Leadership can be a tricky concept in the workplace. One employee may have the impressive title, but a lower-level employee may seem like he or she runs the show. How do you use everyone’s talents to your company’s benefit? First, you must understand what leadership is.
In the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, “it is a boss who drives, whereas the leader leads.” The born leaders on your teams are not necessarily in roles of power. Instead of being managers or principles, they may be assistants or entry-level new hires. What makes these people leaders are their unique life experiences, personality traits, and abilities to project authority.
When you lead a team, you are responsible for how your employees work together. It is important to identify those with leadership traits and place them in the best possible positions to ensure organizational success.
If you don’t have the time or resources to conduct a sociometric test to find out where your employees fall in a group structure, analyze them yourself with some simple questions. Which team members create new ideas and suggest proposals? Which members communicate issues and complaints? Who do they refer to for professional advice? Who do they socialize with when not discussing work topics?
The leaders in your team are typically the ones who step forward during brainstorming sessions or controversies. However, it is important to differentiate between destructive and constructive workers. Destructive workers tend to cause an adversarial atmosphere among the group. Constructive workers generate helpful ideas and motivate their team members to do their best. It is the constructive worker who is an asset to your business.
There are generally three types of workplace leaders you want to have on your side. They each have different styles, so it is key to understand how to work with them and draw their best qualities to the forefront.
Coordinators: These people are well-organized and prepared to answer questions. They work best as right-hand men (and women) who can be trusted with delegated tasks. Use them to strengthen your own authority.
These people are charismatic and charming. Others enjoy spending time with them and they lead with their fun presence. Task humorists with social projects such as orienting new hires, spearheading mundane tasks, or planning team-building activities.
Crisis managers usually keep their heads down and perform their work sufficiently and quietly. They shine, however, when unforeseen circumstances throw a wrench into plans. Let them know when it is time to take the reins and they will help solve a problem with intense focus. They also thrive on recognition, so be sure to thank them in front of other team members.
Good leaders can only strengthen your business. Learn to work with them and take advantage of the skills they bring to the table. The more trusted advocates you have in the workplace, the more success you will find. Once you discover the right role for these leaders, your company and its employees will be prosperous and happy.