Leadership styles vary depending on the needs of an organization, but there are many traits that remain steadfast. Here are questions to ask yourself around seven of those traits:
1. Desire: Do you really want to lead?
Don’t confuse management with leadership. Management is about processes and things. Leadership is about people and outcomes. Leading people is a choice that requires a shift in what you see as important, where you spend your time and the skills required to be effective. Move from “doer” to “leader.”
2. Focus: Are you focused on the right things?
Leaders understand that the top priorities are getting results through others and the success and development of their teams. Your team’s growth and success stories are your growth and success stories. While the coach can’t play the game, they are certainly responsible for the team’s performance and can take pride in that.
3. Spending time wisely: Where are you spending your time?
Understand that your people are the most important success factor in your role. That should dictate a large part of where you spend your time. Are you focused on them or your own work? Leading is not something you do in addition to your job. It is the job.
4. Creating accountability: Do you set shared goals and hold people accountable?
A leader creates accountability around outcomes. The team is involved in measurable goal setting and is then held accountable for action and results.
5. Confident delegation: Are you delegating and letting go?
A leader encourages self-directed decision-making and reasonable risk-taking to develop leadership thinking and a results-focused orientation among the team. Let go, allow for mistakes to happen, and treat them as learning and coaching opportunities. Focus more on what will be accomplished and allow the team to own how it will be accomplished.
6. Superb coaching: How well do you coach?
An effective leader coaches, teaches and develops the team. A leader asks questions rather than simply providing answers. Asking questions encourages thinking, accountability and an ownership for action among the team. Besides, how often does your team already know the answer anyway? Encourage differing opinions and ideas and allow action on them.
7. Trustworthy transparency: How transparent are you?
Trust is the foundation of the ability to lead. Trust is fostered by openness and self-awareness. A leader asks for and obtains feedback on their effectiveness as a leader. A good leader remains open and not defensive, taking action to change. Attack your weak spots and get out of your own way.
How Wipfli can help
Wipfli’s leadership development programs help leaders at every level cultivate a leadership mindset that empowers others to thrive. Learn more about how we help clients with people, process and strategy on our organizational performance consulting web page.
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