There was a time when people knew what was expected of them. Their father had been a carpenter. Their grandfather had been a carpenter. And they were going to be a carpenter. They probably lived in the same village, if not the same house, for generations. This is the way life was done. It was predictable. And expectations were set over generations. People knew how to behave and how to fit into the group.
Today, this isn’t the case. Factories close. Employees quit. Organizations relocate. Change is the nature of the game.
This means that virtually every day someone new is coming into your organization, your team, or your sphere of influence. The problem with newcomers isn’t’ a lack of skill, but rather a lack of knowing the rules. In almost every social context there are different rules. Sometimes these differences are subtle (like who gets to eat first at the dinner table), other times they are obvious (like a suit and tie culture vs. jeans and a t-shirt.)
So how do you keep leading when everything keeps changing?
Provide the Right Kind of Feedback
Why is feedback so important? Because whenever someone comes to a new organization (or team) it’s a stressful experience. We’ve all been the new person somewhere. Maybe it was when we moved across town, or when we went to college, or when we just took a new job. We entered those situations without really understanding what was expected. We weren’t even sure what was “normal” for a particular group. And we did our best to fit in. Sometimes this worked, but sometimes it didn’t. In many ways, it seemed almost chance.
If you run a team (or a business), you can’t leave something like this to chance. It’s too expensive. And too inefficient. Instead, you need to be proactive in your response to change. Which means providing new members feedback. Not any kind of feedback. But developmental feedback.
According to the Website and Mobile app development company when leaders give developmental feedback (information that is both useful and future-oriented), employees respond by engaging in more pro-organization behaviors. They work a little harder. They make better choices. And they even go above and beyond their job descriptions. Which is exactly what you want out of a team.
Ways to Provide This Developmental Feedback
Involve the Community
While the community can never replace the impact of the leader, they do add something important to the mix. They help newcomers learn social norms, get a grasp of the organizational culture, and teach expected behaviors. Make sure your team is actively teaching new members what’s expected. Make sure they’re focused on helping the new person understand the social expectations that guide the team and the organization.
In many ways, this advice isn’t shocking. We’ve known for a long time that setting expectations help people do better work and achieve goals. But we rarely think of our groups having unique social norms and habits. We assume that we’re “just like everyone else.” Of course, we aren’t. We may be very different.
Although very often the role of leadership is an assigned one, being a true leader has little to do with a specific title. Leadership is a mindset. It’s a choice we make every day. An effective manager keeps processes running smoothly and ensures tasks are completed on time. A leader can save a failing company, promote innovation and even change lives! So how do you leap from one to the other? It’s a simple matter of stepping outside the box and embracing a new way of thinking.
It doesn’t matter if your life’s role finds you in the boardroom or being co-chair of a school charity. Putting your head down and working hard will only make you part of the way towards defining yourself as a leader. You’ve got to step up and share information about yourself, your vision, and your goals before others begin looking to you to lead them. One way to do this is by attending local networking events. Networking with others who may be willing to share your message is an excellent way to gain visibility and get results. Also, having a strong online presence can be very beneficial. Taking initiative, and using sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, can help you to stand out and share a clear message with a global audience. Visibility is truly the first step to being seen as an innovative and creative leader. After all, how many people can you expect to lead if no one knows about you!
Leadership doesn’t come with a definitive instruction manual. If you want to become a valuable leader then you must understand that this role doesn’t necessarily fit into a small and easily manageable box. You’ve probably already experienced days when clients drop in at the last minute, software crashes, or the unexpected causes a project deadline to be changed. Do you just give up and accept defeat? Of course not! You turn into SUPER YOU and whip out solutions you may have never considered before. Very often pressure does that to people! Now apply that same creative thinking to your long-term goals. Make a list of the things you’d do if you had the power to do anything! Ask others for their thoughts and see what they have to say. Research what others in your situation are doing. Now is not the time to settle for what’s safe. Challenge yourself and your team with creative solutions. Be adventurous! The next great idea may be just around the corner!
Manage Your Expectations
Recognize leadership as an art and not a science. There is no big book of answers for every situation. That means very often you will fail. You will try and you will fail. If you’ve never failed before and just can’t stand the thought of failure then a leadership role is probably not for you. Many of the greatest leaders of our time have seen failure repeatedly! They simply pick themselves up, dust themselves off, refuse to settle for less than the best, and then they try again. You can’t always expect to win the first time you try. And you can’t expect that everyone will love you all of the time. Embrace your failures, learn from them and if at first, you don’t succeed, just remember to evaluate what worked, ditch what didn’t work, and just keep trying!