Imagine for a moment that you’re sitting in on a focus group of new leaders. They begin to discuss the parts of leadership they’re most looking forward to. You listen as they explain how much they’ll enjoy assigning the most unpleasant or challenging tasks to the team members they oversee.
This approach might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s actually an important calculation every new leader needs to seriously consider.
Leadership Means Leaning into the Challenges
Delegating the pieces you don’t want to do isn’t a strategic or effective tactical step. Just because you have the authority to assign roles within your team, doesn’t mean you should use that power to avoid tasks that aren’t enjoyable or engaging.
A leader who begins their tenure through the lens of avoidance is making a crucial error. Instead, they should take time to meet with staff, determining current levels of efficiency and productivity in regards to systems and organization.
It’s rare that such a review will point to a delineation of tasks and responsibilities that allows the leader to do exactly as they wish. Instead, it will likely suggest that the leader ought to take on some of the more challenging pieces in order to better support the team’s goals.
When reviewing performance and expertise, the leader will likely find areas in which to augment and grow their team’s capacity. Perhaps the team has shortcomings or holes in their expertise. This is a key point. Abdicating responsibility or shifting it out of mere personal convenience can be catastrophic. Assigning work to a team member who is not prepared for it is counterproductive, resulting in a team that questions the depth and quality of their leader’s decisions.
Doing the Tough Work
Be transparent with your team that tough jobs need to be undertaken. If you’re willing to take on a share, your team will be more likely to follow your example than question it. A leader who is willing to perform difficult work while investing in the capacity of their team, inspires confidence.
Your team members are always keeping score of your actions. New leaders who are unaware of this fact begin their tenure at a significant deficit. Leadership is about serving your team. If you neglect to do so and prioritize your personal interest as your first act of leadership, your team will judge you as unprepared to lead.
Trust and loyalty are essential between a leader and their team if that team is to achieve sustained success. Build that loyalty and trust by making decisions that convey your willingness to serve.
Show Up Daily as a Leader
A leader’s mindset and the manner in which they show up for their team are often referred to as soft leadership skills. One can’t always examine a quarterly spreadsheet and see the effect of a leader’s actions and demeanor.
However, when you offer your team members a high level of support, they will be far more productive and more likely to remain with your team. The top reasons people give for investing their efforts in a particular company include:
- Belonging to a great team
- Being supported in their growth
- Feeling connected to a leader who makes decisions in the best interest of the team
Consider this before you assign tasks and responsibilities.
Make decisions with an understanding of how they will enhance the overall health, well-being, and productivity of your team. Decisions that cause your team to question your leadership motivations are difficult to overcome, so ensure you’re putting the long-term success of your team first.
Begin transforming your team today and helping your organization thrive by downloading our free eBook on Leading Teams.
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.