Being clear, confident and good at delegation are some of the signs of being a good leader. These traits embodied by leaders around the world have solidified the idea of what it is to be excellent. However, amidst changing times, the prerequisites to becoming a good leader have evolved and more needs to be done. At the forefront, simply being verbally articulate and confident has lost its significance in an era where emails and text messages can be easily exchanged. That aside, internal changes within the company has exacerbated this situation and will only continue to disrupt the status quo. More needs to be done. Here are some solutions you can adopt to better enhance your leadership technique.
1. Be able to switch between tasks efficiently
As your responsibilities start to rocket, your downtime between tasks will start to diminish. When we constantly switch between tasks, we lose our momentum when we recollect the key points of the other agenda. Ultimately our productivity will take a hit.
To deal with this, firstly two principles must fall into play. At the onset, good leaders must learn to prioritise. Setting an agenda and a goal to complete by the end of the day prevents me from overloading and stressing myself out. As an executive, I manage various projects with disparate agendas. Naturally when I reply to a plethora of emails, each with a different topic, I sometimes get lost. It takes me some downtime before I can compose myself to deal with another task. This reduces my efficiency by a seismic amount and I often see myself ending work later than usual. During stressful periods like this, the propensity of me falling sick surges.
Realising that things have started to change, I started to draft out a to-do list rather than relying on spontaneity or whatever pops up on my inbox first. Utilising my to-do list, I reduce the chance of being cluttered and it prevented me from getting distracted by overdue tasks. To abide by my deadlines, I write them all down on paper and stick it on the screen of my laptop.This works best for the easily forgetful individuals. While writing them virtually is helpful too, I find it to be putting myself in a dangerous predicament since I may forget to check them too. That aside, it also helps tremendously if you can coordinate with your staff and colleagues to work within a deadline. This helps to mitigate the chances of an avalanche of work at one fell swoop.
Like wars, productivity works best when we fight from a single front .It would be unwise for us to deal with so many issues at one go and expect to complete them perfectly. Only when we focus on the tasks dictated by a schedule will we not overextend ourselves. To be victorious, we must work within and around deadlines.
2. Improve your communication skills
Communication is fundamental in building relationships in the office and beyond. Having the ability to code switch has been touted to be a good skill that leaders tend to have. Naturally, in the professional world, it is imperative that we can code switch to suit our colleague’s behaviours. That is not to say we patronise them, but to get on their wavelength to rationalise and better communicate with them.
I discussed matters with one of my staff during a meeting, and asked if he had any opinions about my proposal. He said no, and we moved on from that. Except, I found out later that he felt intimidated to be asked in front of so many people, and he in fact had many opinions and ideas he wished to share. At that time, I was confused because I didn’t feel anything was out of place. If anything, I thought it was an ordinary conversation in a meeting. I shared this experience with the other team leaders, and they too agreed. One pointed out that they felt intimidated by my authority, and feared offending me and the other people in the meeting. Having experiences like that makes you more cognisant of the people around you.
In dealing with ideologies, you have to state your stance clearly. While open-door policies may not be possible for some companies, the next best alternative is to declare your policies and your views onto many things. If anything, there should be support channels where feedback can be given. It would also be great if you can "humanise" yourself by interacting with them on a more frequent basis. This helps to bridge the status gap and increase the effectiveness of feedback.
3. Let go and move forward
Sizing up spells for more than just changes in staff count. Operational changes will creep its way in as more people join your company. Over time, your job scope will also revamp itself and you’ll find yourself increasingly cluttered by other responsibilities you never knew would fall onto your lap.
In order to adapt to the extra burden, it would be wise to relinquish control and hand over some form of your old responsibilities to the team leaders. The process must be smooth.
Having time to adapt makes a lot of difference. While you may still feel disoriented and out of place, know that your work is in better hands. You will also be able to focus on the more important tasks that come across your desk. If anything, having someone else coordinate and direct your work gives you greater flexibility and ultimately improves team morale.
Know that you relinquishing control also gives your staff a stake in the company, and thus a sense of belonging. Think of it as job delegation, and you will be able to maximise your productivity this way.
Good leaders know when to let go and move forward.