Guest Post by Melinda Reihberg
I started my career as a management trainer because I have a passion for leadership and understand the impact a good leader has on the productivity of a business and the performance of its people. I also know, first hand, that leadership skills often do not come naturally and need to be learned – just as any other skill. Most skills, to be learnt, honed and refined need time, practice and guidance from others more experienced to really excel in them. My passion for leadership training comes from my time as a leader. I was a high achieving team member promoted into the role of team leader without the skills to make the transition smooth. Now with hindsight I can look back on my early career and understand where I went wrong and can help others stop making the same mistakes I did.
1. No Team Vision
Early on, I didn’t buy into the fluff and stuff of goals, values and mission statements. I failed to see the leaders vital role in this; how and why to take it from the framed words purposefully placed around the boardrooms and offices and make it relevant to my team. Teams need purpose, and they look to their immediate leader to provide it. Everyone, no matter what their job title likes to feel a sense of ownership and relevance to their role. A vision can provide this; it’s a sense of where, as a business you are going and the role each individual plays in getting there. Think about it, are you more committed if you know why you are doing what you do and what the intended outcomes or benefits will be? An inspiring leader understands the basic principle of WIIFM (what’s in it for me) and answers that question for each and every person in their team through having an effective and purposeful team vision.
2. I Wasn’t a Chameleon
As a high performing team member who regularly met and exceeded targets I naively wondered how difficult it could be to lead a team of people to achieve similar results. I expected those in my team to respond, perform and achieve as I had. Of course, we are all different, and will act accordingly. An inspiring leader is one who can change and adapt their style to suit the individuals in their team. Yes, it’s a jungle out there, and the creature that survives and thrives in the leadership jungle is the chameleon, because they have that ability to modify themselves according to the needs, personality and skill of each team member. You definitely can’t be a one size fits all leader if you truly want to engage your team and help them reach their potential. Mix it up, think about the needs of that person in that moment and continually ask yourself “What do they need from me to achieve the desired results”.
3. I Didn’t Manage the Quit and Stayers
When staffs are dissatisfied in their job, they generally have two choices – they can either quit or leave the business, or the other and most damaging choice is to quit and stay. In other words, mentally they check out but physically they are still there going through the motions, taking up space and $$$. When staffs are doing just enough to get by and not engaged in their job, their negative culture breeds quickly and with ease. A true leader will not lack the confidence to quickly get their performance and attitude back on track or manage them out of the business. If you hesitate to hold people accountable to their actions, or lack thereof it will have an impact on your bottom line – I guarantee it!
Melinda Reihberg regularly runs both in-house and public workshops for aspiring and new leaders and anyone who would benefit from learning or refining the skills of inspirational leadership training and better team relationships.