Becoming and being a Leader does not require one to know “everything.”
The best, most effective leaders are those who recognize their own limitations, know how to and who can get things done, motivate others to do their best work and acknowledge those who deliver.
A Leader must know what s/he wants to accomplish, gathering those onto a group who can catalyze into an actual team and get done what needs doing.
The best course is to Be Open to what the process may reveal itself to be. Rather than steadfast adherence to a system or process that has worked before, perhaps hold past experience as a model or guideline while remaining prepared, nimble and ready to adjust or amend as the skills of the team come to light or the unique particulars of a given project manifest themselves.
While The Leader is responsible for delivering the result, product or production, leadership can be found throughout any good team. Wielding one’s leadership capabilities, wherever one is positioned within a hierarchy, is about bringing the best out of people one is working for, or with, or under.
One can lead from within a team or lead upwards from below. One can lead from another team. Leadership is not seen only in “bosses.” In fact, a team in which every member has some of the qualities of leadership is probably a great team.
A team of leaders is a team of professionals who reach out to one another when they can be of help to each other. The spectrum of “…need some help with that…” to “…hey, can I run something past you…” is a continuum of learning and bonding situations; all of which will show up in the final product, again and again.
A leader sees no shame in not knowing how to do something. When presented with a task or situation through which s/he might not be certain of the best way; call in the reinforcements! The sooner the leader throws open the door with, “…who knows how to do…,” the sooner the potential resolutions to a given situation or problem are addressed and likely solved.
It is the weak leader who keeps the cards close to the chest. Trust your team.
I come to the table with my own systems and procedures, honed and evolved over the succession of projects delivered with these tools. Each time, though, I look at how others on my team might approach a given task or set of responsibilities and see if there might be something in their method that would enhance the effectiveness of how I am working. Not always, but every so often, I see something in someone else’s work tools that I can weave into my own; then share with s/he from whom I’ve borrowed this new component.
Often, too, I’ve adopted something that looked good but turned out to be not as effective as a system I’ve already honed.
No harm, no foul; but if one doesn’t look at it all, the unique will ever be out of reach.
Gather the trusted “cabinet” or team and dissect the problem, ask for suggestions from the perspectives of the individual team members, then take responsibility for the resulting course of action by Making the Decision.
Leadership is taking responsibility: showing respect and appreciation for the knowledge and skills of others, listening and making appropriate decisions. Hearing an idea from one’s team and responding with, “…okay, let’s give that a shot…” perhaps following that by vesting the author of the idea with responsibility for applying the approach. “Adriana, why don’t you oversee that, then…? Keep me posted on how it’s going…” is an opportunity to imbue a strong trust in oneself by one’s team. Leadership.
Should above-hypothetical-approach prove other than effective; the Leader points no fingers. Rather, s/he responds with something along the lines of “Well, we learned that didn’t work! Let’s tackle it another way…”, and keep Adriana on the project, partnering with her to take the problem through to resolution and completion. Give her the credit for resolution as it materializes.
Guide; granting ultimate ownership to others…
Another opportunity to strengthen one’s relationship with members of one’s team, as Leader, is to approach people for assistance in situations that may not be under their purview but are encompassed within their skill sets. In production, especially, people specialize at things they do generally because they love doing them. Keep that in mind.
Ask for help when you need it, as hoarding knowledge gaps helps no one. Sharing knowledge gaps both closes those gaps and offers opportunity for relationship-building, empowerment and trust.
Remember; the vision with which you may enter a situation or project thinking you may apply may not, in fact, be that which evolves to become most effective in that situation; you may learn of another way, better suited to the task. Be open, and ready to relinquish hold on your own preconception.
Production is no place for Posers. Be open, share the problem and the solution will become apparent; share approbation and credit and your leadership will grow…and you’ll experience a Loyalty that cannot be bought.
In doing this, you’ve shown the team that you trust them, will stand behind them, and are not one of those “producers” compelled to pose as though s/he knows “everything.”
Who wants to know everything, anyway? Then, there would be no surprises, no learning; and it is the daily and weekly learning that takes place on any project that keeps me interested and engaged.
Download “imho” free; eBook for iPad 2 and beyond from the iBookstore…containing the first 20 posts along with interactive galleries and keynotes, “imho” Volume 1 contains the basic methodologies and myriad applications and extrapolations in the context of creation of compelling experience in a world full of data and distraction.