August 12, 2022 7 Min Read
How to Become a Better Leader
Leadership positions aren’t just about power. In fact, being a good leader rarely means flexing your control. Good leaders tend to coach, mentor, and guide their teams. No matter where you are in your leadership journey—a newbie manager or a seasoned CEO—developing your skills in captaining your associates will help you create a stronger team.
Coach Sinto Llobera works with individuals to develop their leadership skills, and for him, leadership starts with overcoming limiting beliefs. He explained his thought process to fellow coach Jamie Carroll in a recent episode of TaskHuman Talks. And while their conversation started with breaking limiting beliefs, they also discussed self-awareness, culture and diversity, delegation, and vulnerability. Get started improving your management skills with these main ideas:
1. Start With Self-Awareness
Sometimes when we earn a leadership role, we feel like we don’t deserve it, or that we’re faking our authority. That can lead to using strategies that don’t resonate with our teams. Instead, Sinto wants us to see what our skills and weaknesses are in a realistic way.
When we (as leaders) understand who we are, we are better able to view others as unique individuals. And within that context, we can see the impact we have on them (our team members). Sinto describes this as the “Three A’s.” They are:
- Awareness (Specifically, self-awareness)
- Acceptance (of who we are)
- Action (in alignment with who we are)
When administrators take these steps to understand themselves, they can also connect on a deeper level with others on their team.
“[Leaders] need to know…what is the culture, or where they are working? And if they are fitting in with the culture they are working in, see the work environment as a human relationship, not a results relationship,” says Sinto.
Seeing your team members as individuals helps you interact with them more openly, which can produce better outcomes, especially in our modern work culture. In the past, companies and workers were outcome-oriented, Sinto says. Now, people are more connection-oriented. They come to work to collaborate with others. Understanding this shift will help you know your colleagues’ motivation.
2. Learn What It Means Delegate
Part of being a leader is learning how to delegate. Sinto explains that delegation can be difficult for some people. If you associate delegation as being a sign of your own weakness or shortcoming, asking someone else to do a task may be difficult—and that’s not uncommon! It’s important to recognize your discomfort, but also know your inability to delegate is only inhibiting your growth
Moreover, Sinto explains that leaders need to explore the ‘why’ behind that fear so success isn’t constrained in the long-run.
He also notes that delegation should be more than telling people what to do.
Instead, Sinto encourages you to see delegation as “what do people need?” It is an opportunity for members of your team to be challenged, to learn and grow, or to prove their abilities. If someone needs security, you should delegate in a way that makes them feel safe. For example, if you have an employee who has lost a job in the past, they may have lingering fear and stress that they could lose a job again. Giving them a high-stakes project with little support could cause them extra stress they aren’t quite yet ready to handle. In that situation, you could delegate the project to someone else, or you could make sure your employee has additional support for the task and assure them that their job is not at risk.When people understand failure in a project doesn’t mean failure as a person, they feel safe. Providing that psychological safety is what makes you a strong leader.
To have successful delegation, Sinto says, “I think that especially first you need to recognize yourself because you have to be able to delegate. I think that is very successful because they say I’ve been able to delegate to the right person because this person is matching her or his needs.”
Connecting as a human to your team members will help you delegate better because you understand their needs, and they feel you create a safe environment for them.
3. Practice Influence As a Two-Way Street
A common mistake leaders make when thinking about influence, according to Sinto, is believing influence is getting something you want. He explains that influence and delegation have much more in common than many people think. Instead, Sinto thinks influence is using your knowledge of what the other person wants to get an outcome you both want.
“It’s not, ‘I want to influence you to get the outcome that I want,’” he says. “That’s not influence, that is manipulation. I want to influence you [so] we both get the outcome we want.”
For leaders to create an opportunity for everyone to get the outcome they want, they need to understand their team. They need to have that human connection. That’s where the idea of influence as a two-way street comes in. If you want to influence your team, you need to know their wants and desires. Consider getting to know team members and colleagues on a more personal level, and let their personalities shine, so you can really learn who they are and what they need. Ultimately, these are factors that play into how you delegate, lead, and manage others.
Human connection is critical to good leadership, even when teams have larger numbers. To help find ways to connect, Sinto suggests thinking of your team as a family.
Connecting with your team—being human—also means being vulnerable. It means being honest when you aren’t sure of the right action to take, or when you need their expertise. Sinto explains that more often than not, your team will support you. When you see them as people, they can see you as a true human being, too, and will want to help you.
To hear the entire conversation, click here.