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How To Be A Great Leader And Make Your Team Successful

How To Be A Great Leader And Make Your Team Successful

So you’re the leader of a team now! Congratulations! Perhaps you’re a brilliant computer programmer, but if you suddenly got promoted to be a manager; you will need an entirely different skill set. Great leaders have good social skills, and they are adaptable. Here are 10 more things you can do to make sure you are the best leader possible.

1. Listen Effectively

Organizations value communication. But some leaders think they “know it all,” because they are the “one in charge,” so they don’t have to listen to their team members. However, this creates a negative atmosphere. Everyone wants their voice to be heard. So when your employees talk to you, lean forward, look into their eyes, nod, and then reflect back what they say to you. For example, if a team member just told you that a customer is angry and she is frustrated and confused about how to deal with him, you can paraphrase back to her and say, “What I hear you telling me is that you don’t know what to say to this customer to make him happy, and you would like my help. Am I correct?” This helps the employee feel valued.

2. Be Honest

Lying  or withholding information does not create a productive atmosphere at work. Everyone has an instinctual feeling and knows when they are not being told the truth. So if a leader lies or is not completely forthcoming with vital information, this will make his/her employees uncomfortable. When the team members aren’t comfortable with their leader, their performance decreases. So make sure you are open and honest with every person you lead

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3. Have Confidence

Just because you are a person in power does not mean that you always have confidence in fulfilling that role. But remember, if someone hired you to manage other people, they must have faith in you! So have faith in yourself, too! You can do it. It all starts in the mind. Act like a leader. Think like a leader. Treat people with respect, and they will treat you the same. Have a “can-do” attitude. When your team sees your confidence, they will feel safe with you as their leader.

4. Be Direct and Specific With Your Language

Ambiguity does not get the job done. For example, if a team member asks you how to accomplish a task, don’t just say, “Oh I trust you. Do what you feel is best.” Instead, give them specific information. Say something like, “I would be happy to help you. What I would like to see is for you to first get all the sales statistics together. Second, merge them into pie charts, and then when you have that done, please write up a 3 page report and give it to me by Monday. Do you have any questions? And feel free to talk to me any time if you need more support and guidance. My door is always open.”

5. Lead by Example

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?” Words are empty. People really do believe your actions over your words. So if you want your team to be superior employees, you need to be a superior leader. If you need them to stay until 8:00 every night for a week to get a project done, you better be there by their side.  Employees emulate their leaders much in the same way that children emulate their parents. So make sure your behavior is what you want to see in your team members.

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6. Plan Ahead

Procrastination, anxiety and feeling rushed does not make for a productive team. So make sure you look to the future and plan everything ahead of time. While some people can work under pressure, others cannot. Make sure you share the plan of action with your team members and show them the timeline you need to follow to accomplish your projects. When everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of them, they feel secure and more willing to get the job done.

7. Inspire Them‒Don’t Force Your Team To Do Things

People do better work when they “own” what they are doing. In other words, when people are forced to do something, they will resist. So it’s important to give positive encouragement to your team. Tell them how important their work is to the project and that you have faith in them. Even if you know it’s a task they won’t enjoy doing, make sure you keep it positive. Also, give them the option of choosing which assignments they feel they are passionate about and capable of doing.

8. Show Appreciation

Doing great work is wonderful, but if someone doesn’t feel valued, then they will not want to continue to give their best effort. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, even in the workplace. So make sure you thank your team members regularly. Thank them for their timeliness, staying late to finish a project, for their creativity, for inspiring other team members, or for winning a contract. Notice and acknowledge all of the accomplishments, both large and small.

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9. Be Positive

A great leader creates a healthy and happy team community. The best way to do this is by being positive. Don’t play into negativity. For example, if a team member says, “We’re never going to win over this customer, it’s impossible.” Don’t agree with them. Respond with, “Let’s not get negative about it. Anything can happen. We just need to figure out a way to handle this problem client in the most effective way possible. Let’s have faith about this. I know you can do it. We’re going to help you.” As the leader, your employees look to you for guidance about which direction to aim their emotions.

10. Think About Your Team’s Needs

People are not just employees. They are husbands, wives, daughters, sons, friends, mothers, fathers, etc. In other words, they have a life outside of work. A great leader recognizes this. It will be common for some of your employees to need to take the day off because their child is sick and has to stay home from school. Be compassionate. Acknowledge that they have other life commitments. When they feel like you understand, they will be more likely to give 150% effort when they do come to work.

11. Be Flexible

A sign of a great leader is being able to adapt your leadership style to your individual team members. For example, maybe your team member, John ,needs to be told exactly what to do or else he will accomplish nothing. If that’s the case, you should be more directive and authoritarian with John. However, maybe Jane would be insulted with that kind of style. She performs best when the leader allows her to express her creativity and lets her be self-directed. The best leaders are flexible and adjust their style for each employee.

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Bottom line is this: you can be a great leader. You just need to learn how. It’s not difficult, but if you keep these 11 things in mind, you will soar.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Fix a Broken Marriage And Save Your Relationship Why Attachment Styles in Relationships Affect Your Love Life What to Do If You Find Yourself in an Unhappy Marriage 13 Simple Things Happy Couples Do Every Day Why It’s Okay to Hit the Wall and How to Overcome It Fast

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Last Updated on September 30, 2019

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

1. Develop an Agenda

Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

3. Record Attendance

On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

4. Naming Convention

Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

5. What, and What Not, to Include

Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

7. Record Votes

The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

9. Proofread with Care

Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

10. Distribute Broadly

Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

11. File Meticulously

Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

One Caveat

In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

Bottom Line

Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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