implementing new issues that could involve the attention. In general, avoid selling features.
- benefits: When selling benefits of something, this will have different reactions to who the leader is selling to.
- dreams: Selling dreams is a winning situation. “Your career would benefit from the success of this project”, or “You are going to become an expert in a field you always wanted after completing the xyz project/task as this will enable you to learn xyz”.
Seven sales-step sales cycle:
1. Agree the opportunity
2. Preview the benefits
3. Suggest the idea
4. Explain how it works
5. Act early on objections
6. Reinforce the benefits
In general to sell well, a managers need to listen at least twice as much as they talk.
By coaching, you are helping people their own potential. Usually this doesn’t mean to tell the people how to do but rather giving guidance, suggesting ideas and looking for options.
When coaching, solving problems for people is usually a mistake. It is attractive as it makes the leader to look smart, making the life easier for the other person, and could make you become more popular, but this usually gives exactly the opposite effect. On a long term this is not good as the stuff won’t develop, it will bring more work to the manager.
Managing the boss (upwards)
Yes, this is what the title says. Managing the boss seems to be the only way in order to move forward with the career. In general the boss expects more or less the same things you, as a leader, expect from your team. Among other things we may note: Initiative, Hard Work (whatever that would mean), Reliability, Ambition and of course doing properly the work that has been assigned.
The rule is simple, a leader should not necessarily agree with the boss’s style, but needs to adapt to it and try to affect the decisions of the boss by following exactly the same style.
There are definitively some things that as a leader you shouldn’t do when it comes to the leader-boss relationship: disloyalty, surprises, outsmart bosses, acting unreliable and in the end not being professional.
When someone comes and recognizes the skills, excellence and genius in you, we would be happy about it and would like generally to return back the compliments. Flattery works well in a corporate environment.
The flattery is an easy way to find (win) new friends and it could be used as a great weapon for influencing people. Some examples of how to do it: Praise in public, Listen, Seek Advice, Empathize.
The general rule is, manage the others in the same way you would like to be managed.
There are certain points that are worth mentioning. Recognize the work done, Delegate (as mentioned earlier), Set clear expectations as professionals like knowing what is the price for the achievement, trust the team, show that you care, and one of the most important thing is to shield the team. Their success is in reality your success.