Nobody’s That Good By Themselves!Feb 09, 2022
Two of the most important team leadership skills we need to create an atmosphere the people can be excited to be part of and actively engage in our organizational objectives are communication and emotional intelligence - but it doesn’t stop there! According to the Harvard Business School article I referenced last time, the ability to delegate and a spirit of openness are nearly as critical if we want to lead in a way that builds a strong team!
Developing the ability to delegate, as well as the discipline to do it routinely, is incredibly important for anyone with leadership responsibility. As our leadership load increases, the demands on our time can seem never-ending. Even when we’re more effective at performing certain tasks than anyone else on our team, we have to take a hard look at which things we really should be doing ourselves and which things we should be assigning to someone else. This is so important that Cindy and I built tools for doing this into two of the six lessons of our Emerging Leader Development course!
But when we look at delegation with regards to the impact it has on building a strong team environment, it’s about more than just effectively using our own time… The HBS article shares that “However tempting it might be for you to micromanage members of your team, doing so can be detrimental to progress.” This is a real issue every leader I know struggles with at one time or another. It can be tough to let go of things we do well and it can be even tougher to keep our hands out of the cake batter when the person we’ve delegated the task to isn’t stirring it quite as thoroughly or as quickly as we think we could!
In addition to the constant fight to avoid micromanaging, we also need to make sure we’re very intentional about how we delegate tasks. This can’t be a function of passing off the things we don’t want to do, we need to consider which team member can handle the task and which team member can grow through the process. Since we cover that in far more detail through Emerging Leader Development than I possibly could here, let’s move on…
Many of the supervisors, managers, and business owners I’ve interacted with over the last twenty years or so have held a lot of things very close to the vest. Only a select few of their closest friends or highest level managers were given access to much information. And in many of those cases, those same folks felt quite a bit of pressure to put up a strong front with the majority of the team who worked for them. That rarely earned respect or buy-in because no one is good enough to hide all their flaws forever…
Having a spirit of openness doesn’t stop at being willing to acknowledge our own weaknesses or concerns, we also need to be willing to listen (you know, part of that communication thing) when a team member brings something to us. The HBS article listed openness as their fifth most important team leadership skill and stated that, “If your employees don't believe they can reach out to you, there’s a risk that problems or concerns will go unaddressed before it's too late to correct them.”
Amen to that. And allowing concerns to go unaddressed, for whatever reason, will quickly lead to so many more issues that eat away at our organization’s performance.
With each of these team leadership skills in mind, we’ll close the loop next time by looking at three simple questions we need to be constantly asking ourselves so we can perform each of the four skills we’ve just worked through to the best of our ability!