It's near the beginning of the year and for those who take part in the yearly tradition of creating a New Year's resolution, you may have committed to climbing up the ladder and accepting a leadership position.
Or, perhaps, you have recently found yourself in a leadership position. Whatever it is, the same thing remains true leadership comes with its benefits but also its fair share of challenges.
Leadership is very rewarding. Your voice and input become all the more important; plus, you get to grow both personally and professionally.
However, there are some things you should think about before or when you are in a leadership position.
I should know as when I first became a leader, I was both happy and also surprised by the many challenges that I had to face that I had never even thought about beforehand.
1. Everyone will not agree with your leadership style or even like you
Before stepping into a leadership role, you may be friends with a lot of your colleagues.
Unfortunately, that can change.
As a leader, you are now responsible for leading your team in the way that you think is best. As any leader knows, not everyone will agree with your leadership style, and some may just downright dislike you for it.
As a result, leadership can be very lonely. You will be responsible for making hard decisions that not everyone will like.
A leader has to put his or her responsibilities first before their desire to please others because the fact of the matter is that it is impossible to please everyone.
You have to be okay with this, and it is wise to think about how you will handle yourself in such situations beforehand as these situations can often be clouded with hurt feelings and missed expectations.
Ultimately, not everyone has to like you, but they should respect you. By having a reasonable standard and remaining professional in such situations, you will gain the respect of your team.
2. You will be responsible for the success and failure of your team
It can be tempting to blame the failures of a project on your team or certain individuals.
Conversely, if a project succeeds, it can be tempting to take all the credit. Obviously, there is something contradictory with that line of thought.
As a leader, you are responsible for your team's successes and failures. When it comes to a failed project, a good leader should never "toss" the blame on others on the team.
Regardless of if personnel on your team "fumbled the ball" or are underperforming or not, you can't play the blame game.
Ultimately, the blame is yours and yours alone. When a failed project inevitably happens, it is important to take stock of the situation.
Ask yourself: What happened? How can I prevent it from happening again? What was done right? What was done wrong? Did my team work well together? How can I promote greater teamwork? What was my focus: company-focused or self-focused?
3. You will need to learn how to handle stress effectively
As a leader, you are packed full of responsibilities. For example:
- Everyone is dependent on your leadership.
- You have your own deadlines to meet.
- You have to ensure others meet their own deadlines.
- Personnel will be mad or annoyed with you.
- Customers may have questions and complaints.
- There may be problems with your personnel.
Whatever it is, there is a lot on your plate and your ability to manage everything effectively. If you want to even begin to manage effectively, you will have to first learn how to handle stress.
Stress that is unchecked can not only lead to mismanagement but also health issues down the road.
One of the best ways to handle stress is to prepare for it ahead of time. To do that, you need to know how you will respond in various stressful situations that will arise in your leadership role.
4. You will be responsible for providing feedback to the personnel on your team
One of the hardest things to do as a leader is to provide constructive feedback to the personnel on your team.
If someone is underperforming, then it is up to you to address it. No one likes being told that they are wrong or that they are not doing the best that they could.
Regardless, to run an efficient and cohesive team, underperformers must be addressed.
5. Your team will be looking for guidance, mentorship, coaching, and conflict resolution from you
One of the keys to successful leadership is honesty. Your team should know what you expect of them and how they can get there.
This is where proper guidance, mentorship, and coaching come in. No one likes a micro-manager. However, you can still teach and guide your personnel in a way that allows them to reach their full potential without doing it for them.
By that, I mean that you should follow the old saying: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." In other words, teach, don't do.
Honesty also comes into play when handling a conflict. Your team members should be able to trust you enough to share the truth with you and know that you will remain unbiased.
All in all, leadership can be very rewarding if done right.
A lot of the challenges that you will face can be handled effectively with a little forethought and preparation beforehand with these five tips being a good starting point.