What are some of the key questions that you might have about becoming a leader – or just about leadership, in general?
Two weeks ago, I was honored to be featured alongside other leadership experts on Mashable’s #BizChats Twitter chat about leadership and on how to become a strong leader. The conversation was inspiring and fast moving, as these chats often go.
The questions asked during the chat include… with a few of my thoughts woven in…
Q1. What are some defining traits of a leader?
A leader doesn’t tell her team what to do; instead, she inspires them to use what’s already inside to do great things. She supports and uplifts her team. She’s honest, transparent, has a great attitude, communicates well, is always learning, empowers others, and does the right thing. One thing to remember is that a leader doesn’t necessarily have a team but must have followers.
Q2. What are some common mistakes that new leaders make?
Some common mistakes I’ve seen include:
- Believing they have to have the answer or all the answers
- Talking more, listening less
- Thinking you have to do everything; it’s ok to delegate
- Not working well with others
- Trying to do things themselves, on their own, in isolation
Q3. How can a leader take on more ownership without becoming overwhelmed?
They can delegate and then empower their followers. They’ll still be accountable, but it’s OK to pass on responsibility to the team. Also, leaders don’t have to take on more ownership; they ought to inspire and guide and teach – and give up some ownership.
Q4. What are some useful tips for leaders managing a team for the first time?
A few of the tips I offered up include:
- You don’t have to have all the answers
- You don’t have to be the sage on the stage; be the guide by your team’s side
- Give credit where credit is due; don’t take credit for your team’s work
- But when your team fails, you’re the first to fall on the sword
- Recognize your employees for a job well done
- Take care of your team, really care about them
- Think about a leader in your past: To be like them or to not be like them? That is the question.
Q5. What steps should a leader take when dealing with office politics and/or conflicts?
Recognize that there is conflict; discuss what it is and what it means for the team. Understand the opposing positions, and figure out how you’ll work together. Don’t let things get personal, and don’t take things personally. Communicate early and often. And in the end, don’t forget patience and respect.
Q6. How does emotional intelligence play into effective leadership?
When you understand how your emotions affect others, when you have this emotional awareness, you can better control your reactions. It then keeps you from attacking others, allows you to feel empathy, and allows you to resolve conflict more effectively and diplomatically.
Q7. What are some myths about leadership?
A couple of common myths (there are so many more) include:
- You have to have a team to be a leader
- Managers and leaders are one and the same
- Leaders have all the answers
- Leaders can’t ask for help
Q8. What final tips do you have into evolving into a leader?
A few of my tips included:
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, and when you do, be prepared for what you hear
- Inspire, don’t tell or yell
- You are in charge of your destiny and the type of leader you will become
- Think of past leaders and pull lessons from the good ones and swear off traits from the bad ones!
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. -John F. Kennedy