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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Unleashing the Leader in You: Overcoming the Challenges of Leading


Guest Blogger: Abigail Moya

Leading your own team is one of the toughest, if not the toughest job in the world. Be it a small team of five or a large group of 15, one fact remains and that is, you deal with different types of people. It is how you are able to make the people work as one cohesive unit which allows you to leave your mark as a true leader.

Let’s face it. At one point or another, people you managed may have expressed doubts on your leadership. They may have uttered, “Is this guy for real?” “Why is he joining our team?” “Where is he from?” “What are his qualifications?” “Can he handle it?” It is during these times that you should more greatly believe in your own capacities. The greater the initial doubts are, the more that you should have faith in who you are, in who you can be and in what you can do.

Talk with them. As leader of the team, learn to reach out. Initiate team meetings, brownbag sessions and promote collaboration. Never hinder exchange of ideas for it is in these shared insights that you get to know where they are coming from. Use these discussion sessions as an opportunity to connect with them – to answer questions they may have about you and to know them more.

Be there for them. Others are only team leads by rank or by title. But where are they when you need them? Mere presence goes a long way – when issues emerge, when hard decisions need to be made, when a malicious accusation is made degrading the team’s welfare. You are the team custodian and by showing your members you are able to present the team’s side of the story really well, you gain their trust and confidence.

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You have had your initial wins with the team by being there and by spending time with them when you realize, personal differences emerge still every once in a while – a member shares rumors about you, a sub-group within the team alienates a member simply because she’s the silent type, a member bullies another verbally and takes advantage of her non-confrontational nature. What should you do when these things happen? The answer? Know when you need to step back and when you need to get yourself involved. There are issues which will auto-resolve themselves through time or via members initiating actions on their own. But when they already affect the daily harmony and eventually, the team’s performance, you need to come into the picture and mediate.

Amidst differences, you will soon learn that you become more united by speaking a common language – that which is known by you and by your team. Continue to find ways to know your processes, to seek improvement and to prevent unwanted previous occurrences. Harness the language you have learned and never let it become obsolete. Along the way, you’ll learn new terminologies. And when you do, ensure your team members are actively with you and involved in discovering and in having each one defined.

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