Steer like a leader

Steering can be defined as the action to move or to guide in a particular direction.

Once the objective has been set and the appropriate posture defined, the challenge is to keep the leader mindset all along the way, being with a team, when speaking or as a personal perspective.

YOUR TEAM

Guide more than manage

· Create the adequate conditions and resources for people to reach the objective set and don't just "delegate" tasks.

Take the example of how you would teach a child to run a bicycle. Before letting ride it by himself, you would make sure that the place where he rides is safe and that the equipment he's wearing is adapted (and that he likes its color!). Plus, you will provide him with the advice and the encouragement he needs.

Work as part of the team

· Before taking any decision, understand how it can affect others around the table.

· Adapt your commitment to what is expected from you.

For example, if you are the expert on a topic, you’d be likely to lead the meeting and make any final decisions. However, other situations may call for a less active role.

Reward and recognize, based on a fair system of values

· Don't just reward results but efforts made towards them "I value the efforts and energy you've put into your mission".

· Accept what can't be changed (people's inherent values or emotional intelligence) and help improve what can be (know-how, specific skills required to perform a task).

· Understand what people are good at and support their initiatives in this area.

· While each person‘s precise task will vary, expect all your team members to be committed to completing the job.

YOUR COMMUNICATION

Speak like a leader

· Speak in order of your priorities, to show what matters most within your organization.

For example, speak about people before growth or financial results.

Choose your words wisely

· Be concise and let individuals know clearly what role you want them to play in the conversation.

"I'd like each team member to share her/his ideas to ease collaborative work in order to help us reach our objective".

· Instead of “but,” favor “and,” “however,” “yet,” “except,” or “that said.”

YOURSELF

Schedule yourself some personal time to foster your creativity, to help you take decisions, to generally help you think wider.

Self-assess yourself

Regular self-assessment not only keeps you on track, it also provides great guiding principles in your leadership duties.

You can for example assess yourself through these examples of questions:

· Do you take responsibility when things go wrong, and turn the spotlight on the people around you in good times?

· Do you delegate tasks that should be yours, or do everything yourself and delegate nothing?

· Are you a constant example to your subordinates and peers in terms of your demeanor, character and attitude?

· Have you done all in your power to drive people to do their best?

· Do you allow people to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them or are you quick to blame?

Some of the answers might surprise you and help you reconsider your leadership actions towards continuous self-improvement.

Sources

Simon Sinek, various videos on leadership

To Sound Like a Leader, Think About What You Say, and How and When You Say It,

by Rebecca Shambaugh, October 31, 2017 (HBR review)

6 Ways To Talk Like a Leader, by Brian Evje, 2013, Inc.