When we think about leaders the image of someone at the front of the charge, showing the way can come to mind. Or if, you have ever had a poor ‘leader’ you may think of someone who stands behind screaming orders and driving people forward. There are actually several aspects to being a good leader that don’t involve slashing a path or cracking a whip. Which one is likely to be the most successful depends more on who you are leading than your preferred leadership style.
Rookie team members – Certainly you remember what it was like to be new and unsure of what and how you were supposed to do things. I have talked about successfully onboarding new teammates a couple of times. As a leader your responsibilities don’t end there. Make sure you provide goals and direction. Don’t just tell them what to do (goal), show them how to do it (direction). Be clear in your expectations and check in regularly to assist with roadblocks and to ensure progress is being made
Sophomore team members – Once a team member has had a chance to get her feet wet and has a basic understanding of the what and how of your team you can become a little less hands on. Instead of providing specific direction, set goals and be available to answer questions and give coaching but give enough space for her to learn from mistakes. If you continue to treat sophomore team members like rookies there is a risk of squashing their creativity and you can end up with an automaton who hates her job and only does exactly what you tell her to do.
Junior team members – As an individual mature into his roles you will have an understanding of how committed and competent he is. You may need to encourage him to take advantage of the freedom you are ready to provide. Let him know you have confidence in his ability to make decisions and that he doesn’t need to come to you for approval on everything. Ask for his input on the most direct path toward goals. It is important to take advantage of his expertise.
Senior team members – In your most advanced team members you hope to see a combination of experience, knowledge and self motivation. When you are fortunate to have those traits come together, make her part of the goal creation and prioritization process whenever possible. Delegate tasks in their entirety and trust that they will be completed on time and within budget. Explain that you are available if you are needed but you expect her to come to you if there is a problem. Additionally, senior team members can be giving the responsibility of mentoring rookies or sophomores.
Knowing how much support a team member needs depends on more than just how long they have been on your team. Their experience with the task, their personality and their confidence all play a role. It is your responsibility as their leader to determine if they will achieve the most from their potential if you lead, follow or get out of their way – then do it!
Dr. Robyn Odegaard’s doctorate is in psychology with a concentration in performance and sport. She is the CEO of the speaking/consulting company Champion Performance Development, the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the book ‘Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams’. She specializes in combining executive coaching with sport psychology to show individuals and teams how to achieve the most from their potential. You can invite her to give one of her funny, influential and insightful presentations and inquire about her consulting services at www.ChampPerformance.com and order her book from www.StopTheDramaNow.com
Tags :being the boss, Champion Performance Development, creating a successful team, creating a team, Doc Robyn, get out of the way, Leader, leadership, leading teams with different experience levels, Robyn Odegaard, when to follow