4 Balancing Acts That Can Help You Be a Better Leader
Being a great leader is much easier said than done. What qualities one person or team admires in a manager, another detests. Behaviors that seem great in theory often crash and burn in practice. Striking that perfect balance is a delicate process that takes lots – and lots – of practice.
Along with the fundamentals like delegation and accountability, there are a vast amount of leadership skills that can make a big impact. We’ve recognized four balanced behaviors that go just beyond the basics:
1. Don’t use negative language; stay positive.
While you should be genuine with your team, never talk negatively about a person, team, or project, as this type of behavior can create a distrusting environment.
This use of language doesn’t do much to assure your team that you see yourself as a team player. And as an example and insight to the company, your negative attitude (even if just for a day) can shape their perception of a project, department, or company member for the entirety of their career with your organization.
2. Understand the difficulties your team faces.
Just like learning how to be an effective leader is easier said than done, so are the duties of your team members.
If you’re fortunate enough to be promoted from within the same team you’re now leading, then you have an in-depth understanding of how high-level decisions can affect the day-to-day responsibilities of your team. If you’re an external hire, then really try to comprehend the challenges your team faces. Even the simplest of tasks can have their challenges with redundancy or frustration.
Having this insight not only gives you a better idea of needed solutions, but your team will also trust that your decisions are made with their well-being in mind.
3. Be honest about challenges.
While you may not be able to discuss every detail with your team, being honest and forthcoming about what to expect helps them feel as though they are part of the solution – because after all, they are. Feeling a sense of ownership of a process that will lead to positive outcomes is an inspiring motivation to work as a team.
4. Practice team-building exercises – but not too many.
Depending on the nature of the job, it can be easy for each individual to stay in their own comfort bubble. But while the work at hand is still a top priority, designating time to help your team get to know you and each other is a huge, underrated tactic that can really pay off in the end.
Schedule a lunch hour, plan a few games on a Friday afternoon, or suggest going out after work. When your team is more comfortable talking to one another as well as you, then communication (and empathy) bolsters. Just don’t abuse this tactic as a way to avoid your own duties – no one wants to work with their own version of The Office’s Michael Scott.