Last Saturday marked the 6th annual TEDx Conference at my university. It was the first time I got to attend the conference as a delegate, as I was on the organizing team for two years prior. As a result, I really got the opportunity to listen to each talk and fully grasp the meaning behind them.
One of the talks particularly spoke to me on so many levels that I cannot even explain. As a result, it inspired me to write this post. Hope you enjoy.
Leaders, traditionally, the tone and rules of their respective group, and their "followers" follow suit. See, I think that nowadays that is an ineffective way to lead a team. Personally, I like leading a team by example. I firmly believe my actions speak much more than my words. I also believe that each and every person has a different productivity rate, work ethic way of organization. So why is it that we feel we must streamline many different personalities into one, concrete form of leadership?
It is the end of 2015 and simply times have changed. People are leading busier lives, societal norms are vastly changing and simply people's interests vary. In order to collectively seek results, we,team members must be adaptable.
Here are some tips I always use when working in a team whether it be for a class or for work.
GAUGE YOUR TEAM AND THEIR ABILITIES
When you first enter a leadership role, whether it be for a student group or an organization, take some time to read your colleagues. See where their abilities are, how they manage their time, what method of communication sees greater response from them. Chances are no two people are exactly alike but it is the beauty of teamwork and leading a team that brings people together.
EFFECTIVELY POSITION MEMBERS IN APPROPRIATE ROLES
Once you've taken the time to gauge the team, have a discussion on what each member's role will be. That being said, don't entirely delegate rather give your honest opinion when a member chooses what they shall do. Nowadays, many people don't like being told what to do rather they like to make the decision with some much appreciated input. (Note: that is a generalized statement and may not apply to every single team scenario).
BE FLEXIBLE AND OPEN-MINDED
No one likes an overly stubborn and unwilling leader. Be someone of understanding. Things will never go right to plan, which is why you need to be able to mould yourself and the team in a way that'll work best for the given circumstances. Also, if a team member has an idea that could help with progressing towards the goal, don't shut them down because they're "not the leader". Rather listen to them and have a discussion to see if it is indeed something feasible. One should never be plastic rather they should be elastic.
EMPOWER YOUR TEAM AND LET THEM FEEL THAT THEY'RE IMPORTANT
Going back to the point of listening to your team members ideas, it is important to facilitate an open space where everyone can share their ideas. That way they'll feel that their ideas are not going to be brushed under the carpet rather they'll be harvested into something beautiful. Empowering your team is also important: giving them credit when warranted and motivating them constantly. If one person isn't feeling motivated, chances are others won't as well if that one person's lack of motivation is unaddressed for so long.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Lastly, lead by example. They say actions speak louder than words. If you want people to be productive, you must be productive. If you want your team to think outside the box, you too must think outside the box. Leadership isn't a position or title, it is action and example. You must have passion inside of you and demonstrate that through your work that way your team will feel motivated.
Written by: Mariam Nouser