8 January 2015

How To Be The Leader Your Team Deserves


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Leadership and management


The start of a new year is your chance to concentrate on how to be the leader your team deserves. Even if you’re already someone that has the respect of their team, there’s always room for improvement.

Be there, in person

Discussing projectTo be able to properly support your team you need to be there with them, not ‘working from home’ at any given opportunity.
Maintaining high office attendance shows that you care about what’s going on in the office on a day to day basis and that you understand the importance of interaction.
Working remotely without a good reason can convey the message that you’d rather not be bothered by your staff.

In order to really lead, you need to converse and interact with your subordinates face to face. Email, instant messages and 5 minute phone calls aren’t leading, it’s just managing.
In certain situations a leader needs to be able to read someone’s body language and facial expressions – this simply isn’t possible remotely.

Don’t ask for anything you wouldn’t do yourself

Can you really expect people in your team to happily carry out a task that they know you wouldn’t do yourself?
If others are aware that you’re not asking anything from them that you wouldn’t do yourself, then they’ll happily oblige and respect you for it too.

‘Open door’ policy? Get rid of the door!

open door policyAn important part of being a leader is being approachable and a trusted source of advice and guidance.
It’s a long time since managers were expected to have their own offices and far more productive for leaders to sit with their teams and be part of the day to day activities, as well as group discussions.

Interacting and collaborating directly with your team builds trust and ensures that everyone, especially you as a leader, are aware of what’s happening and expected of each individual.

Appreciate, value and be sincere

Being appreciate (and showing it) is imperative. If individuals aren’t recognised for putting the effort in and are constantly being overlooked then they’ll soon start to look elsewhere.

Showing appreciation, however, is pointless unless you’re sincere. Offering thanks but not meaning it is worse than not being thankful at all.

A valued employee will be productive and advocate your brand – all it takes is a simple ‘thank you’ and fair treatment.

Ask and listen

Making joint decisions, rather than deciding for everyone without consultation, builds a cohesive and mutually respective unit. Asking your teams opinion will increase trust and respect for you as a leader and ensure that decisions are based on a democracy.

Simply asking how team members are generally is an easy, quick and hugely effective way to build rapport and find out if you need to assist with any aspect of their working day.
Does anyone feel they need training for self development? Does anyone have the need for flexibility with their hours, but is reluctant to ask? Is anyone struggling with a project? These are all simple questions that, when asked, not only help to resolve problems, but also build a stronger employee and team.

Bend the rules occasionally

Sometimes the unexpected happens and internal processes have to be ‘circumvented’. Knowing when to bend the rules slightly for the good of your team or a specific team member is a trait that shows empathy and consideration.

Be the wingman (or woman)

Knowing that you’ll back them up will help your team to feel more confident in their decisions and actions. Always be there to fight their corner and you’ll earn trust and respect from your team.