Being a leader sounds like a great thing to be -- and it certainly is. But here is the rub: though the word ‘leadership’ gets tossed around a lot, real, productive leadership is generally quite uncommon.
How would you describe a strong leader?
In one leadership study, qualities such as assertiveness, adaptability, intelligence and conscientiousness were cited as the most important. Research clearly shows that transformational leaders - leaders who are positive, inspiring, and who empower and develop their team are better leaders. They are more valued by their team members and have higher performing teams.
So what can you do embrace these characteristics and become a better Team Leader?
Have you ever been in a group where someone took control of the situation by conveying a clear vision of the group's goals with a marked passion for the work and an ability to make the rest of the group feel recharged and energized? This person just might be what is called a transformational leader. Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that leads to positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
Consider some of the following tips for how to become a better leader and think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your role as an Assistant District Commissioner in Scouting.
1. Learn more about your leadership style
There are six identified leadership styles, these are: coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting and coaching.
Understanding your current leadership style is essential. What are your strengths? Which areas need some improvement? One way to start assessing your skills is to take the following leadership style quiz to get a general idea of how you lead.
|Question: I have the final say over decisions made within my group.|
|Absolutely.||Most of the time.||I let group members make their own decisions.|
|Question: I consider suggestions made by others in the group.|
|Always.||Never.||Most of the time.|
|Question: I tell group members what to do, how to do it, and when I want it done.|
|Rarely.||All of the time.||Occasionally.|
|Question: If a group member makes a mistake, they are reprimanded or punished.|
Mistakes are a sign that a new strategy is needed.
Group members can resolve problems on their own.
|Question: I carefully watch group members to be sure they are performing tasks properly.|
Group members know more about their role than I do.
I offer guidance if it is needed.
|Question: Group members need clear rewards and punishments in order to complete tasks and meet goals.|
Group members should establish their own goals and objectives.
They also need to feel involved and committed to the process.
|Question: Group members are motivated by a need for security.|
|Question: I accept input from group members.|
I don’t have time to worry about other people’s ideas.
But I have the final say over all decisions.
I allow group members to guide the decision-making process.
|Question: I ask for advice from group members when things go wrong.|
I want input from group members when resolving problems.
And I let group members resolve problems on their own.
|Question: I want group members to feel involved and relevant in the decision-making process.|
|Much of the time.||Never.||All of the time.|
|Question: When there are problems in the group, I work with members to arrive at a reasonable resolution.|
Group members should offer suggestions.
I will decide how to fix the problem.
Group members should work together to fix the problem.
|Question: I want to help group members fulfil their potential.|
|Question: I prefer when decisions are made through group consensus.|
|Question: Big decisions should have the approval of the majority of the group.|
Group leaders are in charge of making decisions.
Group members should offer input.
|Question: I let group members decide what needs to be done and how to do it.|
|Question: I allow group members to carry out their role with little of my input. They know more about their job than I do.|
|Question: I entrust tasks to other group members.|
|Most of the time.||Often.||Never.|
|Question: I allow other group members to share my leadership power.|
To take part in this quiz and find out your dominant leadership style visit www.tinyurl.com/2bzb5d
Once you have completed the quiz, take time to find out about the major characteristics of your dominant style. And ask yourself, ‘Are these qualities helping or hindering your leadership?’ Once you've determine which areas need some work, you can begin looking for ways to improve your leadership abilities.
2. Encourage creativity
Intellectual stimulation is one of the hallmarks of transformational leadership. Team Members need to be encouraged to express their creativity. Effective leaders should offer new challenges with ample support to achieve these goals. One way to foster creativity is to offer challenges to team members, making sure that the goals are within the grasp of their abilities. The purpose of this type of exercise is to get people to stretch their limits, but to not become discouraged by barriers to success.
3. Serve as a role model
Idealised influence is another of the four key components of transformational leadership. Transformational leaders exemplify the behaviours and characteristics that they encourage in their teams. They walk the walk and talk the talk. As a result, group members admire these leaders and work to emulate these behaviours. If you want to become a better leader, work on modelling the qualities that you would like to see in your team members.
4. Be passionate
Would you look to someone for guidance and leadership if they did not truly care about the goals of the team? Of course not! Great leaders are not just focused on getting group members to finish tasks; they have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the projects they work on. Start by thinking of different ways that you can express your zeal. Let people know that you care about their progress. When one person shares something with the rest of the group, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate such contributions.
5. Listen and communicate effectively
Another important characteristic of transformational leadership involves a focus on providing one-on-one communication with team members. Good leaders should express sincere care and concern for the members of their team both verbally and nonverbally. By keeping the lines of communication open, these leaders can ensure that team members feel able to make contributions and receive recognition for their achievements.
6. Have a positive attitude
Transformational leaders have an upbeat, optimistic attitude that serves as a source of inspiration for team members. If leaders seem discouraged or apathetic, members of the team are likely to also become uninspired. Even when things look bleak and your team members start to feel disheartened, try to stay positive. This does not mean viewing things through rose-colored glasses. It simply means maintaining a sense of optimism and hope in the face of challenges.
7. Encourage people to make contributions
Let the members of your team know that you welcome their ideas. Leaders who encourage involvement from group members are often referred to as democratic or participative leaders. While they retain the final say over all decisions, they encourage team members to take an active role in coming up with ideas and plans. Research has shown that using a democratic leadership style leads to greater commitment, more creative problem-solving and improved productivity.
8. Motivate your team members
Transformational leaders also provide inspirational motivation to encourage their team members to get into action. Of course, being inspirational isn't always easy. Fortunately, you don't need motivational speeches to rouse your team members. Some ideas for leadership inspiration include being genuinely passionate about ideas or goals, helping your team members feel included in the process and offering recognition, praise and rewards for people's accomplishments.
9. Offer rewards and recognition
A good leader knows that offering effective recognition and rewards is one of the best ways to help team members feel appreciated and happy. It may also come as no surprise that happy people tend to perform better in the role. Listening without distraction, putting your praise in writing and publicly thanking people for their efforts go along way!
10. Keep trying new things
Who says leadership is a one-way relationship? As you work toward honing your leadership skills, don't forget to look to your team for feedback an inspiration. Pay attention to the things that have been effective in the past and always be on the lookout for new ways to inspire, motivate and reward group members.