One of the key responsibilities of anyone in a leadership role is to ensure their team members are utilising their skills, strengths and abilities as best as they can.
When dealing with different personalities, a leader must be able to support people through difficult situations, which may include dealing with change, improving performance, and meeting deadlines or objectives.
Stress and anxiety is known to affect many people in the workplace. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in America revealed that around 18.1% of the US population suffered some form of anxiety at work, with 22.8% of those cases being classified as “severe.”
Stress is caused when we react to a current situation whereas anxiety is what we experience when we react to an imagined negative event in the future.
As leaders, we don’t want our team members to experience anxiety while they are working, and it’s up to us to be aware of the costs of dealing with anxiety and offer solutions to manage it.
We all go through highs and lows in life, and it’s the low times that’s often intense and emotionally draining.
How we deal with periods of intensity, before, during and after, has a major impact on all aspects of our lives.
What Classifies as an Intense Time?
An intense time may include:
- A career change.
- A relocation.
- A major project that we’re working on.
- Meeting deadlines or expectations.
- End of a relationship.
- A major illness.
- Loss of a loved one.
The reality is life will go on and we’ll have new priorities to focus on. The better we’re able to recover, refresh and refocus on what needs to be done next, the easier it’ll be on us mentally, emotionally and physically.
It has often been said that first impression is everything whenever we meet and interact with someone for the first time.
The saying, “You will not get a second chance to make a good first impression” still holds true today but there are ways we can recover if we’ve blown our chance initially.
Consider these scenarios:
- Going for a job interview.
- Presenting a business proposal.
- Giving a sales presentation.
- Meeting the parents or family of your significant other for the first time.
- Going to a social or business networking event.
In each of those situations, the impression we make first plays a significant part in whether we achieve our objective or not.
The good news is it’s easy to leave a good first impression and it won’t take much effort at all to get it right.
A key responsibility for anyone who leads a team is to keep their team members motivated, while bringing the best out of them consistently.
Whenever there are issues in teams, it can be narrowed down to a few things, which may include:
- Lack of clarity or direction for the team.
- Conflicting priorities.
- Personality clashes between team members.
- Lack of communication.
- Poor leadership.
If we lead teams, we have to know our team members well so that we can leverage their strengths and achieve our team objectives.
This is not always an easy task especially if we don’t know what the strengths of our team members are.
The thought of doing silly things as an adult, especially in a professional setting, is not something most people would not dare to do.
As we grow older, the aliveness and vibrancy we had as kids is often replaced by our desire to be liked, accepted and respected by those we interact with regularly. Saying the right things and behaving professionally becomes our focus most of the time.
If we happen to do something that is outside our normal behaviour, it can often cause others to question if everything is okay with us.
There is an inner child in all of us that likes to have fun. The more we subdue our inner child, the harder it becomes for us to relax and be our true selves.
The good thing about being silly, while being aware and respectful of the situation or context we’re in, is that it will:
- Make us feel more courageous.
- Boost our self-confidence.
- Make us more likeable and attractive.
- Help us experience more joy in our daily interactions.
- Cause us to feel good about ourselves and our life.
As lack of confidence often prevents people from going after what they really want, we can start boosting our confidence by doing silly things and having fun in the process.
As our world is seeking better leaders now more than ever before, it’s vital aspiring leaders are aware of what to do and not do, in order to lead others effectively.
Those who can lead well are able to:
- Influence others to make new decisions.
- Inspire others to go beyond what they think they’re capable of.
- Elevate the performance of others.
- Encourage others to do new things.
- Provide the necessary support to help others achieve what they want.
Contrary to popular belief, no one is a born leader. People acquire leaderships skills through education and experience. Some people are naturally suited to leadership roles, however they still need to develop their skills in order to be a good or great leader.
On the other, there are people put into or given leadership roles who tend to struggle to bring the best out of people and also themselves. The difference may well be that they’re making some fundamental leadership mistakes.
All great teams have common characteristics which can include being proactive, communicating well and team members working towards a common objective.
A key responsibility of a leader is to ensure team members continually improve their performance and collectively make the team better.
Great teams thrive when it comes to solving problems. The bigger the problem, the better they’re able to adapt and work together to find solutions to overcome their problem.
Problem-solving is a skill that can be developed with practice and discipline over time. Leaders must ensure they’re doing all they can to help their team become better problem solvers, while ensuring team objectives are being met.
Many years ago, I managed a manufacturing site that produced cylindrical paper tubes including cartridges used to fill adhesives and sealants used on constructions sites and by handymen. One particular assembly line consistently produced waste as high as 20%, which resulted in high material costs.
In order to solve the problems on the line, we got many people involved including raw material suppliers, engineering, quality control, production supervisors and the assembly line workers. I wish I could say the problem was solved quickly. It took almost three years to reach the stage where the line was operating as best as it could.
We’re constantly negotiating with people in our daily interactions. Not all negotiations are the same — some may be important, while others may seem trivial.
In its most simplest form, a negotiation is a discussion, set up or intended to produce a settlement or agreement.
By becoming a better negotiator, we can:
- Get things done faster.
- Help others improve what they do and how they do it.
- Create more collaboration with others.
- Take on new or better projects.
- Facilitate processes to help others achieve what they want.
Learning to be a better negotiator will also boost our self-confidence, which means we’ll be more willing to challenge ourselves to do new things or ask for what we want.
Conflicts are inevitable whenever we have to deal with other people for extended periods of time. Sometimes issues arise which can catch us by surprise.
If we know how to respond to issues or conflicts, we’ll be in a much better position to affect the situation the way we want, while ensuring those involved achieve their outcomes as well.
The Risks of Not Resolving Conflicts
As dealing with conflicts can be uncomfortable or challenging, if left unresolved, we may experience:
- A loss of motivation to do our best work.
- Additional stress and mental turmoil.
- A loss of self-confidence.
- Some hesitation in asking for what we want.
- A deterioration in the quality of our relationships with others.
Whenever we’re interacting with people who have different beliefs, values, opinions or behaviours, chances are at some point we’ll experience disagreements and conflicts. Therefore, knowing how to deal with conflicts is a useful skill to have.
Our level of assertiveness is closely linked to our level of confidence and our willingness to take bold action.
The more assertive we are, the more confidence we’ll develop, which in turn, will help us do what we need to in order to achieve the results we want.
There is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. A person who’s assertive usually is:
- Self-assured or secure with who they are.
- Confident in what they do.
- Clear about the decisions they need to make.
- Persistent when it comes to achieving their goals.
Being overly aggressive, on the other hand, usually comes across as trying to exert power over others, which most times, alienates a person from those they are communicating with.
Knowing how to become more assertive, while being respectful of others, will help us get the results we want a lot easier without the need to force things to happen.