I just finished reading the What the best leaders do article, written by Claire Lew and I mostly agree with her thoughts about leadership. First time I saw myself in a leading position was about 8 years ago and I was terrible at it. For me to be a leader was the same as to be a totalitarian dictator.
I was obviously wrong, but I think that most folks acts like this at first. You are in a new position, you are no longer responsible for your tasks only, but for the whole team and you feel the need to control everything. Your control will be interpreted as a lack of trust, you feel the need to do a lot of the tasks yourself, your team members will be stressed out will make mistakes, you blame them, they will be afraid to speak up… and you are heading towards total disaster!
I think it’s really important to realize that leadership is a skill that must be acquired. It’s not something we are born with, it’s just like programming, a constant work in progress. As team leaders, our primary job is to make sure our team members are happy and relaxed because happy and relaxed people do better jobs, make fewer mistakes and are often willing to help each other. I came to the conclusion that it really helps if, we try to make sure our teams are as productive as possible while working as less as possible. Maybe I was lucky, but establishing that it’s OK to work less if you can find more productive ways to do the same thing, paid off. Even though the team philosophy was to work less, people were more productive and they found incredible ways to solve problems.
On the other hand, I strongly disagree with punishing productivity in the sense that if you are more productive you’ll receive more work to do. That won’t motivate anyone! If you are really productive then good for you, you should relax, you already done your job 🙂 . I noticed that, usually, people will not actually “relax” all day long, but they’ll work on extra tasks and will do a better job simply because you trust them and you didn’t punish them for being more productive.
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