10 Things I’ve Learned From Leading

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    The “I” in Team: Just like there is no “I” in the word team, there is no leader without a team. Without teamwork, a leader is unable to accomplish goals or the mission. Always recognize your employees as the most important assets of your position.

  2. The Human Network: Improvements and constant ground-breaking discoveries continue making our lives easier but without face to face networking or communication, the meaning or tone of the messages can be lost. Always make a point of engaging your employees in face-to-face conversation when able. Your employees will understand your point of view better if they can refer to your non-verbal cues. Your employees need strong and certain leadership, not miscommunication or uncertainty through emails.
  3. Patience: A great deal of patience is required to be a manager. The larger the group of employees, the more patience the manager will require. Remember that each member of the team is an individual and as such, each individual has a different set of skills and learning capabilities. Make sure that you patiently explain your expectations before assuming that your intentions are clear and understood.
  4. Respect:  Employees are not slaves; do not treat them as such. If you feel like you always have to remind your employees about who is in charge, you are doing something wrong. Employees respect confidence and strong leaders. A lot of time it is the person and not the position that earns the respect of employees. Employees will try to go the extra mile for a manager for which they care and respect. Respect all members of your team even if they do not always agree with the way you think.
  5. Problem-solving: Always try to fix the problem before focusing your efforts on fixing the blame. It is possible that the person responsible for the error is you. The way you resolve the issue at hand will show others your ability to work through adversity. Whether you succeed or fail, the way you confront the problems can serve as an example for others facing the same circumstances.
  6. Fire Prevention: Everyone has at some point experienced a hostile work environment at work. Some people are more adept than others at passive-aggressive behavior making life more challenging for internal and external customers. Regardless of the things you always dreamed of saying as your career progresses, smile and remain polite. You never know if any of those employees you are leaving behind will one day be your manager. Do not burn your bridges!
  7. Balance: It is sometimes difficult for managers to achieve balance between personal life and work. Strive to be a well-rounded individual by striving to succeed in all things personal or professional. Your mind and body will thank you for it and others will be able to notice the difference. Remember that while it may be extremely challenging at times, it is not impossible. You got to where you are because you believed in yourself. Finding the right balance may take time but nothing is unachievable if you believe in yourself and learn from your mistakes.
  8. Listen: Active listening is a skill that requires practice. Everyone has experienced one or more meetings where the speaker reads every slide on a PowerPoint presentation without paraphrasing or further explaining what is being presented. Not everyone feels comfortable speaking publicly but sometimes it is easier to assume that the presenter was ill-prepared for the meeting. Actively listen to your internal or external customers before assuming the worst. Listening not only makes people feel appreciated but it can teach a leader something new and unexpected. Always listen before you speak.
  9. Two Sides of a Coin: There are always multiple sides to a story when it involves customers or employees. If it is something that requires managerial intervention, take the time to discover all sides before making a decision for a plan of action. To make a decision based on incomplete information can later prove to be an unwise decision. As an example, consider what could be the consequences of engaging in a costly contract without doing some market research. Don’t assume the worst regardless of the source. There are always two sides of a coin.
  10. Go For It: In our lives we have met people that may at times seem reckless in their decision-making process;  people who take chances in their careers at great cost. Without trying to sound cliché, life is short and you only live once. If you want to succeed you have to try. The only thing preventing you from achieving your goals is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of what others would think, just to name a few. Let go of your fears and go after your dreams. It is your life to live unless you let others live it for you. Lead your life towards your goals just like you would lead your team towards achieving their goals.

Alberto Principe is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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