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Practical Application of Leadership in Small Groups Pt. 3

In Part 2 of overviewing the 11 principles for leadership, we discussed:

. Keeping your team informed

. Setting a positive example

. Ensuring tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished

Here are the final five principles:

Train your group as a team

When you put a new group together, or when a new member joins your team, you must train them in their new roles and responsibilities. It is essential to instruct your team with a purpose, emphasizing collaboration and pragmatism. Be sure that newer members understand their roles and responsibilities within the team’s framework. Ensure that the training is meaningful and clear to all team members. Also, insist that every member learns about the function of the other members’ roles so that everyone understands the larger picture.

If you are practicing how to handle difficult situations like objections with a new team member, try to simulate a challenge as realistically as possible. Do it over the phone and make it tough at times. Encourage your team members to work through it and help them gain confidence in using the skills they have learned. Training never ends. Everyone can always get better and improve skills, so no one should ever become complacent. Try to build some camaraderie with your team as well. Encourage participation in team and company events. Lastly, never publicly blame an individual for the team’s failure, or praise just one individual for the team’s success.

Make sound and timely decisions

As a leader, it is critical to rapidly assess situations and make swift, sound decisions based on your estimations. There is no room for reluctance because your team depends on your reasoning and decisiveness. As you move your team toward your goals, continue to evaluate and reassess. Make changes where necessary. If you find out that you have made the wrong decision at any point, revise it. Your team members will respect a leader that corrects mistakes rapidly. If time permits, plan ahead for any events that can be reasonably foreseen. Also, be prepared for plans not to go as intended. Additionally, consider advice from subordinates before making decisions. Subordinates can be helpful because they often lend a unique perspective on an issue. Empowering them to feel involved helps the whole team. Most importantly, consider any ramifications your decisions may have on all your team members.

Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates

Involving team members in decision-making is an excellent opportunity to empower them and encourage their independence. Giving them a voice in how the team moves forward also provides them with a key professional development opportunity. Delegate authority to promote mutual confidence and respect between you and your team. When possible, give your team members the opportunity to perform duties normally performed by more senior employees, and be quick to recognize those who show initiative and resourcefulness. When mentoring, try to give advice and support when it is requested, but resist the urge to over-supervise. Micromanaging undermines the purpose of delegating. Try to correct errors constructively, so as not to discourage individuals from trying harder next time. Remember to accept responsibility willingly. Set the example, and then insist that your team members do the same.

Employ your team in accordance with its capabilities

This principle is an easy one: Know your people well. It’s good to volunteer your team for challenging tasks, but you must be careful not to overextend your team’s capabilities. Be sure that the tasks you assign are in accordance with the skills and capabilities of the individuals you assign them to as well. Challenges are great, but setting your people up to fail is another thing entirely.

Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions

Of all the important tenets included in these blogs, this one is paramount: Actively seek out challenging assignments for your own professional development. Accept every offer for increased responsibility that you can, and perform it to the best of your ability. Learn the duties and the responsibilities of your immediate senior, and be prepared to perform and accept them. In the absence of instructions, take initiative and do what you believe your direct senior would want you to do. Above all, do the right thing. Stick to your convictions and be willing to accept justified and constructive criticism because you are responsible for everything the team does or fails to do. You have been assigned responsibilities, so own them. It gets easier as you tackle challenge after challenge.

I hope these principles have been helpful, and that you have learned something that will support your growth as a leader. None of these concepts is new; each one has been taught to new leaders for decades. Remember that every situation is different, and everyone creates his or her own style of leadership. Find what works for you and make great things happen!

Jason Gunning, Acquirent Sales Executive