By Jason Aten
Help your team thrive by focusing on what they need.
Leaders talk a lot about vision –and for a good reason. Making sure everyone is on board with an organization’s vision is one of the most important things a leader can do. It paints a picture of a shared future and motivates team members to keep moving forward, even when the future sometimes seems more like a distant dream than a certain reality. At the same time, your team needs more than just a picture of the future if it’s ever going to bring that vision to life.
By the way, it’s also worth mentioning that most leaders aren’t running entire companies. Sometimes they’re running divisions of a company, but most often, they’re running specific teams. Regardless of the size or scope, here are four things the best leaders give their teams.
People fail almost 100 percent of the time to live up to expectations they don’t know you have for them. As a leader, your responsibility is to be clear about what you expect. If there’s a question about whether or not everyone is on the same page, assume they aren’t and communicate better. While it’s up to your team to deliver what’s expected, it’s entirely on you as a leader if that expectation isn’t clear.
Of course, along with expectations comes accountability. It’s a leader’s job to hold the team accountable for meeting expectations. When a team or any individual isn’t able to do that, it’s up to the leader to provide feedback, correction, and teaching. Accountability, by the way, isn’t discipline. Instead, it’s a regular habit of having people give account for both the process and the end result.
It isn’t always fun, but knowing that they’ll be held accountable for their actions or performance is one of the strongest motivators your team has to stay focused. Also, good leaders are accountable to and for their team as well.
Set your team up for success by giving them what they need to get the job done well. If you’ve created unreasonable expectations based on the resources available, that’s on you. Instead, make sure that everyone has what it takes to deliver on those expectations. By the way, this also includes things like the time or people required to realize a given task or project. If the team needs it, you get to figure out how to get it for them. If you can’t, then it might be time to consider changing expectations.
Finally, one of the things your team needs most is to know that their leader is willing to go to bat for them. That means being their advocate, especially when it comes to making sure that decision-makers fully understand the effect their decisions have on the people doing the work. Leadership flows in more than one direction, and your team is counting on you to lead up as often as you lead down.
Your job as a leader is to motivate your team to do something they might not want to do on their own. When that’s the case, your team needs to know that you have their best interests in mind.
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This content was originally published by Inc Magazine. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Inc Magazine