It can be hard being a team leader or manager.
You get so many opinions and advice on where you should focus your attention or what you need to learn. At the same time, there is always a new trend people want you to jump on before you miss out. It can be overwhelming.
However, if you don’t possess the leadership fundamentals, it becomes challenging to upskill yourself and implement new abilities into your way of working. You need to have a strong foundation in place before you can broaden your skillset.
So what are these leadership fundamentals that should form part of your baseline as a team leader or manager? You don’t need to learn everything immediately. Just start with these four skills.
This is perhaps the most crucial skill you need as a team leader. It’s not about talking for the sake of talking. You need to know how to engage your direct reports. You also need to be able to influence, negotiate and have robust discussions with your colleagues. Communicating also involves managing up to your superior.
Communication skills also incorporate listening. You need to know when to stay quiet and hear from others. It requires bringing people in, exchanging ideas and discussing the best way forward. The only way to develop this skill is to practice. Speak to a broad range of people and continuously adapt to suit the person on the other side of the table.
There are rarely organisations where it’s a team of one. You will always need to engage with different people and various departments. You might not rely on them on a daily basis, but they help your team reach its business objectives. It could be the IT team that ensures your technology is operational or the marketing department that has to generate sales leads.
You need to collaborate with everyone who helps your team. Meet with them, provide them with feedback, and ask for ideas. Create a relationship that is beneficial for both of you. The best way to work on this leadership fundamental is to just start. Book meetings and open the lines of communication.
Being honest with yourself is vital as a team leader or manager. There’s a difference between imposter syndrome and self-awareness. You need to be able to distinguish the difference. The key differentiator is you understand your gaps and know what you need to do to improve. Imposter syndrome will tell you that you can’t do it and should give up.
Conduct a self-assessment monthly or quarterly. Evaluate your performance and receive feedback from direct reports and peers. Set a plan and start working on how you can improve. Create a deadline for the next self-assessment period and evaluate your results.
4. Learning Ability
You can’t progress as a team leader if you don’t understand how you learn best. There is no shortage of educational tools out there. The key is to find out what sticks with you and helps you develop and embed your skills.
It could be from books or audiobooks. Maybe you prefer video content. You can jump on YouTube, online courses, and even Instagram Reels or TikTok. Naturally, there are blogs too, like this one. Once you understand what works best for you, you need to dedicate time to getting better.
Focus on Your Leadership Fundamentals
Dedicating time to improving your leadership fundamentals is essential. It will take time and commitment. However, the rewards are worth it. You will be able to embed new abilities and become a better leader. It will also help you in the long term as you start looking toward your next role.
If reading articles is the best way to learn, you should make sure you’re following the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find tips and advice on how to improve as a leader. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.