How To Be An Effective Leader, Even With No Experience
Leadership is a tricky thing. We have all known great leaders in our lifetime, yet it is difficult to specify exactly what their “greatness” rested on. Some of us spend our whole lives trying to lead, while others are unwillingly thrust into the role. And let’s not forget those who grow into leadership roles over time.
No matter how it happens, when leadership is upon you, the impetus to succeed is real, yet sometimes insecurities can stall our success. Every leader is a novice at some point in time. You may be surprised to know, there are qualities a new leader should focus on developing even before experience, confidence, and track record.
Whether you are new to the industry or an established veteran, when first placed in a position of leadership, there are always going to be areas you are not familiar with. Whether it’s a function of the group you have no experience with, or just how that function ties in to the big picture, rest assured you will not have all the answers. Taking the time to build comradery within the group will not only allow you to draw on the strengths, talents, and experience of the entire team, but you give your team a reason to root for your success. By contributing, they now have a vested interest in your success and the group’s overall success.
In fact, one of the most important things a leader can do is master comradery. If a leader cannot bring together individuals with differing priorities for a common goal, then long term success is unfeasible.
Building a team mentality begins with you. Have the humility to not separate yourself from your team. One of the best leaders I ever knew had a saying, “I’ll never ask you to do something I wouldn’t do”.
Being a leader inevitably means setting rules, boundaries, and expectations. Many leaders spend a lot of time deliberating over the best methods for enforcing accountability amongst the staff. Come on strong and let them know violators will be persecuted? Give them plenty of grace and use the honor system? While your leadership style is important to consider as you build your team, the single most important factor in accountability is self-accountability. Possible the first key step in being an effective leader, even with no experience is holding yourself to a standard you want others to follow. No matter how you lay down the law, if you are not holding yourself to the same standards you hold your team to, then you are essentially giving them implied permission to break those rules. Being the boss may mean you get to make the rules, however a good leader understands they are not above those rules.
Composure is probably one of the most overlooked traits of a great leader. The ability to control your emotions is one of the most difficult skills to master, both personally and professionally. By becoming proficient in the art of composure, you are providing your team with the consistency they need to excel in their roles. They need to know and trust that your decisions and reactions to situations will be based on logic an rationale, not emotions, fear, or stress.
This composure also comes in handy when your team is feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, or even betrayed. If you show yourself to feel the same, you’ve lost your ability to guide the reactions of your team for the greater good.
Leadership is a privilege and a great responsibility. People are trusting you to make decisions for others with their best interest at heart. If you work with integrity to honor that trust, you will be surprised at how well leadership suits you. As you can see, you really can be an effective leader, even with no experience. Trust yourself, be a great listener and be patient, it won’t come quickly.
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