Top 5 Reflections about Leading People
Submitted by: V-Khye Fan
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to personalities, styles, strengths, and blind spots. Some lead large teams, some lead small teams. Some have easygoing clients, others have very demanding and difficult clients. Some have complex projects, some have relatively straightforward tasks. As I reflect on the leadership lessons I’ve learned and the ones I’ve yet to fully experience, here are 5 reflections I want to share about leading large and small groups of people.
- Take Care of Your People: First and foremost, the “soft” stuff is the hard AND important stuff. People come in all varieties, and you need to take care of them in the way that resonates with them. Some need words of affirmation while others need fist bumps; some need lots of quality time and coaching while others need to be empowered. To effectively take care of your people, you have to know your people – holistically. Your people are not drones – they have real lives, real successes, and real challenges at work and home. Take care of your people by being accessible and considerate, and they will generally reciprocate by committing to you and the mission. Pro-tip: check out the 5 Love Languages book/website.
- Exercise Tough Love: Be brave and bold – and more importantly, this is another way of really taking care of your people. Your people cannot grow if they do not know that they need to grow. Having these conversations are tough, and your people may not appreciate it right away. But some will come to appreciate your honesty and see that you want the best for them. Pro-tip: use the “hamburger” communication model – start with something positive, point out the growth areas, and then close it off with encouragement to keep on growing.
- Be Humble: You do not need to be the smartest person on the team! You DO need to be a wise person – and wise leaders quickly realize how little they know and know the true power and strength of surrounding themselves with good advisors and coordinating the efforts of their people. Wise leaders also know the right time to pitch in and get into the trenches, and when to step away and let the people have the freedom to execute the tasks. Pro tip: don’t get in the way of your people and don’t get in the way of yourself!
- Grow and Replicate: Share your knowledge through coaching, mentoring, and discipleship. Grow your people and be secure by not holding back! As you attempt to work yourself out of your current position, trust me, there’s always a need for more leadership at higher levels and in other aspects. The truth is, YOU are actually developing into a better leader by growing others. Pro tip: Your people will respect you more when they see you investing in them.
- Have Fun!: You are a thermostat, not a thermometer. You set the tone. Be proactive in being positive. Keep a pulse on your people’s morale – as individuals and as a team. Share fun stories! Showcase your people! Plan lunches! Go on coffee runs! Pro tip: Serious and impactful missions do not mean we have to take ourselves so seriously – enjoy the work!
These are a few reflections of many which I’m happy to share with those who ask…