Leadership can be incredibly challenging. Leading people requires a ton of sacrifice, patience, and flexibility. As a leader, your goal is to get to the result successfully. Unfortunately, despite all planning and strategizing it does not always go as planned. Leadership is the ability to inspire a team to achieve a certain goal. When you’re feeling stuck, there’s only one surefire way to get yourself out of it: lead by example. This means being more self-aware and proactive in your leadership than you have been in the past. You need to go beyond simply telling others what to do, and instead show them how to do it. That takes a lot of demanding work, but the result is well worth it. As leaders, we have a responsibility to not only set an example for others in our team, but also for future leaders who may be looking up to us as role models. The best way we can accomplish this is by showing others how we expect them to follow suit and become a leader.
What you should know before becoming a leader
Leaders are in constant search of growth and improvement. If you expect your team to take on the same responsibilities as you, you must be willing to learn and grow with them. To be a successful leader, you must be willing to open new areas of your expertise and learn about new skills your team may be lacking. You should always be looking to learn new skills to add to your toolbox and to help your team. Being a team leader is a full-time job, and you must be willing to take on the responsibility of learning new skills and expanding areas of your expertise.
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Be proactive in leadership
There’s no point in leading your team if you don’t lead by example. Proactive leadership is all about setting the right example. If you’re constantly reactive, it’s hard to learn lessons and develop as a leader. Instead, take the initiative to set the right example for your team. This can be as simple as making sure people know where meetings are scheduled or when projects are due. Set expectations from the beginning, and make sure your team knows what’s expected of them. Don’t be reactionary, and instead be proactive. If a project is late, don’t wait for people to come to you with complaints. Instead, address the issue as soon as you become aware of it.
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Leading by example is great, but it’s also important to set the bar for your team and help them to see how they can become better leaders themselves. This is where mentoring comes in. Be the one to whom your team turns when they need advice on becoming a better leader. Mentors can be anyone on your team or even someone outside of your team. Simply put, if your mentee is looking for advice on how to become a better manager, then you’re mentoring that person as a manager. If they want to become a better leader, you’re mentoring them as a leader. Your mentee doesn’t have to be someone on your team. You can choose to mentor even if you don’t have anyone on your team who’s looking to become a better leader. You can also choose to mentor outside of your team. This can be a better mentor because they may have more experience, or it may be a mentor outside of your company for some added diversity.
Equip your team with the tools they need
Leaders don’t always have all the tools in the toolbox. This can be a problem when your team is expecting results, but you don’t have all the necessary resources. This can be a problem in any business, but it’s especially the case in startups. As leaders, you can’t just assume that your team has all the necessary knowledge to complete a task. You must be proactive and help your team to fill any knowledge gaps. This can be as simple as taking time out of your schedule to train your team in new skills they’re lacking or needing help with a project they’re working on. You can also take advantage of company training programs, online training, and other resources that may be available to help your team.
Leaders don’t get to where they are without making sacrifices, and that often means sacrificing the opportunity to lead in the first place. If you find yourself feeling stuck in your current leadership role, there’s only one surefire way to get yourself out of it: lead by example. This means being more self-aware and proactive in your leadership than you have been in the past. You need to go beyond simply telling others what to do, and instead show them how to do it. That takes a lot of demanding work, skill, awareness, self-worth, and patience but the result is well worth it.