Ladies, do you know the #1 way to be a leader? You’ve probably read just as many books as I have, attended or led many a development training session, and sat in on management leadership workshops, each giving different methods to lead. However, I think A+ leadership boils down to one thing: Trust.
Think about it. There is no sense in building a fantastic team of top earners, developers, or VPs if you can’t trust them to do the work they were hired to do. I mean, can you trust them enough (and yourself) to let go? Can you delegate with ease and peace of mind? Can you NOT micromanage, the number one thing non-leaders do? If you’ve said “no” to any of this, we need to talk.
Not being able to delegate is a sure sign of insecurity. Yes, I said it. You may be insecure in yourself and, subsequently, insecure in your team. (Remember, stuff trickles down from the top, right?) If you’re constantly hovering over your team and micromanaging them, from how they think to how they send an email or submit a report, this means that, sure, you are probably trying to cover your ass so that mistakes aren’t made or so that you look good in front of your superiors or your clients. But what’s happening is that not only are YOU doing THEIR work, you’re also undermining their confidence to do the work. They will get into the habit of not doing what’s needed because they know you’ll be right behind them to clean up any messes, real or perceived. OR, they will begin to resent you due to their lack of being free to make their own decisions and experience their own successes and even failures.
One of my favorite bosses of all times told me once, “If you’re waiting for me to tell you what to do, you’ll be waiting for a very long time because I don’t know how to do what you do. That’s why I hired you. So I’ll leave this all to you because you walk on water.” He had total trust in my abilities, and I never wanted to let him down. So I soared because he encouraged me to.
Being a leader that others will want to love to emulate is about being a leader with confidence. You must be confident that your team will deliver. You must be confident that if they DO make a mistake, they will do what’s needed to remedy the problem and keep moving forward! You must be confident enough to let your protégé take the lead in the meeting or even take the podium in those moments where it will be a sign of growth not only for your team, but ultimately for you! A leader is not always in front. A leader is not always the one taking the credit. (That’s a whole ‘nother topic. Am I right?) A leader is someone who teaches, develops, guides, inspires, and then trusts that she has done a good job in this! I trust you hear me, ladies. And I trust come Monday’s strategy meeting, you’ll be talking less and listening more. Lead on, sister!