People are at the heart of organisational life. Leading and getting the best out of your people will help contribute to your organisation’s success. Leading people is a complex and challenging process: however, there are a number of tools, techniques and practices to help develop your people management and leadership skills. Here are some tips for success:
• Reputation is critical. Developing and focusing on your credibility and managing the impression you create with others is vital. Do you know what your reputation is?
• Take control of your career and life by developing a career plan. Having a plan will help you to focus and ensure that you make informed decisions about your development and career choices.
• Develop resilience to cope effectively with setbacks, challenges and day-to-day problems.
• Develop and practise the art of coaching your people. Helping others to learn, grow and develop is one of the most rewarding roles any leader or manager possesses.
• Practise influencing without resorting to formal authority. Persuading and convincing others to buy into your ideas will help build your reputation and credibility as a leader.
• Do not underestimate the importance of good facilitation skills to get the best out of your people.
• Know what motivates and demotivates both yourself and your team members. Getting the best from yourself and your team means that you have to understand what motivates people, and then create a working environment that enables people to feel empowered and motivated.
• Be clear about the performance you expect from others and ensure you know what is expected of you. Clarity about goals and objectives is vital – if you don’t know what you are aiming for how will you know when you have achieved success?
• Conflict and confrontation are a part of daily life: understanding how to deal with conflict and learning how to leverage and work with conflict and confrontation will pay dividends.
• Being an effective leader is largely about relationship management. Understanding the components of relational intelligence and working to develop your skill in these areas will undoubtedly contribute to your success.
• Recognise that people often resist change for personal emotional and psychological reasons and develop methodologies for dealing with the inevitable change that is part of today’s business life.
• Be aware of your own and your team’s potential derailers. Derailment is about getting knocked off course or not achieving what you and others expected. You need to be on the lookout for this at all stages of your career and help your team to understand what might go wrong for them.
• Be appreciative; remember to look for the positive in others. Show your appreciation to others and thank them for their contributions – this common courtesy will go far in creating and building your reputation as a leader.
People management and Leadership requires great understanding of people’s psychology, together with a great deal of humility, flexibility and resilience. No one says it will be easy, but it’s one of the most interesting journeys you can take.
Co-author of “The Leaders Guide to Managing People: How to Use soft skills to get Hard Results”, Fiona Elsa Dent is an independent trainer, coach and an associate faculty member at Ashridge Business School.