This is a great question for new and existing leaders – especially those that are in constantly changing environments.
At the most simple level, a leader’s purpose is to grow and build a team in order to leverage each team member’s strengths, which in turn magnifies the success of each person and of the whole. For net new leaders, if they fail to change and continue to be a lone soldier, who/what is being led? For those struggling with the question of how good they are performing as a leader, here are some questions for self-reflection:
- Do my team members feel supported?
- Do they feel I am helpful strategically and a key to their success?
- Do they believe I genuinely care about them?
If the answer to all is Yes – Right on!; If the answer to any one of these is No, it is time to change and give your team members what they need to ensure their success, your success, and the success of all other stakeholders (customers, other teams, etc.). After self-diagnosis, the next step is to ask other leaders their perception of how you are performing. One tactic to avoid as part of the discovery process is asking our team members what they need from us. Rarely will they tell you that you are failing, or that they need you to care about them more than you do yourself. The only time questioning them is appropriate is for certain tasks and/or specific help they need – it is not a question we ask in regards to how we should lead them. To care is to place our thought, energy, and priority on the other person(s), which is the only way they will feel it. We have to be thinking about what they need rather than solely depending on them to tell us.
Leadership is tough/more work and it can be a lonely place at times. However, we all have to remember why we signed up, which was to help others grow and because we understand the Go Giver (“The Go Giver” book is great!) mentality and are confident in the results it will net .