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Leadership is a complicated and multilayered skill with no singular approach being a guarantee for success. Some love it, some are daunted by it, however, it is without a doubt a necessity and one of the most crucial aspects to team cohesion and success.

It’s one thing to familiarise yourself with skills that are needed for leadership, but another to put these into action with confidence. For those who are working towards stepping into leadership roles, it can be difficult and often overwhelming to know where to begin. There are thousands of opinions and floaty statements promising simplification of perfect leadership. However, spoiler alert: there’s no silver bullet.

Start with considering your past and present experience with leaders and managers, as most people have worked in roles reporting to people who they have both adored and dreaded. Was it due to being micromanaged constantly or not being trusted to do certain tasks? Maybe it was their poor communication or being spoken to in a condescending way. Conversely, did they motivate and inspire you to work hard, encourage asking questions or give you clear directions and opportunities for growth?

Reflecting on leaders whom you responded positively can be a great start. Once you’ve identified these characteristics, you can start to unpack why you like or don’t like these approaches, and you will start to find consistent themes, such as accountability, transparency, and communication. This will help inform you of how you’d like to lead, and alternatively what you’d like to avoid.

It’s impossible to predict what kind of challenges and situations will arise when moving into a leadership role, however, it is nevertheless extremely valuable to do as much preparation as you can. This will put you in the best position possible as a successful transition could help catapult your career.

A major aspect of the transition into leadership, regardless of industry, is the significant shift from implementation and technical skills to people management. This can often be a challenging switch to make, as people are generally promoted on strong performance in their current role. Unfortunately, this provides no guarantee of making a good leader and is crucial to remember if you do find yourself in a situation like this.

Delegating and empowering your team members is an important step change. It sounds like a simple ask, however, is much harder to put into practice. Start with delegating smaller, less important tasks and then build up to larger scale and more pending assignments to allow yourself and your team time to adjust to the process.

Consider that everyone in your team is unique and will have different motivations and priorities as to how they approach work. Once you understand what motivates people in your team, you’ll need to learn to become adaptable and flexible as a leader as these motivations are no doubt markedly different for each individual. This takes a serious commitment and investment of your time but will ultimately be invaluable for building trusting and respectful relationships.

With no one or correct way to approach leadership, it’s essential to bring your real and authentic self into the way you operate and lead. Finding your personal style, incorporating your strengths and personality will help you build confidence when leading a team. This, however, shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all tactic. In all instances, think about how best to adapt your communication and leadership style based on the situation at hand, as well as to the individual you’re leading.

In the wise words of Gordon Tredgold, “We have to show them that we are the right person to lead, not because we were given a title, but because we have good knowledge, good character, a good network, a good reputation and a good worth ethic”

If you’d like to focus on leadership development in your business, check out our new Leadership Stories program as well as our other team-building programs.

Thanks for reading.

Oliver Sheer

Managing Director, Be Challenged

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