‘Step Back – Lead Smart’

Leaders are often expected to set an example by doing great work themselves and inspire the team to work well. We generally call this as ‘Leading from the front’. 


But with so much discussion around how companies want to scale up with high performing teams, the expectations from a leader have changed and it is unfair to expect leaders to know everything and set examples by outperforming in every aspect. The role of leaders is now different and it has evolved. In fact leaders say they prefer teams more intelligent and knowledgeable than them.


But then the question comes, ‘When your team is better than you, why you should still be called a leader?’


This question is very valid and every leader should think deep to answer this. However with smart teams leadership becomes even more important involving taking decisions, setting directions, driving vision and much more. But with such team you need to earn and establish your leadership. Only then they look up to you.


So let’s see how to lead teams which have high performers:

  • Gain respect through your achievements: the way you carry yourself and your achievements speak leaps and bounds about you. When you achieved something significant, your team respects you because you have tasted success.


  • Be proficient at something: A leader cannot be a ‘jack of all and master of none’. Rather he should be a ‘jack of all and master of at least one’. This is where you have a chance to demonstrate where you are really good at. Impress your team!


  • Trust and encourage: Sometimes all you need to do is believe, trust and encourage. Take responsibilities for failures and appreciate team’s success. When they look back, they definitely will remember your role in their success.


  • Lay the direction: No matter how good the team is, it looks for a direction and an inspiring vision. Achieving vision without a strategy and direction can be a walk in the dark. If you can set the uncertainties apart and give a clear direction, you will be a hero.


  • Have solutions ready: There will be moments at your workplace where inevitably few problems are placed in front you. Be ready, anticipate and give solutions.


In all these 5 aspects, the leader plays a passive role in execution but a massive role behind the scenes. He ‘leads from behind’.

– G Shashank

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