I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with leaders throughout my career that have demonstrated some of the best management styles to some of the worst. I have been criticized for characteristics I value the most about myself to being praised for those same traits. It is that roller coaster of leadership styles that led me to adapt myself to fit a mold that never worked for me.
When anyone first branches out to truly lead others in a common goal it can feel overwhelming. I know for me it was all very confusing early in my leadership career. When should I adapt, how should I approach, when to be firm, when to let go, and most importantly to me; am I doing this right?
You worked hard, you are ready, and now it's time to be the best leader you can. Below is some personally curated advice that will get you on your way to conquering the next phase in your journey:
- You Do Not Need to Have All the Answers. We have all been there when leadership asks you a question and you think to yourself, "wait, shouldn't you know this?" The answer is no, great leaders are not all knowing. But great leaders understand their resources and how to get to the answer they and you need. If you are being asked a question from a leader, embrace the opportunity to be a resource. And if you are a leader, embrace the resources you have.
- Your Title Does Not Make You a Leader, Collaboration Will. I have always found the team approach works every time. To reach your goals you need commitment, "buy in" or belief the goal can be met, and hard work from every member of your team. When you give those members of your team a voice, you will find your goals are well within reach. You may have the final say on the direction, but make sure you are open to new ideas, different approaches, and even those that challenge the status quo. One of your greatest tools will be to take a problem and look at it from all angles. Do this often and collaborate even when you don't need help.
- Be Honest in every aspect of your day to day interactions with your team, your clients, your shareholders. Honesty is the only policy. Interviewing, Training, Client Relations, Administrative Tasks, Conflict Resolution, Strategy Building, etc. If you remain honest in your approach you will see success time and time again. Dare I say it will even set you apart from other leaders.
- Keep Learning. Read books, listen to podcasts, join leadership groups, get involved in your community. Often, when we first get started in leadership, we lean on those that we report to for guidance, and to help "mold" us into the leader we hope to be. A well rounded, multi-faceted learning approach will serve you better over time. Curate your skills from other thought leaders in your industry and from those outside of your industry. Look to creatives and to the more analytical and don't ignore the opposing viewpoint as well. Be influenced so that you can be influential, your ability to lead will become stronger by your ability to grow and learn.
- Bring Others Along for the Ride. Simply put, you did not get to where you are on your own. Your career provided good teachers, bad ones, co-workers that guided you, etc. Good leaders help others, Great Leaders help to develop others to be leaders themselves.
Tracy Kreiter, Director of Sales at Turf Valley Resort