I think that it’s finally time to address this because it happens way too often in many different settings.
It’s funny because over the years I’ve come across all these people that think they’re leaders… but actually they’re just bossy. They micromanage things obsessively, and the second that someone else has a different idea on how to go about something, these so called leaders get angry and defensive.
Now I myself have held several leadership positions over the past at least 10 years, and I have learned along the way. There is a certain type of personality necessary to be a leader. I’ve led successfully, and I’ve been led successfully by other people that have done a fantastic job, allowing me to learn as well.
Now I do believe that being a leader has to be something that you are naturally gifted at… but you can’t be a leader until you have some experience or observation as to how one typically leads. It doesn’t matter how many group activities you’ve participated in. If you’re surrounded by people who just listen to you but do not question your decisions, unfortunately you’re not a leader. You’re just a dictator. And truth be told, there’s a very high chance that you’re not doing the BEST job. Some people frankly have neither a natural gift NOR experience, they’re just bossy. And the cockier one is about it… the less respect anyone ACTUALLY has for him/her. He/she would be surprised to hear what people say behind his or her back.
SO as mentioned before, yes there are groups where there is ONE leader and everyone else is just a follower. There dictating works because frankly no one is going to get up and proactively do anything until you say so. But when a group has several leadership quality folks, you’ve struck gold. You literally have multiple heads full of ideas and folks that will proactively DO things. It’s at that point that you need to know when to delegate, when to listen, and when to firmly put your foot down in disagreement.
#1 Give credit WHERE credit is deserved. People are not stupid. At least leaders aren’t stupid. They’re hard workers, they’re gonna see right through you when you try to feed them crap. If someone has put in effort to do something, you have to give them credit. Whether thats a public announcement or someone else comes up to you to congratulate you on a product. ITS NEVER OKAY TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSES CREDIT. It’s never okay if someone says “Hey _______ Great Job on XYZ.. can you help me out next time I need this *service*” to reply with “THANKS! Yeah I’ll help you out next time!”. You’re an idiot because you don’t have the talent to produce that product, so when next time rolls around and your attempt at producing the same service is subpar… it’ll be obvious it wasn’t your work. But more so… the person who deserves credit is going to be less inclined to help you out the next time around. A more appropriate response would be “Thanks! Actually the credit goes to _______, he/she really does a great job!”. This also makes you look like a great person and help people be MOTIVATED to work with you.
#2 LISTEN to people’s ideas. OMG, they might actually be better than what you had in mind. I know some of you people’s world just shattered, but really, multiple brains working together is always better than just your loner brain. Sometimes in a haste to promote yourself, to fulfill your obsession to sparkle in the spotlight you may unnecessarily give yourself more spotlight than NECESSARY. In your blinding narcissistic moment, you may end up ignoring what’s actually best for the final product. Of course, there ARE people with extremely stupid ideas that you DO have to ignore (gently and logically). But when multiple people are voicing the same opinion and its multiple people vs you. It might be time to get off of your high horse. Unless of course, you can logically explain to someone WHY your way is the best way. Just forcing your idea on someone is completely not ok. If you can logically explain to others, and sure they may not LIKE your idea, but as long as they understand WHY your idea has to be done, then it’s okay. THAT is what a leader is, in the event that he or she has to put their foot down.
To add on to this point, I’ve come across a few self-proclaimed leaders, with actually no real experience as far as I can tell. Being a social butterfly is not a qualifier. It’s these people that (for a second forget listening) if someone else starts pitching an idea that *wait for it* pulls them out of their narcissistic sparkling spotlight, oh my god all hell breaks loose. Nasty angry faces, red faces, self-proclaimed leader constantly yelling no, talking over others, and finally, WORST of all, cutting someone else off and saying “No, actually we’re just NOT going to discuss this right now” and then CHANGING THE TOPIC without letting the other person finish. Oh my god. This makes me so upset. When I’m in that situation I just back off cause, that’s what a real leader does when faced with a ridiculously difficult personality, but that’s where we leaders draw boundaries. This is your service? I’ll let you make the decisions. But in the future when it’s MY service, you had better let ME do things MY way. Except for these people usually don’t cooperate there either.
#3 You HAVE to know how to moderate a decision making discussion. You have to know when a discussion topic is going off on a tangent and is going to ultimately just end up being a waste of time. Efficiency is key. You have to know how to be efficient. When to have a discussion, when to NOT have a discussion, and how to lead a conversation in the direction that you want it to go… which is towards the goal. As soon as people start going off on a tangent, you HAVE to know how to bring it back. It’s not okay to waste your own time, or people’s time. In today’s world there are too many things going on and multiple priorities.
#4 Don’t micromanage unless its REALLY necessary and KNOW your team. Is your team proactive? Then you don’t need to micromanage, just ask for updates. If you micromanage, then your proactive team is no longer going to stay proactive. Frankly being someone who is always on the go and always getting things done well ahead of time, I hate it when someone else micromanages me. It makes me wonder, does this person despite KNOWING ME, really think that I’m not going to get said task done?? This person doesn’t respect me as an ethical worker, I don’t know if I want to work with them anymore. Of course you have to ask yourself, is your team lazy and NOT proactive? Then figure out how much your team is going to do, and at that point you may have to micromanage a little. But once again, ONLY if it’s necessary, KNOW YOUR TEAM.
Ultimately you have to respect people the way you want them to respect you. And if you can’t respect them, then don’t expect them to respect you. You may have their well wishes for a short amount of time, but with repeat offenses, you’ll lose workers, and you’ll lose friends.
Of course there are non-sense people in this world who sometimes you do after a while have to ask to “hold on a second”. But usually you’ve spent countless hours offering multiple logical explanations before having to tell them to be quiet. This is also part of leadership cause sometimes, you do have to tell people to back off… but you have to know WHEN.
Know when to listen, know when to lead, know when and how to make a decision. When working with a group of people logical explanations are a MUST. Respect is a MUST. You MUST listen, you must NOT interrupt, get angry, cut someone off until you’ve heard their entire statement. And once you’ve heard their statement, if you don’t agree, explain WHY you don’t agree. And if multiple people don’t agree with you, then… it doesn’t hurt to sit down and try to see it from their point of view, no matter how correct you think you are.
Unless of course, you want to eventually be leader of no one.