I have the great privilege of leading children’s leaders because I have a great team of leaders—both paid staff and volunteers. I am very much a macro manager. Personally, I don’t have the patience to oversee every little thing that is done. In fact, that’s why I hire leaders, so I don’t have to. Here are 5 thoughts on leading those who lead:
1. Discover your leader’s style of leadership. Some leaders work best being micro managed, but most probably prefer more of a macro-management setting. Whatever the case, make sure you are providing them with the leadership that allows them to thrive. It all starts with you.
2. Don’t expect your leaders to treat those under them different than you treat your leaders. In other words, your leaders will end of mimicking your style to a certain point. If you’re a perfectionist, part of that will rub off onto your team. If you’re laid back, your team will end up adopting that style. If you’re demanding of your leaders, your leaders will be demanding of the rest of the team. This should cause you to take a good look at who you are and how you run things.
3. Give your leaders room to succeed and fail. Truth is we are extremely scared to fail. It’s human nature that we succeed. No one likes to completely bomb at something—not even the little things. I allow my team to breathe in success, but also allow them to wade through the waters of failure. If I constantly shield them from failure, they will never learn or grow as a leader. They need to experience failure so they learn from it and better themselves. Failure usually ignites a hunger to do better next time. Great leaders FAIL! My role is to be there for them, coach and lead them through failure to success.
4. Give clear expectations. Leaders like to know what’s expected of them. Imagine if the president never clearly laid out what he expects from his cabinet. Even though his cabinet is full of high-level and competent leaders, they would become flustered because they don’t know what target they are aiming for. This is also the way that I measure their progress on projects.
5. Let your leaders lead. I believe in my staff and our volunteer leaders. I set the course and allow them to lead. Nothing frustrates a leader more than continuing to step in and take the reigns. Thoughts of “Why am I here?” “Why doesn’t he/she just do it him/herself?” set in because their constantly put in a place of leadership only to be brushed off to the side. Have faith in your leaders. They may not do things exactly like you would, but the truth is no one will do things exactly like you except for you!
For more great articles on leading volunteers, check out 25 Best Articles on Leading Volunteers (That Get Them to Stay and Thrive!)