The best leaders create more leaders.
As a team leader, it is your job not just to lead but to give your employees or team members the tools to become leaders themselves.
Leadership can take many forms. Sometimes it is as simple as leading yourself on the journey of professional development. Leadership qualities are indispensable in relationships with clients and colleagues alike. But more than just taking on leadership roles, thinking like a leader is an invaluable skill that you can instill in the members of your team.
One of the simplest things you can do as a team leader is to spark a conversation. This can be done casually and covertly, or with an explicit interest in generating new ideas and habits of thinking among your team. The topics you choose are really up to you; almost anything that a person or professional can encounter can also be adapted to leadership areas. Here are just a few examples that you can use to motivate a conversation among your team members, or to spark ideas of your own.
This topic may be an obvious one, but it can lead down infinite avenues. Communication can always be improved, so that is one place to start. You could ask for constructive feedback, or challenge your team members to brainstorm ways that their own communication styles can be improved.
You can also delve deeper into the world of communication by asking what the word means to each team member, or turning it on its head and inquiring what is not a component of good communication. For a more experiential approach, you can challenge your team to try a new medium compared to that which they would normally use. If they were thinking of emailing a question to a colleague, how might a phone call change the way they approached the issue?
For different personalities, follow-through can mean a variety of different things. What it means also depends on the role the individual plays in a team. For one person, follow-through may mean delegation; for another, execution.
Different people will have different sentiments surrounding the idea of follow-through as well. Some people prefer the pre-work aspects of a task: brainstorming, strategizing, and assigning roles, for instance. For others, the execution is where they shine. Discussing follow-through is an opportunity to view the whole as a sum of its parts, and for each individual to explore their particular strengths.
Taking the role of a leader does not occur in a vacuum. Have your team members consider what their leadership and team styles mean for those who work with them. What unconscious effects might they have on those they work with? How could they use these influences to their advantage, and to the benefit of the team as a whole?
It is important for each member of a team to check in with themselves from time to time about how their personal goals align with the goals of the team as a whole. Focusing on one, while keeping the context of the other in mind, can often provide a refreshing lens through which improvements in both areas are achieved.
Considering collective goals also fosters group communication, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. However, not being on the same page can be a blessing in disguise, since the work to arrive at the same conclusions involves a give and take on the part of everyone involved.