When you are a leader of a diverse team you are called upon to handle a diverse set of situations. Each day presents a new challenge and each day is a lesson in leadership. In order to always be able to react well in any situation, it is important for a leader to have a specific set of broad leadership skills he or she can turn to.
Recently, I wrote a post about five leadership tools I use daily. This list inspired me to explore other leadership tools I use throughout the week for various purposes. A leader must always have a toolbox, from which he can pull, in response to his team’s attitudes, outlooks, and disposition.
I have found that the following five tools always lead to a more successful and cohesive work team. It is up to you as a leader to know when and where to use these leadership tools. Use them often and use them well.
- Laughter – It is a natural human response to smile when you hear laughter. When a leader laughs, it tells the team that it is okay to have fun and enjoy what you are doing. When a leader laughs at himself, it shows humility and opens up your followers to an unguarded version of yourself that adds authenticity.
- Collaborate – Nothing will anger a team more than a lack of communication. Communication is a cornerstone of collaboration. Find out what makes a great day for others and try to implement those things. Find out what your followers’ personal hopes and dreams are. Seek to find out whom they admire in their field. When you communicate on a personal level with your team, you can begin to create a work environment where they can shine and where they feel like their desires are valued.
- Apologize – Always take personal responsibility with your team. “I let you down and I am sorry” will get you a long way in the respect department. Smoke and mirrors, the Nixon approach, will only make you out to be a weasel. No one respects a weasel.
- Choice – Give you team the power to choose. Too often leaders want all the credit and so they tend to make all the decisions. The project comes out with their name all over it. Giving away some of your decision-making power and allowing your team to make their own decisions makes them accountable for the outcome, too. It allows them to take more pride in their work because it is theirs personally.
- Inspiration – Possibly the greatest tool a leader may possess is the power to inspire others. Using this tool when the going gets tough will bring out the best in your team. Have you ever seen a football team come out of halftime down, only to completely own the second half? That is the power of inspiration!
As you grow into your leadership position, you’ll learn when and how to use these tools. Leadership is often like a game of chess. You have to know which piece to move and where, in order to be successful. These five tools of a leader will never let you down and you must use them in every project you take on as a leader. When and where is the key.