Earning a leadership role can uncover your worst insecurities. Instead of being proud of your accomplishments, you might question your abilities and hope no one notices that you're scared and overwhelmed. Fear is a natural side effect of taking on new challenges, and the resulting self-reflection can help you make constructive decisions under pressure. Confront these common fears to build an effective team that's confident in your leadership.
Leaders Must Have All the Answers
If you associate leadership roles with being perfect, it's easy to end up imposing impossible standards on everyone around you. Some leaders are so afraid of making mistakes that they micromanage and avoid taking responsibility for team output. A controlling boss is a turn-off because employees expect criticism and condescension, no matter how hard they work to meet goals.
On the other hand, being honest about your flaws is an invitation for employees to open up and trust you. When you make a mistake, or don't have the answers, apologize and ask for feedback. Employees want to be valued in the company. Including your team in decisions shows them you support employees and don't expect perfection.
Leaders Have to Motivate Others
If you think a leadership role is going to transform you into a charismatic superhero, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Great leaders have a variety of personality types, but one thing they all share is the ability to trust others. Motivation comes from personal commitment, so it's not your job to make employees set standards and live up to them. Instead, give employees opportunities to excel and let them know you're confident in their skills. Motivation is the natural outcome when you encourage workers to take risks and praise them for their efforts.
Leaders Must Be Available 24/7
A leadership role launches you into the spotlight, and the sudden change in accountability can make you reluctant to set boundaries. When leaders believe they have to be accessible all the time, they often get stuck in a cycle of giving too much attention and cutting themselves off once stress and frustration build up.
Workers have different needs and a wide range of expectations when it comes to time and attentiveness. Rather than trying to solve every problem for others, find out which priorities are important to your team. In many cases, employees just want a reliable, encouraging boss to reassure them they're on the right track. Set aside consistent blocks of time when employees can meet with you in person, and use group meetings to manage issues affecting the whole team.
Leaders Have to Be Fair
Moving up to a leadership role means you can't hide from conflicts. While it's difficult to know what might upset employees, most workers understand that company policies or resource gaps may clash with their priorities. Employees want you to be transparent about the rules, be consistent in your solutions and show empathy when work disputes put them in difficult positions. More importantly, advocate for employees when senior managers make decisions that create problems for the workforce.
Embracing your doubts can help you audit your actions in a leadership role. Avoid morphing into a controlling boss, and recognize most employees are skilled and capable of doing their jobs well with the right guidance.
Photo courtesy of Flare at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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