Tag: Leading Teams

How Empathy Can Make You a Better Team Leader

How Empathy Can Make You a Better Team Leader

Empathy is one of the greatest interpersonal skills because it allows you to have better communication with your team and increases your understanding of the team members. We know empathy can simply mean to ‘put ourselves in the other person’s shoes’, but it can also mean to take an active role in getting to know the members of your team and treating them with the respect they deserve.

Listening and Paying Attention to Your Team

We all know that there is a difference between hearing and listening, but yet we still seem to confuse the two when we communicate with other people. Listening is considered a skill, so like any other skill it must be implemented and strengthened. Listening allows for you to understand what a team member is talking about and register what they are trying to communicate. Building better listening skills starts with learning to pay attention when a team member speaks and actively listening to what they are saying. Key tips to help accomplish this are to give your attention to the person by facing them and making eye contact. Turn off any cell phones or pagers or remove any item from the area that can distract you and make you lose focus. You’ll find that you will catch more of what the team member is saying and be able to retain more. Paying attention and building better listening skills can show support for the members of your team and build rapport with them.

Tips for better listening skills:

·         Remove any distractions

·         Make eye contact with the team member speaking

·         Nod your head periodically

·         Ask for follow up details or information

·         Ask the the team member to repeat anything you may have missed

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Don’t Judge Other Team Members

No matter how many times we hear the old phrase “Don’t judge people” or “It’s not our place to judge”, we more than likely find ourselves doing it anyway – we just don’t want to admit it. Whether subconsciously or not, we still find ourselves judging those around us, whether it is based on their clothes, job title, the way the talk or walk, gender, hair color, skin color, and etc. When someone on the team is speaking or completes a task, what do you think in your head? Do you automatically make comments on how their assignment was too easy or that the way they speak is subpar to the team. Of course you would never say this out loud or tell them directly, but in your mind you have already made up your mind about them.

Thoughts like this cause us to judge people more and more, which can create barriers between people and lose connections and chances to network over time. Every person has an “inside person” and an “outside person” – we see the outside person every day and try to form our own opinions without seeing everything first. Don’t forget that there is an “inside person” as well that has an entirely different side.

Shift Your View

Empathy is simply defined as putting yourself in another person’s shoes and seeing things from their point of view. When communicating with another team member, think about how it would feel to be in their shoes and do the things they have to do. How would you feel if you have to complete their assignment in the weekly meeting or if you have to conduct a speech in front of hundreds of people?

Shifting your view does not mean that you have to entirely give up your opinions and what you think. It involves taking a few minutes to stop and reflect on the actions and words of the other team member and picturing yourself in their situation. Think about what it would be like to stand in their shoes in the conference room or in front of the new manager. By doing this, we can better understand why they may act or speak a certain way and what can drive them to do what they do. By showing empathy, you are able to connect with this person and create an important relationship to have in the workplace.

Don’t Show Fake Emotions to Your Team

In social situations it is never a good idea to fake our emotions or how we feel toward others. Of course, this does not mean we have full permission to start tearing into people and ripping them to shreds if we didn’t like their recent speech. But if you are not entirely happy about something in the team or feel anxious about something else, it is not a good idea to fake a smile or laugh just to appear happy.

This ‘fakeness’ will more than likely be detected, which can offend others around you or even make them feel insecure. Instead, be honest about how you feel and show honest concern for your peers. Be tactful if delivering negative feedback and offers helpful tips for improvement or changes. Although they may not accept your true feelings at first, and may even seem angry about it, in the end they will appreciate the fact that you were honest with them and didn’t show a mask of fake emotions with them.

 

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Build a Stronger Team Using Empathy

Build a Stronger Team Using Empathy

Empathy is one of our greatest interpersonal skills because it allows us to have better communication with our team members and increases our understanding of others. We know empathy can simply mean to ‘put ourselves in the other person’s shoes’, but it can also mean to take an active role in getting to know your team members and treating them with the respect they deserve.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Listening and Paying Attention to Your Team

We all know that there is a difference between hearing and listening, but yet we still seem to confuse the two when we communicate with our team. Listening is considered a skill, so like any other skill, it must be implemented and strengthened. Listening allows for you to understand what the team member is talking about and register what they are trying to communicate. Building better listening skills starts with learning to pay attention when team members speak and actively listening to what they are saying. Key tips to help accomplish this are to give your attention to the team member by facing them and making eye contact. Turn off any cell phones or pagers or remove any item from the area that can distract you and make you lose focus. You’ll find that you will catch more of what the person is saying and be able to retain more. Paying attention and building better listening skills can show support for the other person and build rapport with them.

Tips for better listening skills:

  • Remove any distractions
  • Make eye contact with the person speaking
  • Nod your head periodically
  • Ask for follow up details or information
  • Ask the person to repeat anything you may have missed

Don’t Judge Other Team Members

No matter how many times we hear the old phrase “Don’t judge people” or “It’s not our place to judge”, we more than likely find ourselves doing it anyway – we just don’t want to admit it. Whether subconsciously or not, we still find ourselves judging those around us, whether it is based on their clothes, job title, the way the talk or walk, gender, hair color, skin color, and etc. When another team member is speaking or completes a task, what do you think in your head? Do you automatically make comments on how their assignment was too easy or that the way they speak is subpar to the team. Of course you would never say this out loud or tell them directly, but in your mind you have already made up your mind about them.

