Team leadership is both a role and a behavior, and the word “role” comes from the stage. Actors play roles and, like great actors, great leaders need to develop a repertoire of styles. The choice of style depends on two things: the needs of the task at hand, and the needs of the leader’s followers.
The Leader… in the Lead
Contrary to widespread belief, leaders aren’t always in the lead, but when they are, they’re busy setting the direction and doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Typical situations might be when tough decisions must be made, or when the followers lack the necessary confidence or skill to do the work.
The Leader… as a Coach Or Mentor
There are times when the leader’s role is to help the followers develop the necessary confidence and skills. Coaching and mentoring is the name of the game.
The Leader… Letting Go
The holy grail of leadership is to reach the stage of letting go. This is when the followers have the necessary skills and confidence not just to do the job, but to make wise decisions on what jobs to do and how to do them. Some leaders might say, “But doesn’t this make me redundant”? The answer is “No”. It removes you from the day-to-day running of the team. In effect, the team becomes “leaderfull” and the leader is now able to go ahead of the team, focusing on strategic issues, and running interference for the team.
Looking for more depth on the concepts behind these ideas? – See Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model.
If you want expert advice on how to develop your own leadership skills, ask Brin Sharp about his leadership development workshops.