When you take on the role of a leader, and put yourself forward to be in charge, not only do you achieve a position of influence.
But you also receive a position of great responsibility.
What do I mean by that? Well in addition to achieving the goals for the team or department you lead. You are also responsible for the development of the people under your charge. I know many leaders who dispute this, they think that is the responsibility of HR. But your team have far more interaction with you than with HR and your influence has a much greater impact on them.
This impact can either be positive or negative, and as a leader you should be focused on making it positive.
Leaders should be looking to put their teams into position where they can be successful. This requires you to give clear direction, set clear expectations and ensure the team has everything they need to be successful.
Once you have done that it’s just a question of being supportive on the journey.
This is how you have a positive impact, and meet your responsibility to your team.
I have to say though that I have personally worked for several manager who didn’t meet this minimum requirement.
The didn’t provide clear direction or ensure the team had wanted they needed. They just set some ambiguous objective and then left the team to fend for themselves.
The worst of them would then come back and criticize the teams, or myself, for the lack of progress. Blaming them from a lack of progress even when it was clearly their job.
Great leaders not only live up to these responsibilities, but they also achieve great results. Which is usually because they have taken care of their team, set them up for success.
As leaders, we also have to create a safe environment, one where teams can speak up, challenge the approach, ask questions or make suggestions without fear of reproach or ridicule.
When a leader fails with this responsibility it impacts trust and self confidence of teams, it makes them question themselves. It can make them hold back because they are afraid of being criticized. This is not a growth mentality and can impact the teams development.
The best leader I ever worked for allowed for everyone to input without fear of criticism. and if the idea or question wasn’t the best, it wasn’t ridiculed and neither was the person.
As I mentioned right at the start, with leadership comes great authority and influence, but also great responsibility. If you are not prepared to live up to that responsibility then question why you would want to be a leader.