Promotions are granted when we excel in what we do and have proven ourselves a reliable asset. They bring a new job title and, hopefully, a pay rise to reflect your ascent up the company’s hierarchical ladder, into a leadership role.
Some employees can become leaders just because they’ve been at an organisation for a long time, not because of any innate managerial talent.
So how do we lead effectively?
Growing into leadership
Becoming a leader can be a great experience. The role lets you hone your decision-making capabilities and allows you to do more with more resources. However, it can also be a little overwhelming. Some new leaders can freeze in a period of indecision, or continue to play at their old role by micromanaging the team.
Both indecision and micromanagement can slow things down for your team. That means learning to trust your team members and making the most of their strengths.
Delegation, and how it works
Leadership does not mean doing everything on your own and managing every single aspect of your team. You will have to leave things in your team’s hands while you deal with the decision-making work. In other words, delegate.
Delegation means assigning specific tasks and responsibilities to your team while you take care of steering your chunk of the organisation in the desired direction. You’ll need to learn to trust your people to make this happen, and you will need to know how to take good advantage of their strengths and skills. This leaves you free to make strategies, plan your team’s actions, and make decisions that will impact your team’s operation.
Effective ways to delegate
Smart Workweek founder Banks Benitez recently outlined how leaders can delegate better. Here’s how he thinks leaders can become master delegators:
- Bonds are everything.
You have a ground-level, personal connection with your team, letting go of hierarchical dynamics and opening yourself to all sorts of feedback while freely giving it out yourself. This will create honest conversations and actual collaboration that lets the team work toward the organisation’s best interests.
- Know what your team is doing.
Take a look at their existing workloads and what particular project they are working on. In addition, talk about their deadlines and deliverables and how much more load they can take. This is crucial to know what you should de-prioritise and what sort of roles you’ll need to assign to each of them.
- Define roles for each team member.
Assign responsibilities based on your employee’s strengths. Be clear on what they need to do and how you want them to perform. Also, be sure to provide them with the tools and resources to fulfil their assigned tasks.
- Establish specific goals.
Create goals for your team, complete with metrics that clearly define success and measure performance. Set deadlines, but keep a hands-off approach to how your employees do things. Simply set expectations on their performance that you can adjust as needed.
Leave the heavy lifting to your team
To provide effective leadership, you should be able to drive your team toward success. This means assigning them roles and trusting them to do their stuff. Delegate the grunt work, keeping only the strategic functions to yourself.