Woman taking calm breaths at her laptop struggles with being a leader as multiple team members demand her attention at once
iStock/AaronAmat

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Fill in the blank: “When I become a leader, I’ll never [insert irritating leadership quality here].”

Whether you were gaping at an “unfair” politician’s vote or an “illogical” management choice, you’ve probably looked at someone in charge and thought you could do better.

How hard could being a leader be, anyway? All you needed was that promotion to prove yourself. Maybe you even got it. You stepped into the role, determined to show everyone your steady hand.

This is the mindset many leaders start with. But inevitably, the honeymoon phase wears off. As any leader can tell you, leadership is hard—much harder than it looks.

Whether you’re already a leader wondering why your job is so hard, or you’re about to step into your first leadership role, here are five truth bombs to help you see the path ahead more clearly.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Every leader has a boss.

Most people who say they want to be leaders are at least partially in it for the power. That power could be used for good (such as setting your company on a more sustainable track) or for evil (just having the right to boss people around).

But in reality, leaders have far less power than it seems—at every tier.

Middle managers in a company have upper management to report to—department heads, for example. Those department heads have executives above them. Even business owners and CEOs face power-limiting pressure from consumers, stakeholders, shareholders, board members, and government regulators.

How to Lead as a Middleman

First thing’s first: Don’t get into the leadership game simply for power. You’ll either end up disappointed or despised by your team.

The great leaders we all know and look up to, from Nelson Mandela to Sheryl Sandberg, got into it for the people, not the power. So rather than aspiring to look down on the masses you command, look around and focus on how to motivate and inspire individuals toward a common goal. Invite them to help build your vision—don’t force them into it.

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3 Great Debates about Leadership

There are many great debates about leadership, but in the end they’re all trying to answer one simple question: What makes a great leader?
Businesspeople competing in in a tug-of-war battle on the great debates about leadership

The Myth (and New Reality) of Managers and Leaders

“Don’t be a manger, be a leader!” might just be the worst career advice ever. Luckily, forward-thinking companies are catching on to the importance of both managers and leaders.
A businessman on a blue background braces himself to pull a sword from a stone, as in the Excalibur myth

Everyone on your team is working for a different reason.

Why do we work? Ask a dozen people, you’ll get a dozen answers.

Some people want the bare minimum nine-to-five (and not a minute more) because they need the paycheck and want to get home to their families. Others will be high-performing workaholics with their eye on the C-suite prize. Still others will spend loads of time on passion projects and all but ignore your team’s greater objectives.

Trying to get all those human resources united under a common goal can be like herding cats. But being a leader means it’s your job to do just that—all while understanding that not everyone on your team will share your work ethic.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

How to Manage a Team of Individual Motivations

Don’t let yourself fall into the “Well, some people just don’t care” mentality. Everyone cares about something. They just might not care about what you care about.

The first step is adapting your mindset. Accept that people are different, and you’ll soon find there are benefits to those differences. Diversity of thought, like any form of diversity, can be hard to adjust to, but invaluable once you get the hang of it.

Make a point to learn what each person on your team actually cares about. Then work those motivations into your plan to reach your company objectives.

A lot of a leader’s job is putting out fires.

Think being a leader is mostly delegation? Think you’ll have lots of time on your hands after the weekly team check-in? Think again.

A lot of being an effective leader is putting out fires, no matter how big or small your team might be. Those “fires” can be anything from team arguments to interdepartmental miscommunications to straight-up mistakes. They can come out of nowhere, and sometimes you need to drop everything to deal with them.

How to Make the Best of Team Disasters

Dealing with mishaps and miscommunications can be a real headache, but don’t misunderstand—it’s also an important part of growing your leadership skills. Each time you deal with a problem, your team is watching. That means you can set an example for how to be diplomatic, forward-thinking, and fair.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Fight your fires with mindfulness.

Effective leadership is not one-size-fits-all.

Experiences with bad managers go hand in hand with the “I’ll never be like that” mentality. Sadly, leadership success is not as simple as deciding what kind of leader you need to be (or not be).

Certain members of your team will work great with autonomy and bristle every time you stand over their shoulder. Others will struggle on their own, make seemingly constant mistakes, and even panic without regular, clear direction.

A single leadership style will spell trouble for a team like this, and some members might not survive.

How to Adapt Your Leadership Style

Strong leaders aren’t hammers or scalpels—they’re multitools.

Start by observing your team to get a feel for how they work. How’s their time management? Do they meet deadlines? Do they have a methodical approach to new assignments, or do they get flustered with a lot on their plate? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Next, talk to them to see how they feel about their workload. They might be able to tell you exactly what kind of leadership they need, or even problems they’ve had in the past. Even if they can’t articulate these things exactly, observation and communication should still give you a good idea of how to tailor your leadership style and maximize output.

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Goodbye Micromanagement, Hello Leadership: The New Balance of Power with Remote Work

Sick of micromanagers? Their reign may be at an end in a post-COVID-19 world of remote work.
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5 Things a Rough Year in Sports Can Teach You about Leadership

What can business leaders learn from the sports industry’s reaction to COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the loss of Kobe Bryant?
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Not everyone is going to like you (as a leader or a person).

You know how all your team members have their own personality? And how some of those personalities conflict?

Guess what—you have a personality, too.

That means you’ve got your own tics, pet peeves, and traits that might rub some people the wrong way. And that’s fine—except that you’re the leader. You need to find a way to inspire people who might not like you.

How to Work with People Who Don’t Like You

Repeat after me: I don’t have to be everybody’s friend.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to befriend your teammates. But don’t ignore signals that they’re not interested. You might not be able to overcome a personality clash, which means your relationship will be purely a working one. Focus on the job. Harvard Business Review suggests keeping your focus on core responsibilities.

Reaching team goals can unite you, and everyone can celebrate those victories on common ground.

How to Be a Good Leader

Leadership can be really hard.

You have to juggle personalities, raise motivations, provide mentorship, continue learning, and meet the goals dictated down to you, all at the same time. On top of all that, the environment inside and outside your company is constantly shifting.

Successful leaders can guide teams through that uncertainty with three simple skills:

  • Observation: Forget what you expected. What’s actually happening around you? What are your team members really like? What do they need?
  • Communication: Your team has to know what’s expected of them to perform well, but you also need to know what they expect of you. The best way to get that information? Ask.
  • Adaptability: As your team members grow and corporate goals change, you’ll need to adapt. One leadership style doesn’t fit all—and it never will. That can be a good thing if you let it.

Being a leader is a big job, but it can come with great rewards. There’s nothing quite like knowing you have the trust and respect of your team, especially when it’s reflected in team performance. Start by mastering your skills of observation, communication, and adaptability. Do that, and you—and your team—can take on anything.

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