In case you haven’t got a good leadership definition, leading means:
o Forming a team from individuals and supporting it
o Aligning the team towards justifiable goals and achieving this goals
o Developing the individual team members
o And do all of this in a professional way concerning content, method and social interactions
When one found himself with a team to lead and a goal to be achieved, the very first questions that need to be asked is if the team is the adequate to reach the goal, which means to review the different team profiles and make the necessary decisions. Doing that exercise will mean that we are forming our team. Once we reviewed it we’ll make the changes required, if external circumstances don’t allow us to perform the changes we’ll focus on identifying why our team is not appropriate and start working on modifying what we recognized as not appropriate.
At the finish of this phase we’ll have a team, our team; the second, and not always so easy part, we’ll be to support them. Supporting has two different meanings; it means to remove the barriers that could prevent them to progress toward the goals but it also means to be the visible head when problems arise, and they will arise.
Aligning the team is key, a leader has to keep constant attention on keeping the team focused and make sure the different team members are having the same or a complimentary goal.
Development of team members is often left behind, normally because of the goals have to be reached and time is limited, so spending time on development does not look as a good thing to do. Big mistake, time invested on personal development will always pay off very, very quickly.
Last but not least, a good leader has always to be a role model for his team; they have to recognize on the leader the methods and professionalism that they’ll need to apply to come to the end point: achieving the goal.
Let’s take a look at a different aspect of the challenge: leadership styles. There are different leading styles; the main challenge of any team leader is to recognize which style is the optimal at certain point in time or for certain challenge and apply it accordingly, those leadership styles goes from the authoritarian to the democratic passing by patriarchal, informing, consulting, cooperative and participative:
o Authoritarian: Manager decides and communicates decisions.
o Patriarchal: Manager sells the decision.
o Informing: Manager presents decisions and asks for ideas.
o Consulting: Manger presents problems, respect input for ideas and decides.
o Participative: Manager defines boundaries and asks group for a decision
o Democratic: Manager delegates decision to staff within certain limits.
The decision on which style is the optimal has to be based on the need of leader authority that the situation requires, when the decision and mandate is clear so there are a very clear and established process to follow the authoritarian will be the best, when autonomy of staff is the most important value to reach the goal the democratic model will be indicated.
Knowing the definition of leadership and the basics of the different leading styles is the basis for any good leader, the difference between a bad and a good one is recognizing what is missing on his team and focusing his priorities in filling the gap of what is missing to lead in the appropriate way.