There are times in your professional career where you will be expected to be a leader for a team; this could happen at school, at an internship or in the workplace. There are also times when you are expected to step up to be a leader even if your position is not neatly outlined for you. Below are a few tips to develop your leadership skills for the better while keeping your team fruitful and productive. Here are four tips that I use to become a stronger leader:
Be a Leader, Not a Boss
There is a distinctive difference between a leader and a boss. As a leader, you need to recognize that difference. The distinction between a boss and a leader is how you choose to use your team members. In order to be a successful leader, you need to keep the team’s well being in mind. A leader builds up the team’s confidence and plays off the strengths of individuals while stepping back to bring the best out of the team to accomplish goals. A boss, however, just wants tasks accomplished and, often times, likes to be the center of attention.
Listen, but do not be afraid to speak up
The most important aspect in leadership is having the ability to listen to what your team members are expressing. Communication is a two-way street, and if you are the only one communicating, chances are you are not being a good leader. A good leader recognizes that there are multiple ways to achieve goals and needs to be flexible enough to hear and enact what other people are suggesting. At the same time, you are the leader for a reason, so do not be afraid to speak out if you have reservations around a certain idea or suggestion. Essentially, do not be the only person making decisions, but do not forget that your input matters and is equally important as the opinions of your team members.
Know your team member’s names
This tip may seem silly or you may be even thinking, “Well, duh.” What I am reminding you is that it is important to know the people you are working beside. They should not be people you see once a week at a meeting and avoid talking to because you cannot remember their names. For a team to work successfully, a working relationship must develop. Do not be afraid to start a conversation with your team members to get to know them better. If conversation can flow within your team, you are creating a better team dynamic. Keep in mind that while it is important to develop working relationships, you do have a task at hand and you and your team’s attention should be focused on accomplishing those goals. After all, that is what you are there to do. This dynamic can be tricky to develop, but a strong leader knows to create a balance.
Actions speak louder than words
Successful leaders use their actions to set an example for others; they don’t just say, but they show. If you want your team members to act a certain way, then you need to act that way as well. Your team members are looking up to you and if you cannot hold yourself accountable to the standards you expect them to uphold, then you are not acting as a positive leader.
Being a leader is often times challenging, but by utilizing these four tips, you can develop your leadership ability in any position you may end up in.
Information adapted from http://www.lifehack.org/287785/10-differences-between-boss-and-real-leader and http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238747.
Amanda Troncone is a current freshman at Waynesburg University majoring in public relations. She serves as the service chair committee member for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Troncone also serves as an account coordinator for Red Brick Communications, Waynesburg’s nationally affiliated student-run public relation’s firm. Her goal is to gain experience in the field of public relations through PRSSA.