Leadership is not something that can be taught in school. There is no special formula. And I wish I could say, “Just follow these 10 steps to be a successful Leader.” Nope! the bad news is Leadership cannot be taught, but the good news is Leadership can be learnt.
A few weeks back as part of my project I took up the task to coordinate a Youth Leadership Program on behalf of ADK Toastmasters Club. Through this program I intended to introduce Leadership and communication skills in children between the ages of 12 and 16. But this wasn’t something I could do alone.
I needed a team. So, I created a team of four enthusiastic toastmasters,
- Shirin and Chitra – Two amazing educators, the teachers of the club.
- Shehnaz – The youngest member of the club. A favorite among the children
- and Norin – An enthusiastic Toastmaster who learnt to master the zoom platform.
As their Team leader my responsibilities were
- To first set goals. Dates, agenda, number of participants and education sessions were planned over zoom. No samosa meetings.
- I delegated the tasks to my team like Mentoring, handling participant’s problems from stage fear to procrastination, planning fun quizzes and of course managing zoom.
- Coaching the team was crucial. My team were fairly new members who were not very familiar with the youth leadership program. So I provided them the guidance and know-how of.
- Motivating the team was easy as they were keen and were already highly motivated.
With this amazing dream team of ladies we achieved success, and along the way as we worked together,
I learned 4 important aspects of being a team leader.
- Feedback is the key – Giving feedback and receiving feedback can be tough. Everyone likes to be praised, no one likes criticism. But I learned that at the end of the day, it is the negative feedback that helps us become better at our jobs. Before giving feedback to my team I asked for feedback from them. If I am not ready to take the whip myself, how can I expect my team to take my feedback seriously?
- Strength of vulnerability – Everyone knows that “real” leaders are fearless and have no weaknesses. But I believe as a leader it is okay to voice your concerns to your team. You never know, you might be inspired in new ways to tackle your apprehensions. Showing vulnerability as a leader is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and strength.
- Be their biggest fan – A common misconception is that the leader must be the most knowledgeable person on the team. I am not going to pretend that I was the expert. In fact, there were plenty of times when I took advice from my team. Leadership is not about giving orders. It is about asking questions to urge self-reflection, uncover potential blind spots, and encourage new discussions.
- Step back and let them shine – It might seem appealing to be the star of the group because after all I am the leader. But, in reality, my team members were the star. My job was to give guidance, develop, and support them. And when my team was successful, all I needed to do was to stand in the sideline and applaud them.
Good leadership is not defined by a fixed set of rules or skills rather it is defined by the people we are leading. They are our biggest assets and they are the ones from whom we will learn the most. As it is rightly said, “Team Work makes the Dream Work”