Being a good team leader means you must know your team. You’re observant of everyone’s strengths and you let them know you notice their strengths. You understand how to make them happy and that’s what drives you to lead.
I liken leading a happy team to leading a pack of dogs.
Trust me, there are many similarities. Various mixes of breeds, of course, where there are differing personalities and qualities. All breeds have instinctive strengths, and when you utilize the strengths to their full potential, magic happens.
In my professional experience, I’ve found it best to always continue to improve upon your strengths and focus less on your weaknesses. Your strengths are there for a reason. You tower above others when you put your strengths to the street. They define you. For example, you listen well, you have extreme discipline, you take responsibility for all your tasks, you are a futuristic thinker…you can retrieve a ball, you can smell for drugs at the airport, you walk very well on a leash…
As a leader, it is your duty to help your team maximize their strengths and fulfill that jar of happiness that needs filling every day.
Without a daily challenge or goal to accomplish, life gets dull and disheartening. A leader should believe in their team members and allow them successes and failures. If you thrive on moving fast on projects and delivering outcomes to your boss, then your team leader needs to give you the minimum amount of information and let you get to work. If you require more information and direction, but have a way of utilizing this input to better the project, well then gather away! Likewise, if there is a band of sheep out in the pasture that needs to be sheared, then get out there and herd those woolly animals into a pen!
Lastly, I’ll stress again that it’s important to always be attentive to your team members. You must watch for opportunities to motivate your team members and praise their behaviors. Dogs learn best when they are rewarded for positive behavior. Rather than criticize all the wrong doings, focus on when an action or assignment is done correctly, and dish out positive reinforcement. In turn, you’ll see more desire to please, and more happy faces (and wagging tails).
Thank you to April Gaxiola for the providing a most excellent illustration for this post.