As a leader of your team, no doubt you are extremely busy every day.
Your schedule is always packed. There are many meetings that you have to attend and many decisions that you have to make. Naturally, there will also be many impromptu dramas to which you need to attend on short notice. But have you ever wondered, all these actions that you throw yourself into so readily, are they really helping you serve better as a leader? It is quite a difficult question to answer, isn’t it?
Naturally, teams are made up of people who, many a time, are bigger-than-life characters. And their undertakings could often be complex and challenging. As a leader, we would never imagine that our team could be neatly contained in a box. However, it might be helpful for us to take a simple “system approach” when we try to contemplate exactly what responsibilities we ought to consider our priority as a leader.
A simple system has its input and output. Our team could be regarded in a similar light as it receives certain input and produces certain output.
Our leadership responsibilities could be considered to lie within different parts of this simple system. And the success of the system (our team) is determined by how well our actions, as the leader of our team, are aligned with these key leadership responsibilities.
1) Determining clearly who our customer is (be they internal or external) and what results our team should produce for our customer and when this should happen. This is the first thing that you, as a leader, should have a clear picture of. There is no point in thinking what your team should be doing every day without clearly defining the output of your system.
2) In order to produce the results, we should then go about establishing in our team who should do what with what resources (for example, technologies, materials and tools…etc.) and when should they do it. Granted that this might not be a one-off design effort as such, and it might require many iterations before it is finally worked out. And it might have to be changed often in response to emerging situations. The important fact to recognise here is that, as the team leader, it is your responsibility to drive efforts in this area to ensure what your team does will indeed generate the result desired.
3) Sometimes, to deliver the result we promised, we need to add extra resources and talents to our existing team. It is also your responsibility, as the leader, to identify what these extra resources and talents are and when they should become available. You then need to do your best to fight for and secure these for your team.
Maybe it is time you took an inventory of your daily actions to see how many of them are actually aligned with the leadership responsibilities identified above. If the answer is that not many of them, then you probably need to take a quiet moment to think about which responsibilities have been neglected. This would be an invaluable practical step towards becoming a better leader!