Following on from my previous post which focused on my personal testing values, this one will look at my Leadership values.
I guess the first point to elaborate on is what is meant by Leadership?
The dictionary definition suggests:
“The action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this”
My experience with leadership actually started as a teenager when I was an active member of the Air Cadets, reaching the rank of Flight Sergeant, meaning I was responsible for up to 30 cadets on any activity which we were completing, the go-to person for the adult staff members and even the one to be giving the orders when marching on parades or in competitions. This set me up with an understanding of what leadership/management could be, but as I decided not to follow the military career, I found that this particular style of leadership is often frowned upon in the workplace.
Since becoming a Manager and having a team which report to me, I was given a lot of guidance early on which showed me how important your people are and as daft as that sounds, I have experienced scenarios where this has been lost and because of this, I always try my best to ensure my team have everything they need from me. I even put myself on a Mental Health First Aider training course, so that I could be there to help my team if and when they need it.
So with that, I have 4 key values which I try to ensure I always show my team
- Protect – I know in a lot of scenarios, the manager is the face of a team, it’s therefore important that you serve the role of keeping the team out of the firing line where necessary and also ensuring they are ring fenced from work/ distractions which they don’t need to be involved in. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t go to the team to get insight on an issue, but you do the heavy lifting and ensure they can stay focussed on what they should be doing.
- Nurture – Sometimes, your team members need to know you have their back! sometimes they need a metaphorical arm around them to let them know it’s okay! Not everyone can be on their game all of the time, a manager that recognises this and supports their team when they need it can be hugely beneficial. This also leads to encouraging them to try to improve themselves and helping to coach them down the path to the next level. Celebrating successes, however small, can really encourage them to keep going.
- Empower – Sometimes, the decision needs to be made by the manager, but it is still important to take into account the opinions of the team, you may ultimately disregard them, but giving them the opportunity to have a voice can go a long way to building their confidence. Enabling them to make decisions and you going with them will help grow their leadership skills too. There is nothing better than to have a capable team of leaders which you have helped grow.
- Evangelise – As well as protecting the team from the hierarchy, it’s equally important to take their work and promote it. In my eyes, the manager should be the teams biggest supporter and sing their praises whenever they can. A lot of teams I have been part of, have felt like no one knows what they do. That can be changed by ensuring you are their biggest advocate and try to ensure it is known what value the team provides.
Of course, that makes it sound easy and ultimately, it will never always be plain sailing. You will have to cope with difficult scenarios both within the team and outside the team, but having these values in mind will help you ensure your team has what they need to be successful.