Thoughts like this cause us to judge people more and more, which can create barriers between people and lose connections and chances to network over time. Every person has an “inside person” and an “outside person” – we see the outside person every day and try to form our own opinions without seeing everything first. Don’t forget that there is an “inside person” as well that has an entirely different side.

Shift Your View

Empathy is simply defined as putting yourself in another person’s shoes and seeing things from their point of view. When communicating with another team member, think about how it would feel to be in their shoes and do the things they have to do. How would you feel if you have to complete their assignment in the weekly meeting or if you have to conduct a speech in front of hundreds of people?

Shifting your view does not mean that you have to entirely give up your opinions and what you think. It involves taking a few minutes to stop and reflect on the actions and words of the other person and picturing yourself in their situation. Think about what it would be like to stand in their shoes in the conference room or in front of the new manager. By doing this, we can better understand why they may act or speak a certain way and what can drive them to do what they do. By showing empathy, you are able to connect with this team member and create an important relationship to have in the workplace.

Don’t Show Fake Emotions to Your Team

In social situations it is never a good idea to fake our emotions or how we feel toward others. Of course, this does not mean we have full permission to start tearing into people and ripping them to shreds if we didn’t like their recent speech. But if you are not entirely happy about something in the team or feel anxious about something else, it is not a good idea to fake a smile or laugh just to appear happy.

This ‘fakeness’ will more than likely be detected, which can offend others around you or even make them feel insecure. Instead, be honest about how you feel and show honest concern for your fellow team mates. Be tactful if delivering negative feedback and offers helpful tips for improvement or changes. Although they may not accept your true feelings at first, and may even seem angry about it, in the end they will appreciate the fact that you were honest with them and didn’t show a mask of fake emotions with them.

 

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What is Team Leadership?

What is Leadership

Simply defined the word “leadership” is “the ability to lead”. A more detailed definition of leadership describes leadership as the capacity to establish direction and align others toward a common goal. It involves the ability to motivate others to action and make them accountable for their performance.

We have all heard the saying that leaders are born and not made. Although this is often the case, in some instances leaders who have never had a leadership role before emerge when a situation they care about requires it. Parenting is a excellent example of this. Parents often discover leadership abilities they never knew existed to help them guide and direct their children. This indicates that leadership potential exists within each of us which can be triggered by external events or can be learned by training.  Learning leadership techniques helps to build the confidence it takes to take the lead. It can be extremely challenging in the beginning to take the lead, but the more experience you have acting as a genuine leader the easier it will become.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Leadership is not merely telling others what to do, but it is inspiring others to do what needs to be done. Being in a leadership position does not automatically make you a leader. Real leaders take a stand for what is right and inspire others to do so as well. Influence is the essence of leadership;  it addresses attitudes and awareness. You may be able to order team members to do a task, but you cannot order them to do their best. You have to influence your team to do their best by providing a strong example.  Everyone has leadership potential within them, and understanding leadership concepts will maximize your leadership ability.

Characteristics of a True Leader and Leadership Principles

A true leader is not identified by a position or a title, but by how many people are willing to follow them. The following is some characteristics of a true leader: Honest, Competent, Forward-looking, Inspiring, Intelligent, Fair-minded, Broad-minded, Courageous, Straightforward and Imaginative.

Leadership Principles:

  • Be tactically and technically proficient.
  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  • Know your team and look out for their welfare.
  • Keep your team informed.
  • Set the example for your team.
  • Make sure that all tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished.
  • Make sound and timely decisions.
  • Develop a sense of responsibility in your team members.
  • Assign tasks in accordance to the capabilities of the team members.
  • Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

Historic Overview of Leadership

Mankind’s need to be organized and accomplish tasks as a team has ensured that there have always been leaders. Historically leaders have belonged to one of three categories: Political, Military or Religious. With the rise of the industrial revolution, the Economic leader emerged. The Leaders of Industry now found they could build an empire based on modern technology. These empires were often built at the expense of the people they employed which gave rise to Union leaders. The Industrial Revolution also saw the increase of Scientific Leaders as scientists now had easy access to a wide range of new materials. Psychology also came to the forefront with studies to improve productivity in the workplace and how conditions affected workers.

Leadership Theories

The Great Man Theory

According to this theory, great leaders accomplished great things because they were extraordinary people determined by fate and merely fulfilling their destiny. We are easily inspired by the feats of men and women who accomplished great things in their life time. Leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Abraham Lincoln accomplished much and are an inspiration to many people. The Great Man Theory has largely been abandoned in favor of the theories of behavioral science.

The Trait Theory

This theory endorses the notion that great leaders are born and not made. According to the Trait Theory, if you have the ability to lead, you were born with it. It expands on the Great Man Theory by defining what makes great leaders “great”.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a process where leaders interact with their followers and inspire each other to advance together. A team is transformed by the leadership style and abilities of a leader who is able to convey a vision and guide the transformation. A leader’s ability to influence the feelings, attitude and commitment of their followers matters more than the leader’s individual traits. If team members feel they can trust their leader they are more likely to go beyond what was originally expected of them.

 

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