Are leaders born or made? While you can spend hours poring over literature debating one side over the other, the long and short of it is both.
Sure, there can be people with innate leadership abilities. People can have a natural charisma, commanding tones, and unmatched skill.
Likewise, people have the unique ability to come from nothing and grow their set of skills to blossom into formidable leaders on a work site or in the boardroom.
In short, successfully managing individuals and achieving goals allows you and your brand to build essential trust with customers.
But when leading a team, what are the best ways to achieve success?
Ways Of Leading a Team: Steps You Need To Succeed
So, what does it take to succeed in leading a team?
Here are the six steps to help you and your team reach your short and long-term goals.
1. Communication Is Key
Communicating with your team is the building block toward success.
Whether it's a weekly meeting or a regular one-on-one to discuss performance and tasks, keeping an open line of communication with your team members is the aspect of leadership that keeps everything running smoothly.
As you'll see, proper communication is essential for projects to succeed. If there are no adequate communication channels, a team can fall apart. Say goodbye to reaching those deadlines.
Let's say that you and your team want to engage in an aggressive SEO strategy to corner a specific market. However, after setting the expectations for your team, you only meet with them once a month.
Then, the next thing you know, your keyword efforts are seriously slacking. Could it be a misguided keyword strategy? Maybe.
Could it be employees going in different directions, taking charge with their own ideas? Maybe.
If you don't adequately communicate, you'll never know. And the more you don't know, there's less of a chance you have of turning that ship around in time.
Maybe start small; one-on-one with each team member could be a great way to communicate your ideas and expectations and build a rapport and relationship with your employees.
2. Adapt Your Leadership Style
Learning to adapt is critical to succeeding as a leader of a team. More specifically, adapting your personal leadership style may be in order.
Certain leadership styles may work better than others depending on the project, deadline, expectations from upper management, and more.
However, that's not to say that combinations of styles like the hands-off Laissez-faire and coaching leadership styles aren't efficient.
However, depending on the goals, variables, and nuances of specific directions of a project, it may not behoove employees to have a manager with one style.
For example, some team members may respond more positively toward an authoritarian leadership style, especially during a project with a tight deadline.
While we love leadership styles like democratic and coaching, each one serves a purpose in specific scenarios.
3. Don't Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
We hate making mistakes. We go out of our way to avoid them, and it's understandable. As a leader, you want to ensure everything goes according to plan.
However, it's not a perfect world, and things can go awry. But that's okay. It's a part of learning. But leaders and team members are, understandably, afraid of making mistakes. But if you're so focused on avoiding mistakes and limiting flexibility, you're doing you and your team members a disservice.
And this is a fantastic opportunity to practice communication. Why did your team not meet their goals? Was there a communication breakdown? Were you not successful in developing a cohesive plan?
Running a postmortem on an unsuccessful option is your best way to future success. What went wrong? What went right? Did your in-house advertising team listen to all of the client's ideas and desires?
Remember to communicate with your team, motivate them, build confidence within their ranks, and make sure you outline a clear vision of what success means to you the next time around.
4. Keep It Simple
Keeping things simple makes achieving goals and deadlines...well...simple.
Even if you're more of a 'big picture' type of manager, keeping things in the here and now helps your employees better conceptualize goals and reach them.
Working towards completing complex challenges and meticulously detailed business goals, while admirable, can muddy the waters of good business.
For example, instead of focusing on every nuance of the marketing funnel, maybe focus on the first two levels. After you master those, proceed towards the other stages. The idea is to master the marketing funnel, but you can only hope to do so if your team understands each aspect.
The best way to do it? Keep it simple. Then move on to more ambitious goals.
A team leader should inspire action and promote growth through setting simple, achievable goals. Keeping it simple, focusing on one thing at a time, is a great way to hit all the marks and move on to more ambitious goals later on.
For example, maybe you want to work on your CTAs this month to pull visitors to your website. While you can delegate responsibilities to other team members, focusing primarily on your goal of better CTAs should take precedent.
5. Help Your Team Grow
A beautiful aspect of good leadership is helping others grow. While your team members are no doubt capable of great things, leading a team allows you to help them push the limits of their comfort zone and make them achieve even better results.
A vital combination of the four previous steps helps you in this endeavor.
Reward good work, help struggling team members reach goals, communicate, and play around with your leadership style for optimal team growth. And don't forget that you're learning, too! You're capable of growth just as much as your team members.
6. No Excuses: Take Ownership
“Total responsibility for failure is a difficult thing to accept, and taking ownership when things go wrong requires extraordinary humility and courage. But doing just that is an absolute necessity to learning, growing as a leader, and improving a team’s performance.” - Jocko Willink
In Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, the two former Navy SEALs describe how the team works better on a fundamental level when leaders take ownership of mistakes. By using anecdotes from their tours of duty, the two former military men examine what it means to lead a team of individuals to achieve great things.
Now, this is greatly simplifying the text, but in essence, when the diffusion of responsibility occurs, excuses pop up, and finger-pointing occurs, your team is in trouble. The 'mission,' whatever that may look like for you and your team members, is in jeopardy when we get mired down in the muck of the blame game. Instead, take a different tack. One that may be a bit uncomfortable. And, at a glance, a bit counterintuitive.
Instead, a person in a crucial leadership position needs to take complete ownership over the mistakes of their subordinates. Regardless of who slipped up or under performed, the leader ultimately bears the responsibility. That leader was in charge of that subordinate. That subordinate's behavior results from something right or wrong occurring in the management process.
Whether the leader didn't properly explain business concepts or concocted complex, hard-to-follow plans, the leaders need to ensure that the team understands and knows the goals.
When a manager takes ownership of a slip-up or business blunder, it allows the team to learn, grow, and thrive. It will enable each team member to build an effective (not to mention comfortable) strategy to help everyone reach the end goal.
In short, don't make excuses; your team will appreciate it in the long run.
Leading A Team: Much More Than Meeting Goals
When leading a team, you're taking on a lot of responsibility. And sometimes, that can be a lot to handle, especially when things don't go your way.
But if you keep these six points of leading a team at the forefront of your mind, you'll have a much easier time managing employees and team members.
Whether taking extreme ownership of your team or adapting to different situations, you can quickly become a leader that people will look up to and admire.
See what's going wrong with your brand with our digital marketing consultation services. Whether it's a lack of good advertising or a lackluster SEO strategy, we'll help nail down what needs improvement and help you achieve your goals.
Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2015). Extreme Ownership. St Martin's Press.