Many traits make a great team leader: organizational skills, effective communication, negotiation, and problem-solving are widely recognized. But humility is an often-overlooked trait that can be valuable when leading teams.
Here’s why it’s important:
1. The success of your team often depends on information sharing
At the beginning of any project, you won’t likely have all the information you need. You can’t come across as an arrogant “know-it-all”. You need to look to your team to gather the details on the project or initiative you’re working on. You’ll need information on historical or political insights you might not know about. There will be details that they’ll have insight to that you may not know. You may need to rely on their technical or domain expertise. In order to increase your chance of success, seek out input from your team and trust their expertise.
2. Professional Reputation
If you’re disrespectful of your team members, they’ll resent you. If they’re professional, they’ll get the work done, but your reputation as someone they want to work with in the future will be hurt.
3. Continuous Professional Improvement
Continuous improvement only happens if you’re willing to acknowledge that you could grow and improve. Humility is an important component – allowing you to not only be open to hearing feedback but actively seeking it out. Listening to what others say regarding how you could improve allows you to take advantage of those opportunities.
How to Demonstrate Humility
Following is a list of ways you can demonstrate humility throughout the life of your project and beyond:
- Praise team members for success. Team members enjoy knowing that their work has been recognized and that they are appreciated. Praise team members publicly when possible.
- Respect the team’s expertise in their individual areas. You need input from the team for the reasons mentioned above. Getting information from the team helps you build a more realistic and successful plan, and gives the team buy-in and ownership.
- Listen. Throughout the project, listen to your team. When they have information to share, take them seriously and don’t disregard or discount what is provided. They can give insight to valuable information.
- Encourage teammates to speak up and share ideas. Encourage team members to share insights and ideas. In meetings, there may be team members who are silent and fear judgment by others. Create an environment of openness and acceptance.
- Take responsibility. When something goes wrong on a project, take responsibility for your role and look for ways to solve problems rather than blaming others. Acknowledge your responsibility to the team, remove roadblocks, and help the team move forward.
- Focus on the success of the project and team. Rather than showing off or getting sole recognition for successes, give credit to team members who share a role in the accomplishments.
- Admit when you don’t have the answers. There will come a time when you don’t have answers. It’s okay to admit it when you don’t have information. Admit it, commit to finding it, and then follow through. You’ll gain respect from your team when you are honest and open.
Approaching leadership with a bit of humility will allow you to continuously improve, work well with others, and be looked to as an effective leader. You’ll be known as a team leader others look forward to working with.
This article was originally published at ProjectBliss.net