Leading people is a little like being a parent. You have to be patient and forgiving, but also strong and firm. Leading people is more about knowing your employees’ strengths than it is about getting them to follow orders. And leading people requires having the courage to admit mistakes, even if that means being vulnerable in front of hundreds or thousands of people at once.
Know their strengths.
- Know their strengths.
- Know their weaknesses.
- How can you help them improve?
- How to encourage them to do their best work
Know their weaknesses.
The first step to helping someone improve is knowing their weaknesses. If you don’t know what a person’s weaknesses are, how can you help them? If a friend asks for advice on how they can improve on their golf game, do you recommend they buy a new putter or get lessons from a pro?
No matter what your position at work–whether it’s CEO or even just an intern–you should always be looking out for ways in which people can improve themselves. This way, when someone asks for advice on how they might become better at something (and maybe even get promoted), there will be no hesitation in recommending them some resources or opportunities that will help them achieve their goals.
Understand why they do what they do.
As a leader, it’s important to understand what makes people tick. Why do they do what they do? If you can figure out their values and motivations, then you’ll be able to lead them more effectively.
Let’s use an example: let’s say someone has the value of being a good citizen (that is, being loyal to their country). That person might be motivated by patriotism and pride in their homeland–and therefore would be more likely to act in accordance with that value if asked by someone who represents patriotism well (like someone from the army).
Communicate with them as human beings.
Be honest and straightforward. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes, ask for help, or ask for feedback. The best leaders are those who own up to their shortcomings–and then do something about them. They also don’t get defensive when someone challenges their ideas or offers constructive criticism on how they can improve as a leader. Asking forgiveness is not an act of weakness; it’s an act of strength because it shows that you care enough about your team members’ feelings that you want them all on board so everyone wins together!
Be transparent when you’re wrong and trust them to forgive you when you’ve made a mistake.
- Be transparent when you’re wrong and trust them to forgive you when you’ve made a mistake. This is one of the most challenging aspects of leading people, but it’s also one of the most important. When we’re wrong, we need to admit our mistakes and communicate them openly and clearly–even if we don’t feel great about what happened! It can be hard for leaders who are used to being in control at all times (like me). But this kind of honesty is vital if you want others around you who will trust and follow your lead without reservation. And once again: If they know where they stand with respect to mistakes or missteps by their leader(s), then there’s less room for resentment or doubt down the road.*
Trust them to make decisions, even if they aren’t the ones you would have made.
One of the most important things you can do as a leader is trust your team. The more you trust them, the better they’ll perform. Trusting your people is a two-way street: You have to be willing to let them make decisions on their own–even if those decisions aren’t quite what you would have made yourself.
You might think this is dangerous, but it’s actually good for everyone involved in the long run because it allows your employees’ skillsets and passions to shine through in their work. When they’re able to use their unique perspectives and experiences while making decisions on behalf of the organization, everyone wins!
Leading people is more like parenting than it is like leading an army or platoon of soldiers.
Leading people is more like parenting than it is like leading an army or platoon of soldiers. You need to be able to trust your people and understand their motivations, communicate effectively with them, be transparent and honest with them, and treat them like adults.
This does not mean that you should give up all control over your team; if anything it means that you need to have more control than ever! But this kind of control comes from understanding the needs of those around us rather than just telling people what to do based on our own assumptions about what will happen next (and hoping they’ll listen).
Leading people is more like parenting than it is like leading an army or platoon of soldiers. It’s a relationship-based endeavor that requires you to be open with your team, honest about your mistakes and willing to forgive them when they make one. If you can do these things, then you’ll find that people will follow you anywhere because of their loyalty towards you as a person–not just because they have to!